I recently came across this AOL advertisement released back in 1995.

Within the first 30-40 seconds you’ll get an idea of how the internet experience was in those days. Listening to the way the actors discuss the great services (like searching for information on dinosaurs!) that were possible is bound to make you smile as you think of how far we’ve come since then.

Nowadays, travel and hotel bookings, sports updates, getting information on dinosaurs and buying presents are things we do online without thinking twice. They’re not fancy features, but the way of life for most. This aspect of conveniently accessing information and performing tasks has extended to our mobile devices where we can do these things anywhere and anytime (Fun fact: most vacation sites are visited while customers are in the washroom and from iPads.). With mobile, we are digitally connected in a manner that could not have been anticipated back in 1995, when that AOL ad was released.

While the internet delivers all that it can today, we are seeing Mobile coming to the forefront since it has the advantage of location and proximity. You can grab a cab essentially from anywhere with Uber, post and share pictures instantly with Instagram and message friends conveniently with Whatsapp.

It’s in this new world of proximity, context and content that we are seeing commerce taking on new meaning. Brands like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and many other innovative startups like Lucova are all focused on this specific area as we propel commerce into a new era. Mobile Apps are now handling security, giving multiple modes of payment options and winning us rewards and loyalty. However, proximity-based payments and transactions will be the ones setting the tone for the future of commerce. The great internet access that AOL showed us in 1995 has evolved into a solution that offers convenience, while enhancing the one thing commerce cannot do without – the relationship between the merchant and customer in real-time.

-By Abrar Siddiqui, CTO at Lucova. You can reach him @abrars.