VAG—a prototype animated, interactive, three-dimensional virtual environment model of a supply chain in the agribusiness sector
has been developed as a CD-based game of strategy. Users (players) have to both create their supply chain by choosing the
components that make it up, and then play the game in the role of the Manager of one of the components in it: the goal being
to maximise the success of that component. Evaluation of the player’s business acumen and the ‘health’ of the particular component
in the supply chain are calculated based on the information use and decision making that transpires. Animation and activated
3D graphics of decision making are trialled as a way of providing an immersive learning experience (the “Know How” rather
than simply the “Know What”). This paper introduces VAG Version 1—the concept, the issues and the workarounds required to
create this first version as a demonstration tool to enhance agribusiness education and research. Asmall sample qualitative
evaluation of the demonstration model is included to provide some feedback to the future design and development of the concept.
The future developmental opportunity for extending VAG into a massive multiplayer online game in true virtual reality is also
briefly discussed as a way of extending “E” learning scenarios.
eCRM (electronic Customer Relationship Management) systems focus on using the web-site as the main interaction channel for
businesses to simulate an old fashioned one-to-one direct relationship—high touch—with customers. In this research two distinct but related concepts, media richness from the Human Computer Interaction and Computer Mediated Communication fields and perceived interactivity from the Marketing and MIS fields, are disentangled and their unique impacts on technology acceptance variables are examined
in the eCRM Acceptance Model. The present study contributes in extending the Technology Acceptance Model for the eCRM context and in establishing media
richness and perceived interactivity as antecedents to perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. Our research model
integrates system perception (e.g., perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) and subjective outcome measures (e.g.,
decision satisfaction) in a single model to fully understand the impact of eCRM “touch” design perceived by e-customers on
their intention to return after the initial visit. An experimental survey of two culture groups (independent vs. interdependent
self-construal) of technology savvy, young college students reveals that culture value-orientation (e.g., self-construal)
moderates the effect of decision satisfaction on behavior intention to return in our eCRM Acceptance model. Findings of this
research thus have significant theoretical and managerial implications.
A threshold scheme is employed for protecting confidential files against unauthorized perusal and permitting collective update in an e-commerce environment. The proposed system requires a subset of a designated group of trustees readily available over the network in an operational time frame (e.g., a session). Sensitive applications running on a physically secure machine contain built-in processing to initiate collective authorization when needs arise. Authorizations in the form of partial passwords are sent over the network and are protected using SSL based cryptographic protocols. A collective encryption/decryption for file mechanism to control read accesses is also described.
In this article, a framework to integrate negotiation capabilities—particularly, components implementing a negotiation strategy—into mobile agents is described. This approach is conceptually based on the notion of an actor system which decomposes an application component into autonomously executing subcomponents cooperating with each other. Technically, the framework is based on a plug-in mechanism enabling a dynamic composition of negotiating agents. Additionally, this contribution describes how interaction-oriented rule mechanisms can be deployed to control the behavior of strategy actors.
This paper identifies factors affecting the implementation of electronic commerce in Mexico and the solutions that companies have developed. Using theories of institutional economics and the resource-based theory of the firm as a framework of analysis, this paper focuses on the rules of behavior that have prevailed in Mexican business transactions and are likely to affect the adoption of electronic commerce. The paper covers infrastructure, supply, and demand factors. It concludes that even though the economic conditions are improving it will be some time before people change their behavior to embrace electronic commerce more widely.
A universal HTML-based communication is described and experimentally implemented in the EMA employment agent. EMA can contact any HTML-based program or database on the Internet on the basis of a single observation of a user filling input forms. After one observation, EMA is capable of gathering information on its own by modifying familiar input forms. While EMA in theory communicates with any other program on the Internet, its performance strongly relies on domain knowledge allowing reasonable guessing about the meaning of major input fields. Another human-type communication in the system is by speech using a Microsoft agent in English and our speech system in Slovenian. The system is in use for seven years. The number of accesses equals all residents in our country in one year.
Shopbots or software agents that enable comparison shopping of items from different online sellers have become popular for quick and easy shopping among online buyers. Rapid searches and price comparison by shopbots have motivated sellers to use software agents called pricebots to adjust their prices dynamically so that they can maintain a competitive edge in the market. Existing pricebots charge the same price for an item from all of their customers. Online consumers differ in their purchasing preferences and, therefore, a seller's profit can be increased by charging two different prices for the same good from price-insensitive and price-sensitive consumers. In this paper, we present an algorithm that partitions the buyer population into different segments depending on the buyers' purchase criteria and then charges a different price for each segment. Simulation results of our tiered pricing algorithm indicate that sellers' profits are improved by charging different prices to buyers with different purchase criteria. Price wars between sellers that cause regular price fluctuations in the market, are also prevented when all the sellers in the market use a tiered pricing strategy.
