A high-level architecture for an agent-driven system that provides a complete set of electronic commerce functions is presented in this paper. The authors contend that current Internet commerce uses many different protocols, which reduces its convenience for customers shopping on the Internet. They propose an agent-based system, with a common interface protocol, to present the customer with a more consistent experience in all phases of conducting electronic transactions. Building on previous work concerning flexible shopping and agent-based systems, this approach encompasses all phases of commerce, including researching and selecting a merchant, conducting the sale, and handling post-sale transactions, such as return and repair.
Quoting the authors’ introduction in section 1:
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 analyzes various commerce protocols available in different trading phases. The proposed agent-based commerce model is presented in section 3. Section 4 illustrates some commerce protocols to show how various commerce protocols can be flexibly composed based on some basic transaction functions. The implementation and demonstration of the commerce system are illustrated in section 5. Section 6 compares our design with related research work. Finally, Section 7 presents the conclusions and suggests future work.
The basic model seems sound, and the functional components provide a complete framework. As was the case with current Web protocols, we must anticipate the development of detailed specifications, and their adoption by the Web community at large.