News of Google’s recent application for a patent application covering mobile payments made via SMS has the mobile world in a tizzy for the implications on mobile device / phone based commerce. As this Ars Technica article mentions, the patent “describes a system where a text message (specifically an SMS message) would be sent containing a payment amount. That payment amount would then be validated, debited from the user’s account, and communicated from server to server. Confirmation that payment had been received would also simultaneously be sent to the relevant part”.
Coupled with news of a gPhone, that’s bound to be, like Apple’s iPhone, a multi-network devices capable of seamlessly switching between Wi-Fi, EDGE, GPRS and possibly WiMax networks, Google is setting itself as a mobile commerce hub that could, if the service picks up, possibly exceed revenues generated by its sophisticated online advertising mechanisms.
Rumours aside, what’s interesting here is the potential for mobile ODR (G-ODR?!) that will invariably need to be developed to address disputes in and over transactions conducted through the Google patent. Although for a different purpose altogether (mobiles for conflict transformation and peacebuilding), the use of mobile phones and devices in ODR is something I pointed to as inevitable in 2004, to a then highly skeptical audience of ODR practitioners and service providers.
In an article co-authored by me titled An Asian Perspective on Online Mediation, I further fleshed out some of the ideas behind the development of mobiles in the service of ODR.
It’s interesting to see how some of them have come around, though there is still some resistance.
A really prescient article co-authored by one of the more enlightened minds in the ODR today, Ernest M. Thiessen from Smartsettle.com, suggests as early as 2003 that Mobile ODR would be a development service providers of ODR as well as practitioners needed to prepare themselves for.
It is well worth reading today.
Read more on mobile phones and the future of online dispute resolution:
The PC is Dead ! Long live Mobiles !
Mediation from the palm of your hand: Forgining the next generation ODR systems
ODR sans PC said the mobile to the radio
Transforming landscapes: Forging new ODR systems with a human face
My research, blog posts and articles on ODR