a framework for context sensitive services: a knowledge discovery based approach

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    Decision Support Systems 48 (2009) 158168

    Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

    Decision Supp

    .e40 million active users of mobile Web in the US accessed mobileshopping and auctionWeb sites in April 2008 in contrast to 2.9 millionusers in 2007 [8]. At the same time, the revenue gained fromworldwide mobile data services exceeded US$49 billion in the rstquarter of 2008 and is expected to exceed US$200 billion by the end ofthe year [9].With thematurity of mobile technologies, more andmoredata about the environment that the customers are in can be collectedeasily. The existence of this type of data can help service providers

    mobile service providers. In this paper, our objective is to proposesuch a knowledge discovery based operational framework for CSS thatlays down the steps to be followed by mobile service providers foroffering such services to customers. We discuss six real life casestudies of CSS and illustrate how the proposed framework canenhance the delivery of these existing services. Then we use acombination of experimental and simulated data to show how theframework can be used for deeper understanding of customers'match the context of services and contextunderstand customers' demands better. Thesetake into consideration the context data oflocation etc., are called context sensitive ser

    Corresponding author. Management School, Zijingsity, Hangzhou, China. Tel.: +86 571 88206827; fax: +

    E-mail addresses: bose@business.hku.hk (I. Bose), ch

    0167-9236/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier B.V. Adoi:10.1016/j.dss.2009.07.009rvices. The mobile datas and generated revenue.n, nearly 5 million of the

    transactions. A knowledge discovery approach that can analyze suchvoluminous data, deliver usable knowledge, and lead to theformulation of customer focused business strategy is needed by themarket is growing in terms of number of userAccording to a report published by A.C. NielseMobile servicesModelingSimulation

    1. Introduction

    Due to the fast penetration of mobcommerce are becoming more andsurvey conducted by AuthenTec [20],purchased handphones that can hawireless banking; nearly 47% of themmobile services; and about 30% of thhandphones so that they can use mones, mobile services andopular. According to athe survey respondentsobile services such asontemplating the use ofgoing to upgrade their

    spite of the attractiveness of CSS, a few solutions have been providedto help the service providers deliver context sensitive and customercentric services to customers. Some frameworks related to thedelivery of such services exist but they are more conceptual ratherthan operational. In the context of mobile telecommunications, it iscritical to understand customers' preferences in order to provideeffective services that cater to their needs. Understanding customers'behavior is possible by amassing data on customer demographics andKnowledge discovery

    FrameworkA framework for context sensitive service

    Indranil Bose a, Xi Chen b,a School of Business, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kongb School of Management, Zhejiang University, China

    a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 5 November 2008Received revised form 16 April 2009Accepted 26 July 2009Available online 5 August 2009

    Keywords:Business understandingCase studiesContext

    Advances in mobile technoAppropriate customer centrmobile service providers. Toanalyzing customers' contestudies of context sensitiveimprove them. Furthermoincluding location and timedeeper and improved know

    j ourna l homepage: wwwof customers so as totypes of services, which

    customers such as time,vices (CSS). However, in

    ang Campus, Zhejiang Univer-86 571 8820 6827.en_xi@zju.edu.cn (X. Chen).

    ll rights reserved.A knowledge discovery based approach

    ies have made the collection of customers' context information feasible.strategies that make use of customers' context data are eagerly awaited bydress this need, a framework is proposed in this paper that can be used forbased behavioral data to provide suitable services to customers. Six casevices are discussed to illustrate how the proposed framework can be used tosimulated experiments are conducted using customers' behavioral datad it is found that the use of context related data leads to the discovery ofge of customers' behavior.

    2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    ort Systems

    l sev ie r.com/ locate /dssbehavior and provisioning of services that are aligned with thecustomers' preferences.

    We start with a review of related literature in Section 2. In thissection we dene the key elements of context for CSS, discuss theimportance of CSS, and review some of the existing frameworksrelated to CSS. We also describe six real life case studies that make useof context data for operational purposes in this section. We propose anew framework for CSS based on a knowledge discovery approach in

  • the third section. In the same section, the six case studies arediscussed once again to show how the proposed framework can helpin improving current practice. In the fourth section, we describe thenumerical experiments and corresponding results to illustrate howcontext data can help gain a thorough understanding of customers'preferences for a mobile service provider of Hong Kong. Conclusionand directions for future research wrap up the paper.

    2. Literature review

    2.1. Context sensitive services (CSS)

    elements are inter-related to each other. Mobile technology worksas an enabler of CSS. Mobile technology enables CSS not only byproviding mobile devices but also by connecting these devicestogether so that services can be provided to people anywhere andanytime. The characteristics of themobile technology are also a part ofthe context. Services delivered via mobile networks should bedisplayable or executable on customers' mobile devices [14,17].

    2.2. Frameworks for CSS

    Many researchers have proposed frameworks related to CSS. Some



    159I. Bose, X. Chen / Decision Support Systems 48 (2009) 158168Location based services take location data into consideration and isdened as services that integrate a mobile device's location orposition with other information so as to provide added value to auser [26]. However, there are other elements in the customers'environment besides location, such as time. Dey et al. [11] provided alist of components of context and remarked that context is typicallythe location, identication, and the state of people, groups, andcomputational and physical objects. However, this denition is notgeared towards mobile services. Zhang [30] mentioned that contextshould includemobile services users' preferences, mobile devices, andwireless network. Rao and Minakakis [23] suggested that time, reasoncustomers are at a location, means by which customers arrived at thelocation, and preferences of customers are also important context databesides location. Abowd and Mynatt [2] pointed out specically thatcontext should include the ve W: Who, What, Where, When, andWhy. By Who, for example, it's not enough to identify a person as acustomer. The person's past actions and service related backgroundshould also be identied for better service provision. What referredto the activities conducted by the people involved in the context andinteractions between them. Where represented the location data.When was related to time. Where and When were closely relatedto each other. Why specied the reason for Who did What. Whyrepresented a complicated notion and acted as the driving force forthe context sensitive information system.

    Mobile services are services delivered to customers via mobileartifacts such as mobile networks and mobile devices. One charac-teristic of mobile services is that they can be delivered to customersanytime and anywhere. It is believed that mobile services are highlyrelated to the environment that customers are in at the time theservices are needed. Location may be one of the most importantfactors used to describe the environment. People may have differentneeds when they are at different places. For example, when someoneis driving (s)he wants to know the most convenient way to get to his/her destination, whereas when (s)he is in the ofce (s)he needsinformation related to his/her work. Based on the above idea, severalelements are considered to be important components of context forCSS. Location is the rst element. Providing location based services isthe rst task of CSS. Time is the second element of CSS because peopleare mobile and locations changewith time. The third element of CSS ismobile technology. By mobile technology we refer to the hardwareand the software that allows transmission of data between mobiledevices or mobile devices and other devices wirelessly. These

    Table 1Comparison of existing frameworks for CSS.

    Authors Components of framework Context inform

    Lankhorst et al. (2002) [18] Services YesVarshney (2003) [27] Technical YesYuan and Tsao (2003) [29] Services YesLiao et al. (2004) [19] Knowledge discovery YesAalto et al. (2004) [1] Services Yes but only loXu et al. (2008) [28] Services Yesof them are more focused on technical issues, such as how thenetwork should be designed to support the services. For example,Varshney [27] compared three types of mobile services: mobileadvertising, location aware services, and mobile nancial services, interms of their requirements such as the location precision, responsetime, network coverage, and wireless dependability etc. He proposedan integrated network architecture that considered the above factorsfor different services. Xu et al. [28] used a Bayesian network to buildup conceptual relationships between different comp