The wide availability of advanced information and communication technology has made it possible for users to expect a much wider access to decision support. Since the context of decision making is not necessarily restricted to the office desktop, decision support facilities have to be provided through access to technology anywhere, anytime, and through a variety of mediums. The spread of e-services and wireless devices has increased accessibility to data, and in turn, influenced the way in which users make decisions while on the move, especially in time-critical situations. For example, on site decision support for fire weather forecasting during bushfires can include real-time evaluation of quality of local fire weather forecast in terms of accuracy and reliability. Such decision support can include simulated scenarios indicating the probability of fire spreading over nearby areas that rely on data collected locally at the scene and broader data from the regional and national offices. Decision Support Systems (DSS) available on mobile devices, which triage nurses can rely on for immediate, expert advice based on available information, can minimise delay in actions and errors in triage at emergency departments (Cowie & Godley, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Quality of Data: A measure of the quality of the data being used to assist the decision maker in making a decision. The quality of data measure is an aggregate value which encompasses information about technical factors of the mobile device (such as connectivity) as well as information pertaining to the completeness, accuracy of the data provided, reliability and relevance of the data provided.
Time-Critical Decisions: The idea that the context of a decision, its parameters, options, and best outcomes, are dependent on when the decision is made. A good outcome at one point in time is not necessary a good outcome at a later point in time if the decision is time-critical.
Mobile Devices: Mobile devices are portable computers that facilitate access to information in much the same way as a desktop computer. Typically such devices use a small visual display for user output and either some form of keypad, keyboard, or touch screen for user input.
Mobile Decision Support: Providing support for a decision maker who has access to a mobile device for their decision support, is possibly on the move, and is possibly in a time-critical environment.