2. In the case of direct communication the agent sends SMS (Short Messaging Service)
messages to the customer's mobile phone. Contents of the messages may include brief
notifications of important events and the URL address of the WML-page(s) where more
detailed information can be found.
We would like to note that in case of only short notification messages, cellular phones without
WAP could also be used for notification of customers.
Customers can input information for the agent via WML-enabled menus on their phones, and this
allows making changes into customer profile in real-time.
Agent-Service Communication Module
Communication between agents and service providers can be organized using pull and/or push
techniques (see Figure 3). Both techniques can be utilized depending on situations, and their
implementation should be symmetric. This means that both parties can initiate communication
and select the communication method.
We believe the pull technique will most often be used for regular service provision and
consumption, while the push technique seems to be more suitable for urgent notification. For
example, a stock market service provider may regularly put stock quotes into a common message-
pool. A similar pool can be used by an agent for requests to a service provider. However,
notifications of significant changes in DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) or NASDAQ stock
indexes can be pushed directly to agents without letting them wait to read such news from the
message-pool after a time interval which is defined for them.
In a more advanced case we believe that service providers can also be represented by software
agents, and that these agents may be involved in the communication with customer agents
(Matskin, 2000). The communication may include service marketing, customer's needs
identification, and price negotiation. This already refers to group view in the agent approach and
it may require Agent Communication Language (ACL) based communications (for example,
FIPA (FIPA, 2000) or KQML (Finin, 1997)).
Agent Functionality Module
Functionality of the assistant can be different for different applications, and may, for example,