Gert Botha - Chief Executive Officer, Hive Technology e-Commerce of the future But just because there are a lot of unanswered questions for the present, doesn’t mean we can’t dream about the future. There was chatter about drones, 3D printing and robotics which will reduce cost of delivery, expand production and automate services, respectively. HE Dr Al Jaber hinted at the changes coming to e-commerce thanks to big data.
“Big data gives us the opportunity to personalise the shopping experience, create trust and loyalty among customers and also forecast needs and behaviours through predictive analytics,” she said while speaking about the government’s smart city initiatives which will collect big data on an open, smart-nation platform and make it available for the public and private sectors. An exciting company we met in this space is Hive Technology that specialises in single electronic identification.
Before we can talk about how this fits into the e-commerce equation, we first have to understand what it is and CEO Gert Botha obliges. “A Hive ID is a secure, private ID that you can use instead of your national ID and credit card but also to unlock your vehicle or open your garage door. It works in every part of your life by identifying you for objects and virtual objects (like a transaction or interaction online),” he says.
What is Qbuy going to look like?
One name we kept hearing over and over at the forum was Qbuy – an electronic platform that will reportedly provide tools to support e-commerce and raise awareness among consumers and merchants. It will also aim at building consumer trust and confidence through trustmarks and certification. It promises to be central to the government’s effort to promote online retail. “This platform supports merchants and SMEs in accessing knowledge/learning resources, and provides online tools, on-demand support, and funding. A policy framework will also provide direction on the criteria for the certification of Qbuy partners and for the licensing of trustmarks. The framework is intended to foster transparency, fairness, and security in the market and allow merchants to better comply with legal provisions,” according to ictQatar.
Today we live in a world where everyone who collects data about you believes they own it – from your medical centre to the local mall. “Why can’t that data about you be in a database that you have your stake in and you decide what data to share on a need-to-know basis?” Botha asks. While it’s inevitable that we are going to use big data to build profiles of people and make it available for businesses, this technology aims at giving users a degree of control over their own data. “Using big data in retail and e-commerce is a great idea in essence. But how do you manage this and make sense of it; how to ensure you are not bombarded with marketing and advertising?”
Botha also believes that Hive can potentially do away with the fraud that happens with e-commerce daily. “We haven’t spoken about this much at this forum but a large percentage of payments made online don’t go through because of how banks currently work. They often have their own authentication systems which are cumbersome and a lot can go wrong in the process. But with Hive we can provide the highest level of authentication, more secure than anything they have and the only one they will ever need. It’ll make e-commerce transactions a lot easier,” he says.
To introduce a technology like Hive, it’s necessary to start from the top. “We are in talks with governments and regulators in the Gulf as they are the best people to deploy this kind of technology. Furthermore, they have a vision for smart cities and smart governments, and Hive can put all the pieces of the puzzle together because of a lot of attributes – it’s private, secure, wireless. And it’s going to be easier to implement here because of the vision, smaller communities, lack of red tape and legacy systems. We’ll probably see it first in the region,” he says.