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Ontology based Retail Shopping Point using


pervasive computing
Muhammad Tariq Khan, Vinod Kumar
Pakistan Air Force - Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology (PAF-KIET)
sun.developer@hotmail.com, vinod_rughani@hotmail.com

Abstract—Mobile is gaining popularity as a shopping tool. which provides services to the consumer. Such services will
The pendulum is shifting from e-commerce to m-commerce. In be greatly appreciated by the consumer especially those who
under-developed and developed countries, mobile industry is have variant job timings and who work out of town.
one of the fastest glowing star. Taking the case of Pakistan for
Inflation is one of the biggest problems in Pakistan.
example, currently more than 76 million people are using mobile
phones. In spite of this success, there are many doors of Commodity prices are on high rise which is creating
improvement and research is still open. dissatisfactory environment for the consumer. The purchasing
A big number of population in the world comprises of lower power of the consumer is getting weaker and weaker every
and middle class employed families. It’s hard for such employed day. Majority of Pakistani population consists of middle class
person to take out time for shopping and other activities because employed families and this category suffers the most. Above
of their variant job timings. This directly affects health,
that, retailers and wholesalers do not follow the standard rates
performance and indirectly affects overall personal life. Current
approaches in the field of mobile retail shopping talks about set by the government, and responsible authorities also not
problems like mismanagement of supply chain process in retail acting to strictly implement the price control policy.
grocery, lack of user friendly and effective mobile applications Information disconnection is another major problem. There
in pervasive retail and untrusted transaction environment in is a lack of central information service where consumers can
ubiquitous computing. easily access the information about different products,
This paper proposes an ontology based model for retail
compare rates and check the availability. Besides information
industry. For experimental purpose Grocery Retail is our area
of interest. Our focus is to facilitate a common man and to free disconnection, we also have relationship gap between buyer
him from the hassle going to different shops for purchasing and seller.
different products. Buyers would have the power to investigate In this paper we are proposing an ontology based model for
about the different products offered by different retailers, can grocery retail. We are also introducing a service that will
compare prices and post comments anywhere anytime. Our integrate different retailers an invite them to market their
model will not only be helpful in creating a healthy competition
products or services through this platform. This would work
among different retailers but also in controlling price where
price control is an issue. as an intermediary catalyst which will try to build a strong
business relationship between retailers and consumers. This
Index Terms— Grocery, Ontology, Pervasive Retail, Semantic can play a vital role in reducing the information gap between
Web. both parties. The competition will increase among retailers
and this can be effective in solving the problems like inflation
and price control.
I. INTRODUCTION

T he success and failure of local and international business


can be determined by adoption and properly utilization of II. RELATED WORK
emerging technologies. The formulation of effective business Sangeetha et al. [1] developed an application named
strategy and selection of suitable technology can turn the iGROCER. iGROCER is an smart shopping assistant which
problems into opportunities. Online shopping is one of the not only help the user to shop healthy, but also brings a
widely used channel for shopping. Convenience is the main positive change in the life of elders, visually impaired and
reason that people choose online shopping according to the disable people. It even involves children in weekly grocery
investigation. shopping experience. iGROCER also helps in searching out
Pakistan is far behind in the area of online shopping. The the shortest with a map indicating the location of the next
use of mobile phone and internet in Pakistan still need item. Some of the features of iGROCER application includes
maturity. We must learn to fully exploit the technology with nutition profile, shopping list, quick shopping and expense
its true sense. There are many problems which can be reduced history.
or eliminated, if we involve technology as a solution. In the George et al. [2] discussed the rationale for the
field of grocery shopping, we don’t find any online service development of MyGrocer. This paper focuses on the

