Enabling Technologies for Electronic Commerce


Major Project Leader: Gregor v. Bochmann (University of Ottawa)
Industrial Co-Leader: W. Kou (IBM Canada Ltd.)

Enabling Technologies for Electronic Commerce is a Major Project funded by and developed under the auspices of the Canadian Institute for Telecommunications Research (CITR).

The term Electronic Commerce (EC) encompasses an ever broader spectrum of commercial activities on the World Wide Web. This project addresses the fundamental issues that arise from the common requirements of these activities. It aims to build a prototype of EC infrastructure to meet these and anticipated requirements for turn of the century applications. The component research projects will advance the state-of-the-art by developing technologies that will result in systems with more functionality than currently available. Towards this end, new and emerging technologies will be utilized wherever possible. Many of the constituent projects listed below are based on the results obtained in the highly successful Phase 2 Major Project on Broadband Services. The results obtained from these research projects will be integrated into a system that establishes the infrastructure for EC.

For a more detailed overview see the Preamble for the Major Project


* Data Management Issues in Electronic Commerce
Principal Investigator: M.T. Özsu, University of Alberta

There are a number of data management issues that need to be addressed in electronic commerce. These include, among others, the development of virtual catalogs, intelligent query across these catalogs, and support for the management of transactions between customers and vendors. In the short term, the focus of this project will be on the development of catalogs. These catalogs should have multimedia capabilities and should allow for the integration of different catalogs developed by each vendor. The objective of the project is to enable users to be able to access multiple, distributed, and potentially heterogeneous catalogs in a uniform and transparent manner.
* Quality of Service and Distributed Systems Management
Principal Investigator: G.v. Bochmann, University of Ottawa

Co-Investigator: B. Kerhervé, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
Co-Investigator: H. Lutfiyya, University of Western Ontario
Electronic commerce activities will involve a range of end-user equipment (from low-end PCs to powerful workstations) that are connected to a range of access network technologies (from wireless link to high-speed attachment). Therefore the management of quality of service and the adaptation of the application within such system and network environments poses new challenges. This project addresses these issues.
* Security Issues
Principal Investigator: G. Agnew, University of Waterloo

Co-Investigator: C. Fader, University of Waterloo
Security issues in distributed environments, particularly in applications which involve financial transactions, are obvious. The general security issues on the Internet have a bearing on electronic commerce. In addition, there are specific security issues that arise due to the particular characteristics of this application. This project considers both the general security issues on the Internet (as they apply to electronic commerce) and the specific problems generated by this application.
* User Interface and Intelligent Agents
Principal Investigator: N. Georganas, University of Ottawa

Co-Investigator: T. Radhakrishnan, Concordia University
Any software application requires a nice and simple user interface. The interface should be provided with navigation tools and some "intelligence" to assist the users in easily executing desired tasks. In electronic commerce, navigating through the plethora of electronic catalogs of products, selecting items of interest and interacting in real-time with a sales person, if desired, poses new design challenges. This project investigates the design and integration in the major project of a user interface employing distributed virtual environment concepts for navigating the virtual electronic commerce mall, web-based telecollaboration tools and also using appropriate intelligent agent technologies.
* System and Network Performance and Application Management
Principal Investigator: J.W. Wong, University of Waterloo

For systems that support distributed multimedia applications, it has been recognized that the "analysis of applications through detailed simulation and modeling of the application as well as measurement of actual traffic is needed to provide accurate characterization of application behavior". It has also been recognized that accurate traffic models are important for the performance evaluation of the various system components, especially when one considers the issue of scalability. This project uses the deployed electronic commerce application as a testbed to collect data and conduct measurements on application behavior.