The illustrative m-business service concepts in Figure 3 are intended as profiles of real service solutions that will become available to business and consumer users in the years ahead. In all cases, the business services capitalize on the network-enabled business services infrastructure provided by 3G/ UMTS operators or service providers. This infrastructure is connected to the business customer's IT environment through standards-based interfaces for communication, information transfer, and messaging. It also utilizes network information, thereby providing the business customer with enhanced information from terminals, input devices, locations, usage patterns, as well as the ability to interface with third-party systems and third-party service providers. In the following paragraphs, each of the concepts in Figure 3 is elaborated upon.
Figure 3: Illustrative Constellation of M-Business Solution Concepts
This service is a delivery support service designed to increase the effectiveness and productivity in medium and small delivery fleets. It can also be targeted at larger delivery fleets in cases where the fleet operators do not have their own internal implementation, or to modernize older existing bulkier terminal and application implementation. The service provides drivers with one terminal-based application that follows them throughout the day as they make deliveries. Information about each customer and delivery is downloaded as the delivery route progresses. Customers can be called by pressing a button (phone number downloaded), directions can be obtained by pushing another button (map and directions downloaded), and detailed information for each customer can be downloaded prior to each delivery. Customers can be asked questions at the time of delivery, with answers entered using application-assigned buttons. Such questions can include special promotions, offers, or customer satisfaction feedback. Dispatch operation knows where each driver is (location-based service) and can easily contact the drivers via messaging for changes in delivery or special pickups. Finally, the terminal can only be used for specified applications and phone numbers, eliminating unauthorized use.
The m-business version of The Yellow Pages revolutionizes the service by adding total content flexibility and query-specific information (code and location dependent), allowing each response to a Yellow-Pages request to be customized.
The service works via "operator-branded" logos with an alphanumerical code located as part of a display (in-store, billboard, etc.) or in advertising (sign, magazine, etc.). The user enters this code into a simple Yellow-Pages terminal application. This starts a Yellow-Pages query service that connects to the right supplier's IT site. This site contains Yellow Pages information (company, address, phone, product information, special offers, etc.) that can be dependent on the following:
Time: Different information during different times of the day.
Date: Changing information dependent on date.
Query site: Information dependent on where Yellow-Pages request originates.
Query code: Single company can have multiple codes dependent on product, service, site, etc.
This application is a general field sales support m-business service that allows a mobile sales force to tie directly into their company's IT support structure with a mobile device of choice. Designed to work with various types of mobile computing devices (and even cell phones), the application creates a user interface for the business situation at hand, whether downloading product information, creating orders and delivery schedules, delivering sales campaigns, or obtaining customer location information.
In a network-based m-business implementation, the terminal application and its content drive the service function. For example, by choosing a product line button, the salesperson will be connected to different office systems at different locations (and even different companies), depending on the product line. The network also automatically routes messages and voice calls to the right sales support functions, such as installation, scheduling, etc. The installation message not only contains the message information, but also which network service logic the response should communicate with. The network service logic routes the response to a third system or company, together with a notification forwarded to the original salesperson (and maybe a formal communication note to their end customer).
Many applications will consist of interfacing to the business customer's IT environment [through standards-based Internet connectivity—Web-service, extensible markup language (XML), messaging, etc.]. Other application implementations will utilize services from third-party providers or customize device applications depending on specific device applications or input commands. The result is a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)/3G terminal device application customized for the business customer's need, dependent on specified content interfaces to their business IT infrastructure, rather than requiring the business customer to develop and integrate a complete business application.
An application similar to the previous one could focus on service force management and provide customers with support information through mobile devices. As described above, this application is integrated into the customers' business IT and business process environments, adding mobility. Features such as message content-driven service logic applications and third-party information and content services could be added.
An advantage of this application is the ability to interact with all the systems, services, and support functions required for speedy completion of a service call. This communication starts while the service representative is on the way to the job. The connectivity is driven by business-specific service logic that interprets messages sent to the home office. So instead of initiating a number of separate communications with IT systems and support staff, the service representative can handle the whole service transaction as one application. First, the GPRS/3G terminal is connected to the system being serviced, and then it relays information collected to the right supplier product support site for diagnostics. The support site can, for example, recognize a need for software upgrade, sending a message to a third-party system software upgrade site authorizing the distribution of a software download. Through network service logic, this software gets distributed to the right GPRS/3G terminal (or end customer's IT system) at the same time as the network service initiates a service call transaction starting the creation of a billing transaction in the home management information system (MIS). At the same time, a signature application is initiated in the GPRS/3G terminal, where the end customer can sign off on the service call. The service force management application then assigns the next service call to the service representative based on his or her position and time. As it does this, it places a call from the GPRS/3G terminal to the next customer to advise them about technician arrival time. Again, this application shows how network-based service process logic can coordinate multisystem/ multicompany transactions using messaging, voice, and XML.
