Ontology and tool support for quality service management

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  • Ontology and tool support forquality service management

    Adel Alti and Abbdellah BoukerramComputer Science Department, University of Setif, Setif, Algeria, and

    Philippe RooseComputer Science Department, LIUPPA University of Pau,

    Anglet, France

    Abstract

    Purpose The purpose of this paper was to design ontology for describing semantic context-awarequality services, and to present a new web management tool that provides a great flexibility andenables automatic semantic adaptation and customization of mobile client services.

    Design/methodology/approach The tool is developed using ontology-based approach. Thisontology captures a shared conceptual schema common in the tourism domain and maintains semanticquality information in heterogeneous service providers for service model. The results of the tool will becompared to prior works from other quality and distributed based service selection methods formobile-based application.

    Findings The tool support is based in the ontology Context-aware Quality Semantic WebService called (CxQWS). At the first step, services are defined as a set of semantic metadata,reflecting service requirements and QoS parameters. At the second step, services with a semanticcontextual metadata are elaborated. Such a procedure ensures that the selection decisions should bebased on the semantic quality representation of the created services. The SELETOR tool resultssuggest that the level of intelligent method use continue to be high flexibility in World Tourismorganisations.

    Research limitations/implications The tourism services in a mobile environment have a criticalrole in creating tourist satisfaction. They are neither a uniform group, nor able to give consistentlyhigh service quality. Indeed they have significantly different platforms and a variety of heterogeneousservice providers which make the management of service qualities complex.

    Practical implications A significant proposition is to integrate new tourism quality attributes ofmobile-based application, to provide a dynamic adaptation of selection services based on contextmetadata parameters (user, environment, device, and service provider context) and the management ofthe heterogeneity of service needs, of mobile devices capacities and their various communicationprotocols (GPRS, WIFI, Bluetooth, etc.) as well as the media variety (sound, video, text and image),possibly reflecting the decreased time responses and the increased visibility of standard servicesmanagement methods.

    Originality/value The paper proposes SELECTOR, a dynamic service selection tool based onCxQWS ontology, defined as set of semantic metadata, which context and QoS parameters. The tool isbased on semantic services and offer architecture, with three layers (semantic query, managementand web services). The most innovative characteristic of the tool is that it profits from the potentialof semantic representation techniques to express high level explicit constraints, while they may beuseful to guide the selection and adaptation process. This tool provides low adaptation effort, e.g. takesinto account all the heterogeneous services as its various communication protocols (GSM, 3G,Bluetooth, etc.) as consequences of self-selection for dynamic context evolution guided by theadaptation policies.

    Keywords Tourism, Mobile technology, Semantics, Data management, Context-aware,Selection of services, Quality of service, Context matching

    Paper type Research paper

    The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at

    www.emeraldinsight.com/1328-7265.htm

    Journal of Systems and InformationTechnologyVol. 15 No. 1, 2013pp. 4-23q Emerald Group Publishing Limited1328-7265DOI 10.1108/13287261311322567

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  • 1. IntroductionRecently, the World Tourism Organization emphasized that the future of the tourismindustry depends on the ability to instill a culture of mobile communication and qualityin tourism services (Pashtan et al., 2003; Mizoguchi, 2004). The tourism services in amobile environment have a critical role in creating tourist satisfaction. They are neithera uniform group, nor able to give consistently high service quality. Indeed they havesignificantly different networks environments and a variety of heterogeneous serviceproviders which make the management of service qualities complex. This complexity isclearly noticeable when a given service is provided by two or more providers, within thesame area of the mobile clients; a decision should be made to select the most appropriateservice based on contextual description with the best quality of service. The identicalservices have common semantics characteristics (name, city, category), within differentproviders, versions, QoS and executions contexts.

