Valuation of Situated Services
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Situated services is an area that is believed to have high business potential for mobile communities. The aim of this study is to investigate whether this hypothesis can be justified or not, by investigating the potential value of situated services in Trondheim municipal chimney department. A thorough analysis of the domain and the current work processes reveals several opportunities where situated services may support the chimney sweeps in accomplishing their primary tasks. Among others, the services include situated access to, and registration of, information. Some of these services cause restructuring of current work processes. Analyzing the work processes also reveals that the various processes are interrelated. By taking these interrelations into account, the services are extended to include natural consequences of the situated services. The variety of services has the potential to increase efficiency for personnel at the chimney department, increase the quality of their primary tasks, and increase customer satisfaction. The potential economic value of the services is determined by analyzing the services in terms of benefits and costs. The benefits are estimated by valuing the efficiency caused by the new services. Costs include investments to develop the new services, and costs related to usage and operation of the services. The analysis reveals that potential economic profitability of the suggested services is high for the chimney department. To maximize this value, the chimney department should introduce portable devices for the chimney sweeps, where they may access the situated services. The portable devices should be able to communicate with the central system by use of EDGE/UMTS. The services may also be enhanced with GIS, but the value of GIS is not fully examined in this study. The design process used to outline and evaluate the value of the services is based on the principles defined by a new approach to business valuation of services, called Techno-business modeling (TBM). Techno-business modeling is a framework for joint technical and business modeling that defines a set of principles to improve the interaction between business design and technical design during the design process. Based on these principles, both the business processes and the system design are modeled by use of UML, to adjust for interaction between the two models. The analysis reveals that TBM is well suited for valuation of situated services, because it adjusts for comparison of the business process model and the technical system model during the design process. The potential value of situated services can be difficult to identify in advance, which makes the early interaction between the models especially important. Considering the economic value of the situated services during the design phase helps maximize the value for the services.