We investigate proxy auctions, an auction model which is proving very successful for on-line businesses (e.g., http:// www. ebay. com), where a trusted server manages bids from clients by continuously updating the current price of the item and the currently winning bid as well as keeping private the winning client’s maximum bid.
We propose techniques for reducing the trust in the server by defining and achieving a security property, called server integrity. Informally, this property protects clients from a novel and large class of attacks from a corrupted server by allowing them to verify the correctness of updates to the current price and the currently winning bid. Our new auction scheme achieves server integrity and satisfies two important properties that are not enjoyed by previous work in the literature: it has minimal interaction, and only requires a single trusted server. The main ingredients of our scheme are two minimal-round implementations of zero-knowledge proofs for proving lower bounds on encrypted values: one based on discrete logarithms that is more efficient but uses the random oracle assumption, and another based on quadratic residuosity that only uses standard intractability assumptions but is less efficient.
Data link level forwarding provides simple and fast packet forwarding capability. One primary reason for the simplicity of layer 2 forwarding comes from its short, fixed length labels. A node forwarding at network layer must parse a relatively large header, and perform a longest-prefix match to determine a forwarding path. When a node performs layer 2 forwarding, it can do direct index lookup into its forwarding table with the short header. It is arguably simpler to build layer 2 forwarding hardware that it is to build layer 3 forwarding hardware because the layer 2 forwarding function is less complex (Callon et al., 1997). By bypassing the conventional IP forwarding (the packet assembly/reassembly) process using cell-relaying, we could dramatically reduce both the IP packet processing delay and the queuing delay at the router (Esaki et al., 1997). The paper targets the problem of managing and reducing delays in IP over ATM communications that are associated with the implementation of IPv6 protocol.
We propose a goal programming framework that aims at automating e-commerce transactions. This framework consists of three
basic layers: deal definition—defining the deal’s parameters and associated constraints (e.g., item, price, delivery dates);
deal manipulation—a collection of procedures for shaping deals to attain desired goals (e.g., earliest delivery and minimum
price) and an applications layer that employs these procedures within some negotiations settings (e.g., an auction-related
application presents a “better offer” while bidding on a contract). Our proposed foundation is rich enough to support a wide
array of applications ranging from 1-1 and 1-n negotiations (auctions) to deal valuation and deal splitting. Whereas the techniques
are appropriate to a multitude of settings, we shall mainly present them in the context of business-to-business (B2B) commerce
where we see the greatest short term benefits.
The concept of context-awareness offers a great potential for the future of mobile applications. In order to be developed
in an optimal way, mobile context-aware applications need appropriate middleware services. This paper introduces Pervaho,
an integrated middleware aimed specifically at supporting the development and testing of mobile context-aware applications.
To illustrate the use of Pervaho, we walk through the development of a concrete mobile application and show how it can be
built on top of Pervaho’s location-based publish/subscribe service. We also illustrate how a specialized mobility testing
tool significantly simplifies the process of testing proximity-based semantics. We then present the implementation of Pervaho,
which is based on a set of communication protocols geared at mesh networks. Finally, we provide a performance analysis of
The notion of uncoercibility was first introduced in e-voting systems to deal with the coercion of voters. However this notion extends to many other e-systems for which the privacy of users must be protected, even if the users wish to undermine their own privacy. In this paper we consider uncoercible e-bidding games. We discuss necessary requirements for uncoercibility, and present a general uncoercible e-bidding game that distributes the bidding procedure between the bidder and a tamper-resistant token in a verifiable way. We then show how this general game can be used to design provably uncoercible e-auctions and e-elections. Finally, we discuss the practical consequences of uncoercibility in other areas of e-commerce.
Much effort is being made by the IT industry towards the development of a Web Service infrastructure to enable the discovery
and sharing of heterogeneous applications and data resources. The existing implementation of Web Service registries does not
have constraint specification and processing capabilities to achieve intelligent service discovery. In this work, we have
extended the Web Service Description Language to allow service providers to specify their service constraints, and developed
a Constraint-based Web Service Broker capable of matching a service requestor’s requirement specification against providers’
constraints to find their desired services. This paper presents the extended Web Service Description Language, the architecture
and implementation of the Broker, the constraint matching technique, and the result of a performance evaluation.
