1.6 Wireless Internet Applications

1.6 Wireless Internet Applications

The wireless Internet will keep a large number of people in motion. Four wireless applications drive the wireless Internet: messaging, browsing, interacting, and conversing. [9] In messaging applications, a wireless device is used to send and receive messages. The device uses Short Message Service (SMS) and other e-mail protocols. In browsing applications, a wireless device uses a minibrowser to access various Web sites and receives Web services. In interacting applications, the applications run on wireless devices and include business and personal applications, and standalone games. In conversing applications, a wireless device calls voice portals (such as Wildfire ) to get voice information from Web services.

However, there are still a number of challenges in the development of wireless applications. The desktop computer will continue to be a dominant platform for generating content; however, professionals and consumers will increasingly use wireless devices to access and manage information. The great challenge for developers is to tailor content to the unique characteristics of wireless devices. The main objective is to provide quick and easy access to the required information rather than to provide a complex directory tree where the user will easily get lost. Another challenge for developers is the design of user interfaces, which should be simple because of the limited size of the wireless devices.

The 2.5G and 3G wireless systems will allow new applications to include rich graphical content. Software vendors have been developing authoring tools for creating WAP-compatible WAP sites that include rich graphical content and animations. Examples include Macromedia and Adobe that are offering WAP and i-mode versions of their products. Macromedia Spectra, a product for creating dynamic, interactive, and content-rich Web sites, has been extended so a developer can easily add wireless Internet by creating WML code rather than HTML.

Firepad developed a vector-based graphics application for mobile devices. This application uses a high-speed vector rendering engine for complex applications such as geographic information systems and CAD drawings, as illustrated in Figure 1.16.

click to expand
Figure 1.16: Firepad software comprises a high-speed vector rendering engine that can be used in CAD drawings.

In the next section, we present several wireless applications that, in our opinion, are a major force in further driving the development of wireless Internet.

1.6.1 Messaging Applications

Messaging in mobile networks today mainly involves short text using the SMS protocol. The GSM has estimated that 24 billion SMS messages are sent each month. [10] However, it is expected that soon wireless devices will support pictures, audio, and video messages. At the same time, the popular messaging services on the Internet, such as e-mail, chat, and instant messaging, are extending to wireless environments.

1.6.2 Mobile Commerce

M-commerce applications refer to conducting business and services using wireless devices. These applications can be grouped into (1) transaction management applications, (2) digital content delivery, and (3) telemetry services.

Transaction management applications include online shopping tailored to wireless devices with online catalogs, shopping carts, and back-office functions. Other transaction applications include micro transactions and low cost purchases for subway or road tolls, parking tickets, digital cash, and others.

Digital content delivery includes a variety of applications:

  • Information browsing for weather, travel, schedules, sport scores, stock prices, etc.

  • Downloading educational and entertainment products

  • Transferring software, images, and video

  • Innovative multimedia applications

According to the recent study by HPI Research Group, [11] the following are the top ten mobile entertainment features:

  1. Sending SMS messages

  2. Checking local traffic and weather information

  3. Using a still camera

  4. Getting latest news headlines

  5. Sending photos to a friend

  6. Using a video camera

  7. Booking and buying movie tickets

  8. Getting information on movies

  9. Listening to radio

  10. Requesting specific songs

Entertainment on mobile devices is attractive because it is almost always with the user, whether commuting, traveling, or waiting.

Telemetry services include a wide range of new applications:

  • Transmission of status, sensing, and measurement information

  • Communications with various devices from homes, offices, or in the field

  • Activation of remote recording devices or service systems

1.6.3 Corporate Applications

Banks and transport companies were among the first businesses to deploy wireless applications based on WAP for their customers and employees. In banks, the goal was to reduce consumer banking transaction costs, while transport companies wanted to track transportation and delivery status online.

Gartner Research Group expects most corporations to implement wireless applications in four overlapping phases: [12]

  1. The first group of applications is readily justifiable and includes high-value, vertical niche solutions, such as field force automation.

  2. The second phase includes horizontal applications such as e-mail and personal information management applications.

  3. The third wave of applications consists of vertical applications, such as mobile extensions to CRM (Customer Relationship Management), sales force automation, and enterprise resource planning systems.

In the long term, Gartner expects that 40 to 60 percent of all corporate systems will involve mobile elements.

1.6.4 Wireless Application Service Providers

WASPs allow wireless access to various software products and services. Business WASP applications are targeted to mobile business people, field personnel, and sales staff. Other WASP applications include: [13]

  • Mobile entertainment services

  • Wireless gaming

  • Wireless stock trading

  • In-vehicle services, such as traffic control, car management, etc.

1.6.5 Mobile Web Services

Web services include well-defined protocol interfaces through which businesses can provide services to customers and business partners over the Internet. Web services specify a common and interoperable way for defining, publishing, invoking, and using application services over networks. They are built on emerging technologies such as XML, SOAP (Simple Access Object Protocol), WSDL (Web Service Description Language), UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration), and HTTP.

Mobile Web Services provide content delivery, location discovery, user authentication, presence awareness, user profile management, data synchronization, terminal profile management, and event notification services. Initially, wireless terminals are likely to access Mobile Web Services indirectly, through application servers. The application server will manage the interactions with the required Web services.

1.6.6 Wireless Teaching and Learning

Web-based distance learning could be extended to wireless systems. For example, the project Numina at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington is intended to explore how wireless technology can be used to facilitate learning of abstract scientific and mathematical concepts. [14] Students use handheld computers (with appropriate software) which are connected to the wireless Internet. The system provides interactive exercises, and integrates various media and hypertext material. [15] [16] [17] [18]

[9]Beaulieu, M., Wireless Internet Applications and Architecture, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 2002.

[10]Nokia, Mobile terminal software — markets and technologies for the future, White Paper, www.nokia.com, 2002.

[11]Nokia, Mobile terminal software — markets and technologies for the future, White Paper, www.nokia.com, 2002.

[12]Nokia, Mobile terminal software — markets and technologies for the future, White Paper, www.nokia.com, 2002.

[13]Steemers, P., Critical success factors for wireless application service providers, White Paper, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, 2002.

[14]Shotsberger, P.G. and Vetter, R., Teaching and learning in the wireless classroom, IEEE Comput., 110–111, 2001.

[15]Buracchini, E., The software radio concept, IEEE Communications Magazine, September 2000, 138–143.

[16]Hanzo, L., Cherriman, P.J., and Streit, J., Wireless Video Communications, IEEE Press, New York, 2001.

[17]Krikke, J., Graphics applications over the wireless Web: Japan sets the pace, IEEE Comput. Graphics Appl., May/June 2001, pp. 9–15.

[18]Pahlavan, K. and Krishnamurthy, P., Principles of Wireless Networks, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2002.

Wireless Internet Handbook. Technologies, Standards and Applications
Wireless Internet Handbook: Technologies, Standards, and Applications (Internet and Communications)
ISBN: 0849315026
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 239

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