With the ever-increasing amount of available online resources in general, information overload has become a very real problem. One possible solution is the application of software agents in e- or m-commerce. Intelligent agents are already on the Web, freeing us from some of the drudgework of searching and automatically keeping us up to date. There are now many examples of software agents currently available on the Web. Shopping agents like BargainBot, Excite’s Jango and Andersen Consulting’s BargainFinder are just a few. However, they have their shortcomings, such as lack of purchasing capability and limited range of product selection. Furthermore, the current Web front end to an online storefront is not conducive to autonomous browsing by search agents. The objective of this article is to present a virtual marketplace prototype whereby producers and consumers can meet and conduct e-commerce in cyberspace with the help of software agents.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Authentication: The process of ensuring that an individual is one who he or she claims to be.
Agent: A piece of software, which acts to accomplish tasks on behalf of its user.
Server: Powerful computers or processes dedicated to managing files, data, or network traffic.
Mobile Commerce (m-commerce): Electronic commerce made through mobile devices.
Client: In this work, it refers to customers who pay for good and services.
Integrity: Is regarding the protection of data or program code from being modified by unauthorized parties.
E-Commerce: The act of conducting business transactions over networks and through computers.
Mobile Agent / Roaming Agent: An agent that can move from machines to machines for the purpose of data collection or code execution.
Encryption: The act of protection information by transforming it into an unreadable format, called cipher text. Only those who possess a secret key can decipher (or decrypt) the message into plain text.
Security: The effort to create a secure computing platform, designed so that agents (users or programs) can only perform actions that have been allowed.
Proxy Agent: An agent acting as an intermediary for, say buyer and seller agents.
Virtual Marketplace: A simulation of the real marketplace where buyers and sellers meet to negotiate transactions.