The Mobile Office Solution provides total mobility for the business, including messaging and integration into business-specific applications and business processes. This advanced integration is done through the XML/Web services extension to the wireless device. Advanced messaging integrates with the office messaging system, and a number of potential add-on applications allow for mobile meetings, note sharing, and application/time/location-based information and alerts. Mobile GPRS/3G devices can vary from today's laptops and PDAs to future specialized terminals and applications.
The advantage of the Network Enhanced Office Solution is that it can provide different support, depending on where the user is and what terminals they use. A scenario illustrates the possibilities:
When the user exits the office, the network automatically detects this and starts an automatic process of communications between the office IT environment and the GPRS/3G terminal that the user carries. This interaction will be different for PDAs, portable computers, ordinary cell phones, or the new 3G phones. Instead of having to download specific information by hand before leaving, this is automatically done for the user, in the right format for the right device. This filtering is then applied to the user requests. For example, all messages can be held until later in the day or when the user returns to the vicinity of the office. High-importance messages are delivered in the right format to applications that can interpret responses (such as set-up call in five minutes). Based on this information, the network then creates a call or information interchange at the appropriate time, automatically. And, as third-party services are needed, they are automatically provided to the user. There is no need for individual subscriptions and billing transactions: as part of the Mobile Office service, the service operator handles such details.
The M-Office solution truly becomes a mobile office where person/ terminal/home office/interaction/mobility become one instead of just being a series of wireless messages and phone calls going back and forth. The partial mobility implementations prevalent today are replaced by tomorrow's seamless mobile office.
The mobile customer relationship management (CRM) application provides a flexible approach for each business customer to handle customer relationship management. By providing CRM support to employees and to the end customers' mobile environments, a small-or medium-size business can dramatically improve customer service.
This application allows a business to increase responsiveness and offer truly mobile CRM, a solution that follows the end customer and delivers appropriate timely information when, where, and in the form that the customer wants it. It is again the concept of replacing a large number of point-to-point communications with a content-and process-driven service. Instead of making a phone call or surfing through Web sites to straighten out a billing problem, the GPRS/3G terminal application defines the issue and then forwards this information to the supplier. Based on the nature of the issue, the supplier's CRM application defines a customer satisfaction response entailing multiple transactions. These are forwarded to the mobile CRM (m-CRM) transaction application and set in motion the following transactions and processes:
Immediate message to customer acknowledging receipt of complaint.
Message communication to third-party service providers to correct the problem.
Correction message is forwarded to the customer when responses are received, and an appropriate response and explanation is downloaded directly to the customer's terminal; if there is a financial transaction, this is also simultaneously downloaded to the customer's terminal (or bank account or mobile cash).
Personal phone call is placed (when customer is available, based on availability information entered from the GPRS/3G terminal) apologizing for mistake (can also be a friendly video message); a token gift (a glass of wine) is offered as an apology.
Download of the gift transaction to the customer's favorite wine-bar (or one close by, based on mobility information), where the customer gets their wine by simply telling their name; bartender would already have received name and message when the customer walked in the door, based on location information.
With the network-based m-CRM service process logic, it is possible for an end user to set corrective action in motion through a CRM application on their GPRS/3G terminal. Once the event has been triggered and forwarded to the business, the enterprise's IT environment interacts with the network business process logic and communicates (using XML messages) with appropriate suppliers, functions, personnel, and service and help desks, plus communicates the appropriate relationship-cementing information to the appropriate places (such as the wine bar).
The supply chain management application introduces wireless supply management solutions to small-and medium-sized enterprises. It adds smart mobility, transactions monitoring, and communication device transparency, plus the ability for a company's ordering and supply systems to interact via network-enhanced XML messages. The standard XML messages fit seamlessly within a Web services supply chain IT application environment, while XML fields controlling network services interact with these and other resources (network or third-party applications) via XML-SN applications processes.
M-supply chain management (m-SCM) can mean that a terminal application, rather than extensive (and expensive) IT applications, becomes the collecting point for supply information delivered by systems that were not integrated. This is accomplished by specifying the XML-enhanced fields that tie into and control the applications.
M-SCM also provides integrated views into all suppliers' ordering and shipment systems, without having to procure and integrate specific expensive software applications for the task. Users can also receive the exact information that they need, wherever they are, on the terminal of their choice.
