This paper focuses on the strategic uncertainties, where a large number of actors are trying a number of strategic approaches to position themselves in the most favorable position in the value system. As a consequence, they are experimenting with a number of innovating business models. We argue that successful business models are likely to be the ones that best address the economic peculiarities underlying this industry, like mobility, network effects and natural monopolies.
The paper presents the principal classes of actors that will participate In the mobile business Industry and give an overview of their business models based on a formalized ontology. Many definitions of mobile business focus on enabling business transaction through airless devices, confusing mobile commerce and mobile business. A commonly adopted definition, by Drencher, defines mobile commerce as “any transaction with a monetary value that Is conducted via mobile telecommunication network” (M;leeriness, 1999).
Similar to e-commerce, the focus Is on the exchange of products and services, but without the constraint of a stationary user using wired infrastructure. We prefer to adopt a broader view of mobile business, which includes “all activities related to a (potential) commercial transaction through communications networks that Interface with mobile devices” (Treacheries, 2002).
Mobile business is a very recent, but promising Industry created by the emergence and widespread adoption of wireless data networks, that enable the convergence of the Internet, e- business and the wireless world (Oklahoma, 2002). Similar to other emerging industries, mobile business is characterized by a continuously changing and complex environment, which creates important uncertainties at the levels of technology, demand and strategy (Porter, 1980).
At the technological level, uncertainties are typically caused by rapid technological development and the cycle of an industry which is born thanks to a technological innovation. Concerning emend, despite a generalized consensus about the huge potential of mobile business services, nobody actually knows how to exploit the new possibilities brought by technology to create valuable services that the customers are willing to pay.
Finally, strategic uncertainties are a common situation in emerging industries, whose essential characteristic from the viewpoint of formulating strategies is that there are no established rules of the game. As a consequence, actors must experience with a variety of strategic approaches and constantly reposition themselves in order to find the most favorable competitive position in the industry. Based on these observations, we developed a general research framework inspired by the works on the Balanced Scorecard (figure 1).
Our objective is to conceive a market observation tool for the mobile business industry. The underlying idea is that we can better understand the reality by taking views from different complementary perspectives and putting them all together. The perspectives are chosen to cover all the different uncertainties mentioned above. Each perspective focuses on certain aspects of the mobile landscape and requires specific observation tools. The innovation Focus Observed objects Observation tools
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