In an m-commerce setting, the underlying communication system will have to provide a quality of service (QoS) in the presence of two competing factors ‚ network bandwidth and, as the pressure to add value to the business-to-consumer (B2C) shopping experience by integrating multimedia applications grows, increasing data sizes. In this chapter, developments in the area of QoS-dependent multimedia perceptual quality are reviewed and are integrated with recent work focusing on QoS for e-commerce. Based on previously identified user perceptual tolerance to varying multimedia QoS, we show that enhancing the m-commerce B2C user experience with multimedia, far from being an idealised scenario, is in fact feasible if perceptual considerations are employed.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) applications represent a particularly highgrowth area of electronic commerce. As these B2C applications evolve , it is the users who would determine the success of such applications and of the B2C sector as a whole. While general user concerns in B2C environments relate to issues such as trust, privacy, and convenience (Ackerman, Cranor, & Reagle, 1999; Basso, Goldberg, Greenspan, & Weimer, 2001; Callahan, & Koenemann, 2000; Spiekermann, Grossklags, & Berendt, 2001), in a mobile communication context, considerations of user satisfaction are further hampered by matters relating to the relatively constrained input capabilities, as well as the limited size , processing capabilities, and battery power of the devices themselves .
A central issue to the acceptance of B2C applications is the one of quality ‚ and this shall be the main theme of the chapter. As Figure 1 details, m-commerce B2C applications can be approached from three main, sometimes overlapping, perspectives, and with each, one can associate a notion of quality. In this chapter we shall, however, be concentrating primarily on the user perspective, showing how knowledge about perceived quality can be exploited from a data transmission viewpoint. Accordingly, quality, in our work, has two main facets in an m-commerce environment: of perception and of service . The latter characterises the technical side of computer networking and represents the performance properties that the underlying network is able to provide. The former is a novel term coined by us and gives a more complete characterisation of the human side of the m-commerce experience.
In this chapter, we present an overview of QoS- related issues and how they impact on the user experience, with particular emphasis on m-commerce. Accordingly, the structure of the chapter is as follows . Section 2 looks at QoS issues in m-commerce from the prism of e-commerce. While section 3 reviews research in the area of the perceptual impact of varying QoS and shows its applicability to wireless communications and m-commerce, section 4 brings together the main issues resulting from the previous two sections, integrating perceptual and QoS issues into a specifically designed m-commerce communications architecture. Finally, conclusions are drawn in section 5.