With m-SCM, messaging is integrated with real-time voice and data communications and can be used to streamline supply processes.
It implies access to enhanced procurement services that are offered as part of the service by third-party service providers specializing in their respective fields. Because the third-party providers are fully integrated into the network, these services are provided seamlessly to the user.
Also, m-SCM creates a platform for integrated ordering and shipping solutions, without the need for integration. The application comes together on the mobile terminal.
The business security application integrates a GPRS/3G terminal security application with the business security procedures of small-to medium-sized companies. Whether there is a need for interaction with a live security person or automated voice, pattern, or password protection, this application extends company facility and data security to mobile security devices, allowing the business to reduce costs and increase security reliability. Some features included in such a service are as follows:
Remote video monitoring (from any GPRS/3G video-capable terminal).
Voice print recognition.
Entry of numerical codes.
Alert messages that are context dependent, i.e., based on time, day, sequence of events, and circumstances.
Third-party monitoring and alarm applications.
Using wireless service providers and customized terminals, this application provides the same wireless business order/delivery applications to small-to mid-sized companies that large corporations implemented through extensive integration efforts of enterprise IT environments. Viewed as a sort of captive "FedEx" for every business, this application provides interface capabilities similar to those used by suppliers and customers in order distribution systems, replacing custom terminals with GPRS/3G JAVA applications. The network-based service flow applications provide not only the order distribution connectivity but also the ability for suppliers, distributors, and customers to have the right information on their handheld devices at the right time. By specifying a general-purpose XML interface for this application, each part of the supply chain can implement their information interface on an XML Web site, thereby simplifying integration with their respective IT order management and billing systems.
The m-reachability application provides the business user with a way to communicate with their customers based on proximity, service, or promotional agreement. As the user walks down the street or drives along the road, the terminal m-reachability application displays information from businesses along the way on the user's terminal, as each business establishment comes within walking or stopping range.
In addition, a business location or event (such as a sports event, art fair, street festival, etc.) will now know how many of their customers or "fans" are nearby and will be able to communicate with them instantly, when the potential fans are in the vicinity of the event. This application provides microbroadcasting capabilities from a location specific to its selected target audience within specified driving or walking ranges.
Electronic payment applications have slowly emerged in the GSM world. GPRS/3G adds a location/service process dimension, as well as integration with third-party payments and applications providers. Products and services can now suddenly be paid for without dependence on traditional credit card companies or banks. The network version of this brings the application to the masses, giving every small-and mid-sized business the ability to create electronic payment business models without the need for Web browsers or Internet business models.
This application can be as easy as creating a mobile "cash register," employing a third-party payment application, while the end customer is standing in front of the checkout clerk. Card sliding and passwords are replaced by a screen message and OK button on the customer's own GPRS/ 3G terminal. Alternatively, advertising is augmented by a code (or barcode) that instantly brings all necessary information to the terminal, where simple button clicks set in motion messages and interactions between the customer and the small business, free from expensive overhead infrastructures. Services and messages of the following type can be provided:
Where can I get it—Map to closest location.
Have it ready for me—Sure.
Send it to this address—Sure.
This business application provides a mobile location-less office environment, complete with computing, messaging, and business process functions. The only difference is that such an "office" is virtual, i.e., not associated with a physical business address or facility. The "officeless" back office is housed in a secure unmanned hosting location, and all LAN and PBX functions and connectivity are provided by the network. Connectivity within the officeless business is provided with 3G, managed by an officeless business process application capable of integrating all 3G terminal-based applications with back office and communications.
By eliminating the need for office and administrative space and replacing it with 3G terminal applications and a business process communication/ information application, the service provider can offer a cost-saving solution that will be the foundation for new small-and mid-sized business models. Virtual offices could become virtual businesses.
As a network application, the network manages all connectivity and information exchanges through permanent virtual connections to all users' 3G terminals. "Sending e-mail" and "Dialing Phone Calls" is replaced by instant application, voice, and face-to-face communication between all participants. New or temporary employees simply connect into the officeless environment, participating in the communication and information transfer needed for their work.
Network-enhanced 3GPRS/3G applications are a way to create new types of service implementations that are closely integrated with the wireless network. Such applications replace the end-to-end applications (terminal communicating with customer's IT system) with 3G service processes, wherein the terminal communicates with the service operators' business applications, that in its turn manage the communications to multiple IT systems, third parties, and other application providers.
The technologies making such services possible are being developed today (XML, Web services, high-performance service process engines, smart IP switching, XML-based UMTS applications). What is lacking is the right network service element that can integrate the parts and combine them with service development and operational tools, allowing for large network deployment. Innovative efforts to develop such network elements are currently underway.