Electronic Knowledge Markets

An electronic market gives the user the opportunity to complete four essential tasks. These are:

  • to get information about the offered products and services,
  • to signal an interest to the provider,
  • the processing of the contract and
  • the completion of the transaction.

Electronic markets differ from traditional online markets by the fact that there are no physical products and goods but knowledge and information are exchanged and traded instead.

New tasks and defiances for the trading platform and the presentation and networking of the content which are researched in this research group arise from this fact.

Ubiquitous Information Systems (UIS)

Ubiquitous Information Systems (UIS) provide means for supporting single actors and groups in real-world situations by services over ubiquitous computing technologies anywhere and anytime. UIS come with more complex requirements than the more strongly constrained Information Systems for office settings. Contents shall be seamlessly provided by any kind of mobile or embedded device based on loosely coupled service infrastructures while users are moving in physical environments. Furthermore, situated communication and collaboration of user groups in highly dynamic and context-dependent physical environments are far more complex than well-structured online environments. This requires that contents can effortlessly move over loosely coupled and distributed service infrastructures, for instance, supported by semantically annotated contents. In this field of research, we investigate and apply design methodologies for such integrated information and service systems. The resulting UIS are rigorously evaluated by empirical studies. For instance, we have developed an Intelligent Bathroom within the EU project IKS that provides digital information to users according to their behaviours in a bathroom.

Intelligent Bathroom

Design Process

The class of UIS is still governed by ad-hoc methods, e.g. “wild-west” prototyping. But, UIS require design approaches that keep a holistic view of situations in which single users and groups interact with one another and with accessible services. Designing UIS does not exclusively depend on technical issues but also on aspects concerning users, social interactions and physical surroundings amongst others. Environments of UIS cannot be fully specified, i.e. UIS designs should be flexible enough to cope with a range of unpredictable events and entities. This is in contrast with fully specified, artificial digital environments of traditional IS. We apply the Situational Design Methodology for Information Systems (SiDIS) when designing UIS. This design methodology is centered around three types of conceptual models and corresponding translation procedures (Maass & Janzen, 2011). The conceptual modeling approach (1) supports holistic and explicit representations of communication and collaboration situations for UIS and (2) uses service infrastructures as a means for supporting social functions.


UIS are implemented by using cutting-edge technologies, such as semantic technologies, machine learning, RFID, and other sensor technologies. For describing devices embedded in the physical environment, we use the product ontology Smart Product Description Object (SPDO) that represents a core model of generic prototypical aspects of consumer products (Janzen & Maass, 2008; Janzen et al., 2010). Domain-specific conceptualizations can be added as modules, for instance concepts of the cosmetic domain. Statements about alternative or matching devices in the physical environment are generated by processing certain concepts of SPDO instantiations while each SPDO describes one particular device. This processing of the semantic device descriptions is handled by the semantic middleware TnT2 that is able to manage semantic knowledge sources and to combine them to a single knowledge base (Maass & Filler, 2006; Janzen et al., 2011). This enables the linkage of different knowledge sources as well as the execution of rules or consistency checks on the knowledge base. Furthermore, TnT2 offers the possibility for registering listeners on specific forms of changes in the knowledge base to external software modules.

Related Projects

IKS, Intelligent Bathroom, SmaProN, TMO Kongress, SmART


Related publications

Janzen, S., Filler, A., Maass, W.

Designing Ubiquitous Information Systems based on Conceptual Models, Workshop "Sozio-technisches Systemdesign im Zeitalter des Ubiquitous Computing (SUBICO 2011)" at Informatik 2011, Berlin, 2011.
PDF (3.48 MB) - BibTeX

Janzen, S., Blomqvist, E., Filler, A., Gönül, S., Kowatsch, T., Adamou, A., Germesin, S., Romanelli, M., Presutti, V., Cimen, C., Maass, W., Postaci, S., Alpay, E., Namli, T., Erturkmen, G. B. L.

IKS Deliverable - D4.1 Report: AmI Case - Design and Implementation (Public), 2011.
PDF (5.60 MB) - BibTeX

Maass, W. & Janzen, S.

Pattern-Based Approach for Designing with Diagrammatic and Propositional Conceptual Models, 6th Int. Conf. on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST 2011), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 2011.
PDF (360 KB) - BibTeX

Janzen, S., Kowatsch, T. & Maass, W.

Springer (ed.)
A Methodology for Content-Centered Design of Ambient Environments, DESRIST 2010: Global Perspectives on Design Science Research, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2010, pp. 210-225.
PDF (4.49 MB) - BibTeX

Janzen, S., Kowatsch, T., Maass, W. & Filler, A.

Linkage of Heterogeneous Knowledge Resources within In-store Dialogue Interaction, 9th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2010), Shanghai, China, 2010.
PDF (759 KB) - BibTeX

Maass, W. & Filler, A.

Supporting Cooking Tasks by a Smart Formulation Table, 6th International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE'10), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010.

Janzen, S. & Maass, W.

Smart Product Description Object (SPDO), Poster Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS2008), Saarbrücken, 2008.
PDF (59 KB) - BibTeX

Maass, W. & Filler, A.

Tip 'n Tell: Product-Centered Mobile Reasoning Support for Tangible Shopping , Proc. of MSWFB 2007: Making Semantics Work For Business, part of 1st European Semantic Technology Conference, Vienna, Austria, 2007.
PDF (87 KB) - BibTeX

Maass, W., Filler, A. & Janzen, S.

Reasoning on Smart Products in Consumer Good Domains, Workshop AmI Blocks at the European Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI-07) , Darmstadt, 2007.

Filler, A. & Maass, W.

Maass, W.; Schoder, D.; Stahl, F.; Fischbach, K. (ed.)
Towards Navigation in Semantically Annotated Physical Product Descriptions, Design of Smart Products, 2006, pp. 47-54.

Maass, W. & Filler, A.

In Ch. Hochberger and R. Liskowsky (ed.)
Towards an infrastructure for semantically annotated physical products., Informatik 2006, Lecture Notes in Informatics, Springer, 2006, P-94, pp. 544–549.
JQR-Rating: C JQR-Index: 6.36
PDF (98 KB) - BibTeX