eBay at 15: big new trend is towards services via smartphones, from taxis to local restaurants

On the 15 year anniversary of eBay UK being launched, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) looks at what the future might hold.

Prof Will Stewart from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “In 15 years eBay and its competitors have opened up a world of opportunity for small businesses to access the global marketplace with huge benefits for us all.

“eBay’s real importance is that it enables small businesses to 'go global' by connecting them with global customers and providing support services such as payment (PayPal), security, shipping and customs clearance, and of course an efficient modern web/mobile interface.

“This is a big deal for many smaller suppliers and for us as customers.  Although eBay may have started this Amazon ('marketplace') will now be a more important player in this area, and in specific areas, iTunes also does the same thing.

“These are all 'cut-out-the-middleman' functions that open up markets and drive customer-focused change and connect small operators, be they book writers, songwriters, or small specialist shops with a wide enough customer base to enable them to thrive but at reduced cost.

“Of course it is the internet communications that makes all this possible (much harder with postal services only) which is why it is all fairly recent.  Naturally, therefore, the big new trend is towards services via smartphones, from taxis to local restaurants, as well as eBay-style purchases.”

Notes to editors:

§  Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.

§  The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multi-disciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.

§  The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.

§  We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.

§  For more information, visit www.theiet.org

§  Follow the IET on Twitter.