Ubiquitous commerce, also referred to as “u-commerce” or “über-commerce,” is the combination of electronic, wireless/mobile, television, voice, and silent commerce. However, its full realization would bring something more than the simple sum of its components. Ubiquitous commerce can be defined as “the use of ubiquitous networks to support personalized and uninterrupted communications and transactions between a firm and its various stakeholders to provide a level of value, above, and beyond traditional commerce” (Watson, Pitt, Berthon, & Zinkhan, 2002).
Components Of Ubiquitous Commerce
Junglas and Watson (2003a) view u-commerce as a conceptual extension of e-commerce and m-commerce.
Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is the use of the Internet and the Web to transact business. There are three main types of e-commerce: business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and consumer-to-consumer. In addition, government-to-government, government-to-consumer, and consumer-to-government have emerged. E-commerce is the most established type of commerce performed through digital means. Companies are using it as a part of their traditional commerce or as a pure online business model.
Wireless commerce extends e-commerce with characteristics such as reachability, accessibility, localization, identification, and portability (Junglas & Watson, 2006). Wireless commerce is a key part of u-commerce, because it creates the possibility for communications between people, businesses, and objects to happen anywhere and anytime. Mobile and wireless devices are enabling organizations to conduct business in more efficient and effective ways (Nah, Siau, & Sheng, 2005). Wireless devices can offer many advantages for companies and individuals, such as empowering the sales force, coordinating remote employees, giving workers mobility, improving customer service, and capturing new markets.
Other components of u-commerce are voice, television, and silent commerce.
Key Terms in this Chapter
WAP: Wireless Application Protocol is the leading application standard to deliver information for wireless devices such as cell phones. WAP is similar to HTTP (Hypertext Transport Protocol) for the Web, and it is based on other Internet standards such as HTML, XML, and so forth.
ISO: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a nongovernmental organization consisting of standards institutes of 148 countries. ISO’s central secretariat (located in Geneva, Switzerland) coordinates the system.
Microbrowsers: Browsers for mobile devices. These browsers are capable of interpreting WML instructions and executing WMLScript code.
WMLScript: Scripting for microbrowsers. WMLScript is used with WML to offer some dynamic effects on WAP Web pages.
WML: Wireless Markup Language is a mark-up language inherited from HTML and XML. WML is used to create Web pages specifically for microbrowsers in mobile devices.
Ubiquitous Computing: Refers to the ability to perform computing or communications from anywhere at any given time. Thus, untethering individuals from wired networks creates opportunities but is constrained by other issues such as power consumption.
Context of Use: In the ISO 9241 definition of usability, the three usability components (i.e., effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction) are to be examined in a usability study against the context of use. According to the ISO standard 9241-11 (p. 2), context of use refers to “Users, tasks, equipment (hardware, software and materials), and the physical and social environments in which a product is used.”
GOMS: GOMS is a set of techniques for modeling human task performance. It stands for goals, operators, methods, and selection rules. GOMS was invented by Card, Moran, and Newell (1983) and has become an important model for human–computer interaction studies.