    The heterogeneity of components regarding embedded sensors, CPU power,communication mechanisms (GPRS, WIFI, Bluetooth, ZigBee, etc.), speed oftransmission as well as the media variety (sound, video, text, and image) requirestaking into account adaptation to a semantic level in order to avoid the ad hoc solutionswhich are not reusable and/or generalized. Diversity of languages, protocols, andhardware platforms lead to major incompatibility issues. Moreover, multimediaservices adaption guided by user and community requirements and preferences are noteasy to be performed in this context. Communication protocols, security, and QoS areother non-functional concerns which present new design challenges.

    The application of context-awareness has been demonstrated in a large number oftourism applications (Abowd, 1997; Pashtan et al., 2004). Context aware computing playsan important role in tourism applications to better understand user context and adaptservice with the continuous evolution of its context. The web service is an ideal fit in thetourism services, because it allows the service easy integration over heterogeneoussystems. Ontologies provide a good way to treat semantic interoperability between theheterogeneous representations of web services. Indeed, the semantic web service ontology(OWL-S) offer sophisticated capabilities including automated discovery, composition,invocation and monitoring (Mcllraith and Martin, 2003). But OWL-S ontology does notaddress how to consider non-functional concerns, i.e. how to represent them. Furthermore,OWL-S does not really take into account the contextual information in web servicesquality selection for very limited mobile device like PDA, Smartphone, etc.

    In this paper, we present the tool SELETOR which has been developed for servicesselection. We present also the ConteXt-aware Quality of Semantic Web Service Ontology(CxQWS) includes support for web service quality control and resources requirementschanges. The explicit separation of functional and non-functional concerns is the mainconcern of the CxOWS aiming to well capturing resources-awareness and controllingquality at semantic level.

    The contribution of this work is deals with a semantic level which help improvingservices qualities provided to tourists in a discovery and interaction mobileenvironment. The goal of the proposed ontology is to provide semantic level facilitiesthat allow the management of quality parameters of heterogeneous services. It providesalso a dynamic adaptation of selection services based on context metadata parameters(user, environment, device, and service provider context) for the better flexibility,adaptation and customization of mobile client software.

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  • The key idea of the proposed web service oriented architecture consists in theCxQWS. At the first step, services are defined as set of semantic metadata, which reflectservice requirements and QoS parameters. At the second step, services with a semanticcontextual metadata are elaborated. Such a procedure ensures that the selectiondecisions should be based on the semantic quality representation of the created services.

    The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 presents our motivations andother related works. Section 3 details CxQWS ontology, while Section 4 presents anoverview of the proposed framework. Section 5 presents application scenarios of ourontology as well as implementation issues. Finally, Section 6 concludes and presentssome perspectives.

    2. Motivation and related works2.1 Management of context-aware web services qualitiesThere is a diversity of contextual information and a variety of quality attributes, we findseveral ontological languages such as WSMO (WSMO, 2005), DAML-S (Horrocks, 2002),ConteXtML (Rayn, 1999), CxBR (Gonzalez and Ahlers, 1999) CWSC4EC (Boukadi et al.,2008), CA-Discovery (Suraci et al., 2007), CxG (Brezillon, 2003). These languages providethe means for defining QoS and context in specific application domains such aspervasive and mobile computing. However, neither various communication protocols,not heterogeneous services are discussed. Our approach addresses the limitations ofexisting approaches, suggesting the mechanisms to integrate new tourism qualityattributes of mobile-based application, to provide a dynamic adaptation of selectionservices based on context metadata parameters (user, environment, device, and serviceprovider context) and the management of the heterogeneity of service needs, of mobiledevices capacities and their various communication protocols (GPRS, WIFI, Bluetooth,etc.) as well as the media variety (sound, video, text, and image).

    A semantic-based architecture for intelligent destination management system isproposed in Kanellopoulus and Kotsiantis (2007). In this architecture, a semantic webontology is used to model the tourism destinations, user profiles, and the user contexts.The proposed OWL-S is extended with context information taken into account. Thisarchitecture is context-aware but suffered from a semantic-based quality evaluation forachieving an efficient framework.