Bundling and multi-part pricing may save etailers from mortal challenges attacking the music industry. These strategies are
attractive to customers, perhaps spelling the difference between pirating and legally purchasing music; they allow “custom
pricing” to capture more of the consumer surplus, and just as importantly, they contribute to developing new artists for long-term
viability of the music industry. The many ways to bundle include exact firm-selected bundles, category bundling, customer-selected
bundles, and mixing these with individual products. Each of these approaches has specific advantages for different market
segments, making up for generally lower prices in the competitive online world. Multi-part pricing affords additional opportunities
to capture more of the consumer surplus. These ideas are especially relevant to online music because of the ease of packaging
products, the low cost of reproducing music on demand, the reduced friction of consumer/firm interaction, the low cost of
monitoring complex behavior, and the enhanced measurement of performance. In the online world, content offerings are revitalized
when offered as bundles or service packages.
Public-key cryptography is widely used as the underlying mechanism for securing many protocols and applications in the Internet.
A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is required to securely deliver public-keys to widely-distributed users or systems. The
public key is usually made public by means of a digital document called certificate. Certificates are valid during a certain
period of time; however, there are circumstances under which the validity of a certificate must be terminated sooner than
assigned and thus, the certificate needs to be revoked. The Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) is one of the most used
protocols for retrieving certificate status information from the PKI. However, the OCSP protocol requires online signatures,
which is a costly operation. In this article, we present an improvement over OCSP based on hash chains that reduces the processing
burden in the server which in turn provides an additional protection against attacks based on flooding of queries.
This paper uses a business model framework to help identify the issues that developers of virtual worlds have to address as
their enterprises mature. While most virtual worlds have adopted subscription models there is an increasing trend toward selling
digital items directly to users. This arises from the emergent markets linking real world currency to items existing on company
servers. This practice has resulted in controversial and unresolved legal issues. Communities that arise from virtual worlds
can be classified according to level and type of control. Lack of control can lead to a Hobbesian world of predation and vigilantism.
Strong developer control can be exerted to protect users but communities adopting shared governance with users are likely
to become more common.
The World-Wide-Web is fast becoming a crucial medium for electronic commerce. Many companies are now involved in on-line retailing of goods and services to consumers through the Web. In some industries, business partnerships are being fostered in order to broaden the scope of their markets. One example is the telecommunications industry, where changes in business structure, spirited by deregulation, have resulted in alliances amongst different communications providers, including new players like the utilities and entertainment providers. In this environment, business processes may involve multiple co-operating entities and, supporting such interorganizational business processes can be achieved through the use of workflow management systems. In this paper, we present an approach for designing interorganizational workflows that supports co-operation of business partners, while preserving the autonomy of the partner organizations.
This paper extends von Hippel’s (Manag. Sci. 32(7):791–805, 1986) concept of lead users to a virtual reality environment. Three lead user groups, site developers, business firms and avatars,
have a synergistic role to play in extending virtual reality from a social networking platform to a commercial one. The paper
proposes a framework for assessing the extent to which innovative practices have been demonstrated by lead user business firms
in a virtual setting. It applies the framework to twenty pioneering firms that operated within Second Life in 2007, from an
avatar’s perspective. The study’s findings indicate that business firms made little use of digital agents, and provided few
examples of bricolage. However, they exhibited higher levels of innovation in their use of telepresence and interactivity,
which contributed to the achievement of flow. As a single-avatar study, the paper has limited generalizability, however studies
with a wider scope will enable further development of this framework.
Communities (especially Virtual Communities) of Interest have been the focus of substantial discussion in academic literature.
This paper addresses Communities of Interest within the leisure industry and discusses possible business models for the parties
operating the platform. The described community platform is an innovative value added service concept for a mobile coordination
support for individuals—A Mobile Community Support System. In this paper we extend the discussion about mobile communities
to hybrid communities. The communities are hybrid in two ways: they use two different access channels, the Web and mobile
devices, and they are built on real-world leisure communities that constitute themselves in the form of buddy lists in the
virtual world of an ICT supported platform. We briefly depict the state of the art of IT in the leisure industry and describe
the empirical aspects of the project objectives of the MCOR (Mobile Community Online Reservation) system. We conclude with
some final remarks about design considerations and a blueprint for future research.