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advancement of the technological infrastructure in the filed of prototype and finally perform usability tests.
pervasive retail. They talked about the effective supply chain Jusy scott et al. [9] talks about the issues and tradeoffs of
management with technological support that has made supply the fulfillment of the grocery orders. Authors presented an e-
chain management within the grocery industry more grocery order allocation model that addresses some of these
successful. They ensured that the success factor of the grocery issues. Study suggests that order fulfillment from distribution
industry would heavily depend on the effective management centers is more suitable and efficient than fulfillment from
of supply chain. stores.
Guoling et al. [3] talks about formation of business strategy
and how electronic commerce can affect the business III. SEMANTIC WEB AND PERVASIVE RETAIL
performance. This paper discusses the online retail industry The vision of Semantic Web[11] has gained a lot of
of china. To properly study the consumer behavior, tracking popularity in recent times. In spite of the fact that the
the sales status and applying the effective technology can help adoption of semantic web is slow but, a lot of research has
you win the competitive race. been done and still going on which shows its stability and
Panos et al. [4] revealed some concealed inefficiencies that adoptability in near future. International business giants are
existed in the process of supply chain especially those of Fast appreciating the solutions like MyGROCER[4],
Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Come of the iGROCER[1], and MobiPass[10].Ontology is the basis of
inefficiencies were frequent change over, instable production Semantic Web. From the philosophical point of view, the
plan, high out of stock, lack of communication and lost of term ONTOLOGY refers to the study of being. But in the
sale. MyGrocer business and technological framework is the context of Knowledge Management, ontology defines a
solution of the above mentioned problem set. knowledge model to share information in a specific domain.
George Roussos et al. [5] discussed the consumer It is a common vocabulary which can be reused and also
perception of the MyGrocer. This paper tries to change the understandable to Software Agents.
perception of a common consumer for the shopping. They Why we use Ontology? Following are some of the reasons
emphasized on the transformation of the grocery shopping  Common understanding among human and
into retail entertainment. Such a system would requires the software agents
expertise of professionals of diverse background which Ontology provides a uniform environment where there is least
includes interactivity designers, information system gap of understanding between human and software agents.
engineers, hardware & application developers, marketing For Example, there are many financial websites which
strategists, product development teams, social scientists and contain information about financial services and offers. There
retail professionals. are many standard terms which have the common
Florian Resatsh et al. [6] explains about a Mobile Sales understanding in all financial institutes. If we publish
Assistant (MSA) application which helps retailers and ontology of all the common terms, their meaning and
customer to check the availability of desired product with any relations with other terms, then computer agents can easily
NFC enabled mobile at the point of sale. NFC tags are extract and present the information according to the human
attached to the every product and each tag contains a unique understanding.
Electronic Product Code (EPC) to identify that product. MSA  Reuse of domain knowledge
sends a request to the server which is connected to an ERP Reusing already defined domain ontology can be helpful for
system. ERP system responds with the details of the product. those companies who are new startups and they can save
MSA not only reduce the quality of service process but also valuable amount of time, cost and effort. Effective reuse is
helps in reduction of the stress factor which influences inversely proportional to development effort, cost, time and
consumer positively and this is directly proportional to performance issues.
increase of purchases.  Separation of domain knowledge from operational
Robert Steele and Will Tao [7] talks about the application knowledge
of MobiPass [10] architecture to the retail industry based on Domain knowledge represents structural information about
the Assael’s 5 stages of retail process to enhance shopping the domain and it can define in terms of classes, properties
experience. MobiPass architecture helps its service users to and instances.
create a trusted platform and to interact with each other Then concept of anywhere anytime computing is very
(consumer and retailer) regardless of the whether they have much appreciated in consumer world. Pervasive shopping
prior knowledge of each other or not. offers several advantages to the consumer world like
Erica et al. [8] examines the use of PDA in the grocery convenience and time saving which encourages the consumer
store. In this paper author discussed the process of designing to adopt pervasive shopping technologies. IBM was first to
of a wireless application for retail shopping specifically for introduce pervasive computing in the context of retail [15].
grocer shopping. First they studied the shopping behavior,
next they evaluated and worked on the designing of the

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IV. GROCERY ONTOLOGY MODEL V. HOME GROCERY SERVICE ARCHITECTURE - CONCEPTUAL