    Boukadi et al. (2008) work which is a new context categorization suitablefor the enterprise collaboration environment and proposed a context-aware webservice ontology for describing and selecting web services enhances dynamicity andagility of collaboration. The proposed approach takes into account only contextualinformation necessary for web service collaboration, and not considers QoS parametersand their semantics for web services discovery and selection.

    In Nicolicin-Georgescu et al. (2009) exploited ontologies and ontology-based rulesdata for improving query response times in data warehouses groups by modifyingcache memory allocations. This work ensures a better data warehouse management ata lower cost and enables autonomy by using autonomic loop control. However, thiswork concentrated only on service performance as indicator of the system quality andnot considers other QoS parameters like security and dynamic adaptation.

    In Wang et al. (2006) presents a QoS model for service selection. This work is based onQoS ontology, which introduces a number of specific quality attributes and theirrespective quality measurements used for web service quality evaluation and selection.

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  • The authors have presented an interesting approach for annotating service descriptionwith QoS data. However, neither various communication protocols, not heterogeneousservices are discussed. Therefore, it does not provide support for dealing with the dynamicservice selection in order to adapt to highly varying context conditions. Moreover,proposed intelligent mechanisms (e.g. intelligent software agents) and techniques can beexploited in the practice of a new tourism quality management policy (Handler, 2003).

    Currently, the OWL-S does not include a semantic description of contextualinformation. Thus, in its current state, it does not enable web business quality selectionin pervasives computing environments. Moreover, proposed intelligent mechanisms(e.g. intelligent software agents) and techniques can be exploited in the practice of anew QoS policy (Handler, 2003).

    Recently, Keskes et al. (2010) proposed a model that makes an automatic selection ofbest service provider that is based on mixed context and QoS ontology for a given setof parameters of QoS. It approach provides interesting benefits for QoS enhancement,allows a well interoperability between heterogeneous services, but disagree in theautomatic service selection using multi-dimensional QoS and did not address any issuerelated to service integration in the limited portable devices.

    Recently, in Lamolle et al. (2010) introduced an ontology framework for automaticnetworked multimedia systems deployment and configuration. Based on well-knownstandards, this framework integrates multimedia, distribution and platform concepts.This work offering excellent quality service management and deployment but disagreein the complex semantic context matching.

    More recently Derdour et al. (2012), proposed the component, service, connector(CSC) platform for application-based components. This platform based on multimediasoftware architectures. It proposes a generic solution to the problem of incompatibilityof services, in term of media type to another, or of a media format to another format.This work treats syntactic interoperability between the heterogeneous services and didnot take into account the semantics of services and that of the location, category,QoS and context constraint and providers.

    The methods and contributions of this paper are different from above related works.First, the paper exploits services selection of mobile devices for maximizing userQoS under resource constraint in mobile applications. Second, the paper proposes anintelligent business quality management system, which is based on the CxQWS. Thesuccess of this approach provides its members intelligent access to business qualityrelatively inexpensively. This approach provides improved performance, a dynamicadaptation of selection services based on context metadata parameters (user,environment, device, and service provider context) for the better flexibility. Above twocontributions do not appear in other related works.

    2.2 Uses and reasons of ontology importanceTo investigate the importance of ontology from the technical view, for four reasons:

    (1) Homogenization. Describing different contextual tourism information and differentqualities tourism service using the same ontology confers to the ontology a role ofhomogenization for at least the service quality and the context information that itdescribes (Mizoguchi, 2004; Gargentilla and Gome`z-Perez, 2004).

    (2) Interoperability. Ontologies provide a good way to treat semantic interoperabilitybetween the heterogeneous representations of web services and thus QoS

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  • parameters and context parameters of tourism services by sharing commonrepresentation and semantics (Handler, 2007; Mao et al., 2010; Quality SupportCommittee, 2003).

    (3) Expressiveness. Most ontology languages such as RDF and OWL-S with highexpressiveness are efficient and perform much better for expressing semanticsof...

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