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Invited Talk MCAP - agent-based service solutions for mobile networks. Bremen, Januar 2001. Jens Hartmann Senior Researcher Ericsson Eurolab Deutschland GmbH Germany. Agents - the good old dream. The idea of agents is not new! the age old dream of intelligent robots

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Invited TalkMCAP - agent-based servicesolutions for mobile networks

Bremen, Januar 2001

Jens Hartmann

Senior Researcher

Ericsson Eurolab Deutschland GmbH


Agents - the good old dream

The idea of agents is not new!

the age old dream of intelligent robots

asynchronous processing tasks

decentralisation of control

Several contributing disciplines

Artificial Intelligence

Distributed Systems

Object Technology

Network Management

Artificial Intelligence

Programming Languages

User Interface

Distributed Systems


Agents - a buzzword for everything?


  • Applications of Agent Technology

    • Task Delegation (e.g. Search Machines)

    • Service Personalization

    • Adaptability to Networks and Terminals

    • Virtual Home Environment

    • Fixed Mobile Convergence

    • Open Architecture and Networks

Why Agent Technology?

  • Shortcomings of 2nd Generation Mobile Networks

    • Limited Bandwidth

    • Home Services not always available

    • Low Processing Power of Terminals

    • Simple User Interfaces

    • High Connectivity Costs

Application Scenario: Banking & Payment

Complex transactions

Mobile User

Application Server

Service Provider







Application Scenario: Intelligent Shopping

WAP Terminal




etc. ____


WAP Gateway

Merchant 1

- WML pages

- list of merchants

WAP / Agent Server


Merchant n

M commerce

  • M-Commerce is the driver for mobile data services

  • current activities are concentrating around payment solutions

  • for a retrieval and shopping scenario

    • user interfaces have to be simple

    • number of interactions with the user should be reduced by the use of agents

    • adaptation of output to different end-systems

    • data over radio interfaces should decrease

    • WAP offers with WBXML an efficient and ease to use compression mechanism

Agent-based M-Commerce solution


M-Commerce Agent Platform (MCAP)



Agents/WAP/XML over GSM/GPRS/Bluetooth/WLAN/IRDA

Information retrieval with agents

Merchant A

Merchant C

Merchant A

Merchant C


Merchant B

Merchant D


Merchant B

Merchant D

Information retrieval with agents

Mobile Agent

Stationary Agent

-Data (SQL)

-Mobile Agent

  • MCAP creates list of merchants

  • Mobile agents move from host to host

  • Mobility enables filtering data locally

  • Mobile agents generate a higher base load (data volume and processing time); load is distributed among all hosts, thus the increase of the MCAP load is less critical

M commerce a comparison
M-Commerce: A comparison

  • stationary agents are faster

  • mobile agents are more complex

  • XML-interface creates additional delay






  • Small amounts of data (3 to 5 kbyte) are sufficient

  • Expected service times will around 2 minutes

  • Simple queries will be best achieved by RPCs

  • Mobile agents are advantageous for complex queries

  • Mobile agents are also very helpful in respect to load balancing (processing power of the MCAP)

  • GPRS and UMTS are designed for packet-oriented applications

  • the air interface will remain as bottleneck of the system

  • M-Commerce services will benefit from volume-based billing

  • High penetration of WAP phones is theentry point for m-commerce services

  • Effective data reduction through WMLC

  • XML is a sensible interface to create flexible and extendable mobile agents

Conclusions concerning mobile agents
Conclusions concerning mobile agents

  • the agent paradigm is applicable for multiple application segments (modelling)

  • service roaming could be achieved through mobile agents (flexibility, personalisation)

  • performance evaluations have shown that mobile agents have advantageous when it comes to multiple data transmission and complex transactions (reduction of network traffic)

  • mobile agents are well-suited for mobile applications for wireless networks and rare resources (asynchronous task execution)

Mobile agents outlook
Mobile agents - outlook

With today’s platforms, mobile agent technology faces open issues such as security, scalability and

disconnected operations.

In the near future, however, mobile agent

technology will solve many problems efficiently, and are well-designed for packet-switched networks. Mobile agent technology will allow

  • to offer new value-added services (FMC)

  • to reduce time-to-market

  • to reduce development and maintenance costs

and change the nature of service provisioning.