Part of the Advances in Database Systems book series (ADBS, volume 38)

The Internet was originally invented as a technology for sharing information among computers for scientific research purposes. Early standards, such as telnet protocol [45], Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) [67], and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) [46], further improved the ability of exchanging information through the Internet. By the end of 1990s, with the development of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) [13] and other core Web technologies, the Internet has evolved to become the medium for connecting hundreds of millions of computers and exchanging massive amount of information. Given its great capacity and huge customer base, the Internet has provided companies with new business opportunities. As a result, more and more companies have changed their business models and started using the Internet as an important means of conducting their daily businesses. The Internet has now become a commonly used medium for business activities, which are often referred to as Electronic Commerce or E-commerce [38, 27].

Enabling technologies for E-commerce have been around for almost three decades. They provide businesses with means for interacting with their peers (B2B Ecommerce) and customers (B2C E-commerce). One of the early standards for fulfilling requirements of E-commerce is Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI is a standard for the electronic exchange of information between entities using standard, machine-processable, structured data formats [6]. EDI has provided a means for different businesses to interact with each other. However, EDI requires applications to use standardized information. With great heterogeneity of the information on the Internet today, this becomes a severe limitation. A number of middleware technologies, such as CORBA, RMI, and EJB, have emerged since 1980s [42, 52, 51]. These technologies have provided new means for applications from different companies to communicate with each other over the networks. The great advantage of these technologies is that the communication details are transparent to users. Different business applications can interact with each other without having to worry about how the actual interaction takes place. However, all these middleware technologies require the interface between any two applications to be pre-defined. New interfaces would have to be built if a business entity wants its applications to interact with applications from different business partners. This greatly limits the usage of middleware technologies on the Internet, especially for businesses that require the interaction to be dynamic. By dynamic interaction, we mean any application can dynamically choose whom to interact with based on its best business interests. For example, assume a company that assembles and sells desktop computers has an automatic ordering system to order computer parts from different vendors and each vendor also has a automated system to process orders. To find out the lowest price of a computer part, the automatic ordering system would need to query each vendor to obtain the price. With the increasing number of vendors, the system would also need to automatically discover new vendors. Since the interfaces to different vendors’ systems could be different, the automatic ordering system would need to know how to interact with each vendor’s system. Apparently, traditional E-commerce technologies do not work efficiently with such business activities.1


Mobile User Wireless Data Broadcast Channel Mobile Client Business Process Execution Language 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag US 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Otto-von-Guericke-Universität MagdeburgSpirent CommunicationsGermantownUSA
  2. 2.CSIRO ICT Center, Computer Science and Information Technology Bldg.Australian National UniversityActonAustralia

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