Someday, walking into a store or fast-food spot may be like stepping into an invisible Web of networks, each communicating with a number of devices for a variety of purposes.Someday, walking into a store or fast-food spot may be like stepping into an invisible Web of networks, each communicating with a number of devices for a variety of purposes. In addition to the much-hyped existing wireless networks, companies today are building and testing mobile-commerce services that may help solve tough problems with user identification and latency. 2Scoot, which offers a payment and collection platform, believes that macro wireless networks, such as those operated by Sprint PCS and AT&T Wireless, wont be used to make actual transactions inside stores. "Those networks are great for giving information to people at a distance," says Joe Ely, vice president of technology at 2Scoot. But if a number of people were in a store carrying mobile phones, those networks wouldnt know which one of them was standing at the cash register trying to make a purchase using a mobile wallet stored in his or her handset.
Another hurdle to using the macro networks is latency. "In quick-serve restaurants, using credit has historically slowed the process down, and speed is everything," said T.N. Thompson, vice president of business development at 2Scoot. In such environments, merchants wont want to wait for wireless handsets to communicate with networks to debit accounts or electronic wallets.