In this section we present an ontology model based on MODEL
grocery domain for pervasive computing environment. An We are presenting architecture for pervasive retail based on
ontology model is the structural organization of the grocery ontology model. This conceptual framework is the
conceptual knowledge which uses object oriented approach. basis of our service architecture. This service architecture
According to Guarino[12], ontology ca be divided in different presents a business model that is technology centric and
sub-ontologies like upper or top level ontology, domain adoptable. Any third party business entity can adopt this
ontology, task ontology and application ontology. Upper model. The basis of out architecture is ontology based
ontology defines the most generic and abstract concepts of the information structure which is easily extendable according to
application domain. Some of the existing upper ontologies are the business need. Considering the current socio-economic
OpenCyc[13] and SUMO[14]. Domain ontology defines core condition of the Pakistan, this business model will be an
concepts and relation among the concepts of application innovative and cost effective model for the business
domain (e.g grocery, sports, medical). Task ontology talks community and will benefit consumer and retail industry.
about the usage of the domain ontology. Application ontology
combines, integrates and extends all sub-ontologies for the 1.1 Customer registers himself using web or mobile.
application. Registered customer then places an order. He browses the
product information. He picks up the required item from
the product list, enters each product required quantity
and clicks start transaction button. On the other hand, if
customer is using mobile phone, he/she can use the
Messaging Service for order placement. Every customer
is provided a complete list of products code. Customer
will type the product code and quantity and send it to the
company specialized number. The company server
notifies the user about the successful reception of the
order message and starts transaction.
1.2 After receiving the order request, server displays an alert
to the Customer Service Agent (CSA). CSA carefully
checks the order. If found any mistake, CSA is
responsible to validate the order information with the
customer.
1.3 After successful validation, CSA collects all the related
orders’ lists and assigns the collection and delivery job to
the delivery team.
1.4 Delivery team collects each item from the warehouse. It
is important to note that item collection from warehouse
than store not only relieves store congestion and
improves product selection but also saves valuable
amount of time.
1.5 Now its time to pack each order carefully. Customer ID is
Fig-1 Partial Grocery ontology
attached to each pack which uniquely identifies each
package.
In fig-1, the upper domain ontology presents a set of
1.6 For delivery, CSA instructs the delivery team about the
abstract entities each describing a conceptual object including
route selection. If customers are located at far locations
frozen, diary, paper and plastics and ingredient. This
then CSA decides how to deliver products based on the
ontology model is flexible enough to accommodate new
customer requirements and delivery type like urgent or
concepts that are required for the domain using taxonomic
normal delivery.
hierarchy.
1.7 Delivery team delivers the order to each client.
1.8 At the time of delivery, delivery man informs the
company about the successful delivery.
1.9 The company server confirms to the customer about the
successful delivery via message. Customer replies back
about the confirmation status.

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Fig. II. The Home Gricery Service Architecture

2.0 Server deducts the total amount and service charges from
the customer current balance. VII. CONCLUSION
2.1 Server sends an email and message to inform customer In this paper we discussed the inefficiencies that exist within
about the deduction of amount, current balance and order the grocery retail sector of Pakistan. Consumer has to bear the
status. burden of problems due to inefficient behavior of the retailers
and ignorant attitude of the responsible government
authorities. We have presented an ontology based solution of
VI. BENEFITS the consumer problems using Home Grocery Service
We presented an ontology based information integration Architecture (HGSA). This service architecture is a
model for retail industry. This platform is a trust building conceptual framework of a business model which is can be
platform between consumer and retailers. Retailers can study adopted and implemented as any business entity. This model
the buying behavior of the consumers and formulate their can not only generate good amount of revenue but also proven
strategy accordingly. On the other hand consumer can get all to be effective solution for the consumer community.
the required information about grocery products, their prices,
discount offers and retailer’s rating anytime anywhere.
Consumer can also check the retailer’s rating and past ACKNOWLEDGMENT
experience of the consumers. The rating criteria would be We would like to thank Prof. Khalid Khan, Director
based on product availability, consumer satisfaction level, Computer Science department, PAF-KIET, for his support
discount offers and product range. and encouragement.
Our model presents a clear picture to both the parties. Our
model can easily be extended by any grocery business and can
gain high profit. Senior citizen and disable persons can rake REFERENCES
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