A new generic mechanism to coordinate decentral planning of a group of independent and self-interested decision makers, who
are searching for an agreeable contract regarding multiple interdependent issues, in the case of asymmetric information is
presented. The basic idea of the mechanism is that the group members cooperatively carry out an evolutionary search in the
contract space. Therefore the (1,λ)-selection procedure, which is used in many evolutionary strategies, is combined with the Borda maximin voting rule, which
has been applied successfully in group decision making. The proposed mechanism is realized, applied and evaluated for production
coordination in a supply chain. Adecentralized variant of the multi-level uncapacitated lot-sizing problem (MLULSP) is taken
as the production model. For the evaluation 95 problem instances are generated based on MLULSP instances taken from the literature,
with problem sizes varying from 5 to 500 items, from 12 to 52 periods. Experimental results show that the proposed mechanism
is effective to determine fair cost distributions.
Collaborative Filtering (CF) is a popular method for personalizing product recommendations for e-Commerce and customer relationship management (CRM). CF utilizes the explicit or implicit product evaluation ratings of customers to develop personalized recommendations. However, there has been no in-depth investigation of the parameters of CF in relation to the number of ratings on the part of an individual customer and the total number of ratings for an item.
We empirically investigated the relationships between these two parameters and CF performance, using two publicly available data sets, EachMovie and MovieLens. We conducted three experiments. The first two investigated the relationship between a particular customer’s number of ratings and CF recommendation performance. The third experiment evaluated the relationship between the total number of ratings for a particular item and CF recommendation performance. We found that there are ratings thresholds below which recommendation performance increases monotonically, i.e., when the numbers of customer and item ratings are below threshold levels, CF recommendation performance is affected. In addition, once rating numbers surpass threshold levels, the value of each rating decreases. These results may facilitate operational decisions when applying CF in practice.
To determine the differences in user preferences between electronic and mobile commerce in consumer shopping, a 25-item survey
concerning usability aspects of the two media was implemented on one hundred and eighteen college e-shoppers with experience
in mobile devices. The Mobile Commerce Comparison Survey (MCCS) had four validated comparison factors: human factors-related,
interface features, product-, and service-related factor. The comparison concludes that usability issues are perceived to
be behind in m-commerce, and that m-commerce should be a shopping medium complementary to classic e-commerce rather than a
direct alternative to it. Future studies may include empirical usability experiments for m-commerce tasks.
KeywordsM-commerce-E-commerce-Usability-User preferences-Survey design
It is likely that customers issue requests based on out-of-date information in e-commerce application systems. Hence, the
transaction failure rates would increase greatly. In this paper, we present a preference update model to address this problem.
A preference update is an extended SQL update statement where a user can request the desired number of target data items by
specifying multiple preferences. Moreover, the preference update allows easy extraction of criteria from a set of concurrent
requests and, hence, optimal decisions for the data assignments can be made. We propose a group evaluation strategy for preference
update processing in a multidatabase environment. The experimental results show that the group evaluation can effectively
increase the customer satisfaction level with acceptable cost.
Service technology is slowly evolving to be a promising technology for developing applications in open, loosely coupled and
distributed computing environments, e.g., in mobile commerce (m-commerce). Services technology can shield the heterogeneous
platforms and is suitable for m-commerce applications. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technology becomes more and more popular for mobile
commerce applications. For secure media distribution in m-commerce applications, the security and P2P rights management become
more and more urgent. New schemas and architectures for secure P2P based m-commerce applications, which are expected to function
automatically or semi-automatically, are expected. In this paper, a secure media service system is presented, which can trace
illegal distributors in m-commerce applications. In this scheme, the decryption operation and fingerprint embedding operation
are combined together, which avoids the leakage of clear media content in mobile transfer. Additionally, these operations
are implemented by the peer, which makes the scheme compliant with existing Peer-to-Peer Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems
and very proper for secure media distribution in m-commerce applications. The architectures and modes of secure media distribution
in m-commerce environment are presented and discussed.
KeywordsMobile commerce–Peer topeer–Services–Secure–Digital rights management
This paper looks into the key infrastructure factors affecting the success of small companies in developing economies that are establishing B2B e-commerce ventures. The factors were identified through a literature review and a pilot study carried out in two organizations. The results of the pilot study and literature review reveal five factors that contribute to the success of B2B e-commerce. These factors were later assessed for importance using a survey. The outcome of our analysis reveals that workers' skills, client interface, and technical infrastructure are the most important factors to the success of a B2B e-commerce relationship.