Exploring Technology Design Issues for Mobile Web Services
As IP-based 3G+ mobile networks increasingly become available, attention in research is shifting towards middleware and service platform-related issues (Killström et al. 2006; Popescu-Zeletina et al. 2003). At the same time, web services technology and underlying service-oriented architecture have enhanced flexibility and interoperability in service development in the fixed Internet and traditional IT world. A logical next step in making mobile services deployment easier, faster and more efficient would be to apply web services technology to the mobile domain in the form of mobile web services (MWS) (Pashtan 2005). MWS offers important opportunities with regard to providing generic service elements like charging, authentication, authorization, accounting, context information and billing. As such, the technology would compete with IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), a standard originating from the telecommunications domain. While IMS strengthens the operators’ current strategic position, MWS can be offered by any business actor and may therefore be used by content and service providers to disrupt the industry’s current structure. As yet, it is unclear whether or not MWS offers a feasible alternative, as it is still in the early stages of its development. In this paper we explore critical design issues in the technology domain, as part of wider business model research. We build on earlier work regarding business models for mobile data services (De Reuver et al. 2006; Haaker et al. 2006). Based on a literature survey, we suggest that critical design issues in MWS business models include overcoming the constraints and limitations of mobile devices and networks; using the SIM card model or web services-based mechanisms for user authentication; user profile management; security; billing and charging; securing an open technical architecture; the server–client model; interoperability mechanisms between IMS and MWS; and the role division regarding authentication, security, user profile management and billing/charging provisioning. A small-scale survey among 29 academic and industrial experts reflects a general concern for most of these design issues.
KeywordsMobile Device Business Model Design Issue Content Provider Mobile Payment
The work presented in this paper was carried out within the Freeband User Experience project (www.freeband.nl). We would like to thank Timber Haaker from the Telematica Instituut and Wolter Lemstra from Delft University of Technology for their suggestions in reviewing the paper.
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