E-Commerce Services Based on Mobile Agents

E-Commerce Services Based on Mobile Agents

Giancarlo Fortino (University of Calabria, Italy), Alfredo Garro (University of Calabria, Italy), and Wilma Russo (University of Calabria, Italy)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-054-7.ch101
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The Internet offers a unique opportunity for e-commerce to take central stage in the rapidly growing online economy. With the advent of the Web, the first generation of business-to-consumer (B2C) applications was developed and deployed. Classical examples include virtual shops, on-demand delivery of contents, and e-travel agency. Another facet of e-commerce is represented by business-to-business (B2B), which can have even more dramatic economic implications since it far exceeds B2C in both the volume of transactions and rate of growth. Examples of B2B applications include procurement, customer relationship management (CRM), billing, accounting, human resources, supply chain, and manufacturing (Medjahed, Benatallah, Bouguettaya, Ngu, & Elmagarmid, 2003). Although the currently available Web-based and object-oriented technologies are well-suited for developing and supporting e-commerce services, new infrastructures are needed to achieve a higher degree of intelligence and automation of e-commerce services. Such a new generation of e-commerce services can be effectively developed and provided by combining the emerging agent paradigm and technology with new Web-based standards such as ebXML (2005). Agents have already been demonstrated to retain the potential for fully supporting the development lifecycle of large-scale software systems which require complex interactions between autonomous distributed components (Luck, McBurney, & Preist, 2004). In particular, e-commerce has been one of the traditional arenas for agent technology (Sierra & Dignum, 2001). Agent-mediated e-commerce (AMEC) is concerned with providing agent-based solutions which support different stages of the trading processes in e-commerce, including needs identification, product brokering, merchant brokering, contract negotiation and agreement, payment and delivery, and service and evaluation. In addition, the mobility characteristic of peculiar agents (a.k.a. mobile agents), which allows them to move across the nodes of a networked environment, can further extend the support offered by the agents by featuring advanced e-commerce solutions such as location-aware shopping, mobile and networked comparison shopping, mobile auction bidding, and mobile contract negotiation (Kowalczyk, Ulieru, & Unland, 2003; Maes, Guttman, & Moukas, 1999).

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