You are on page 1of 14

CHAPTER 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern

OrganizationWireless, Mobile
Computing and Mobile Commerce
Chapter Outline

Wireless Technologies
Wireless Computer Networks and Internet Access
Mobile Computing and Mobile Commerce
Pervasive Computing
Wireless Security

Learning Objectives
1. Describe the four main types of wireless transmission media, and identify at least one
advantage and one disadvantage of each type.
2. Discuss the basic purposes of short-range, medium-range, and long-range networks, and
explain how businesses can use at least one technology employed by each type of network.
3. Discuss the five major m-commerce applications, and provide a specific example of how
each application can benefit a business.
4. Define pervasive computing, describe two technologies that underlie this technology, and
provide at least one example of how a business can utilize each one.
5. Identify the four major threats to wireless networks, and explain, with examples, how each
one can damage a business.
Teaching Tips and Strategies
Wireless communications has become so ubiquitous, most students seldom think about it or its
implications, so most students will not need to be told, Whats in it for me? Most of them have
a personal computer with some form of Internet connection. Given the growth of smartphones, a
number the students will also have used some mobile computing applications other than simple
cell phone usage.
The first thing they need to understand is the difference between wireless and mobile
communications. Wireless means exactly what it says: without wires. In contrast, mobile refers
to something that changes its location over time. Wireless networks can be either mobile (e.g.
Internet over cell phones) or fixed (e.g. Wi-Fi).
I suggest starting the class by having students brainstorm to identify information and services
that already are available and other apps they would like to have available through mobile
computing. Focus especially on location-based commerce to really pique their interest. Then,
have students consider the implications for the businesses that would have to provide the
information and services. In other words, how will businesses have to transform themselves to

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 2

satisfy consumer demands for mobile computing applications? This topic segues logically into a
discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of mobile computing.
Next, discuss privacy issues associated with mobile computing, especially RFID and Auto-ID.
Most students feel that the government and employers have no right to monitor their movements
and location. This leads to a great discussion. I sometimes break the class into different groups
and assign them different perspectives. One point of view is the employers. I ask the students,
if you were an employer of mobile workers (such as service technicians), would you want to pay
for an employee to run personal errands while on the job? The other perspective is the
employees. Isnt it all right to use company time and equipment to stop at the dry cleaners while
on the job? When having this discussion, try to remain impartial, at least at first. Your adopting
an impartial position helps students complete their thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of
mobile computing and related privacy concerns.
Review Questions
Section 8.1 Before you go on
1. Describe the most common types of wireless devices.

Pagers one way wireless devices

PDA personal digital assistant, a small handheld wireless device.
GPS global position system, a satellite-based tracking system that enables people to
determine the location of a GPS devices location.
Smartphone Internet-enabled cell phones that can support mobile applications.

2. Describe the various types of transmission media.

Microwave, satellite, and infrared are line-of-sight methods, whereas radio signals travel
through the air and can pass through walls.
Section 8.2 Before you go on
1. What is Bluetooth? What is a WLAN?

Bluetooth is a device used to create small wireless radio-based personal networks for up
to 8 devices within 10 meters using low-power, radio-based communication.
Wireless local area networks are local area networks without the cables used to transmit
and receive data via radio waves.

2. Describe Wi-Fi, cellular service, and WiMAX.

Wireless Fidelity - known as Wi-Fi.
802.11a transmits up to 54 Mbps within 10-30 meters
802.11b transmits up to 11 Mbps within 30-50

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 3

802.11g transmits up to 54 Mbps and is compatible with 802.11b

Major benefits are low cost and the ability to provide simple Internet access.
Cellular services - communicate with radio antenna placed within adjacent areas called cells.
This technology uses digital signals and can transmit voice and data up to 384 Kbps when
device is used while walking, 128 Kbps while in a car, and up to 2Mbps when device is in a
fixed location.
WiMax - Stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. WiMax has a range of
up to 31 miles compared to 300 feet for Wi-Fi and 30 feet for Bluetooth. It has a transfer rate
of up to 75 Mbps.
Section 8.3 Before you go on
1. What are the major drivers of mobile computing?

Widespread availability of mobile devices

No need for a PC
The cell phone culture
Declining prices
Improved bandwidth

2. Describe mobile portals and voice portals.

Mobile portals - A customer interaction channel that aggregates content and services for
mobile users. Services include news, sports, e-mail, entertainment, travel information,
restaurant and event information, games, TV and movie listings, community services, and
stock trading.
Voice Portals A Web site with an audio interface. Voice portals are not Web sites in the
normal sense because they can also be accessed through a standard or a cell phone. A
certain phone number connects you to a Web site, where you can request information
verbally. The system finds the information, translates it into a computer-generated voice
reply, and tells you what you want to know. An example is 511, the travel information line
developed by
3. Describe wireless financial services.
The services provide a convenient way for customers to transact business regardless of the
time or their location. These services include banking, wireless payments and
micropayments, wireless wallets, bill-payment services, brokerage services, and money..
4. List some of the major intrabusiness wireless applications.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 4

There are applications that help owners of rental vehicles, commercial transport, and
heavy equipment fleets. These apps can be used to determine the location of the vehicles
and control messages that are sent to and from the vehicles.
Insurance companies use wireless digital cameras to take pictures at accident scenes and
transmit them to processing centers.
Mystery customers who file reports after evaluating locations of a national restaurant
franchise use hand-held devices to file reports.

Section 8.4 Before you go on

1. Define pervasive computing, RFID, and wireless sensor networks.
Pervasive computing is invisible everywhere computing that is embedded in the objects
around us, including the floor, lights, cars, the washing machine, cell phones, our clothes, etc.
RFID is the technology that enables manufacturers to attach tags with antennae and computer
chips on goods and then track their movement through radio signals. This technology was
developed to replace barcodes.
Wireless sensor networks are networks of interconnected, battery-powered, wireless sensors
called motes that are placed into the physical environment. The motes collect data from
many points over an extended space. Each mote contains processing, storage, and radio
frequency sensors and antennae. This technology enables more accurate information to be
2. Provide two specific business uses of RFID technology.

Retail companies use RFID to track inventory and shipments.

Tolls roads use RFID to collect fees without the need for toll booth personnel.

Section 8.5 Before you go on

1. Describe the four major threats to the security of wireless networks.
The four threats are rogue access points, war driving, eaves dropping and RF jamming.
2. Which of these threats is the most dangerous for a business? Which is the most dangerous
for an individual? Support your answers.
The most dangerous threats for a business are war driving and RF jamming. For individuals,
rogue access points are the most serious threat, particularly at public hotspots. Eavesdropping
is threatening for both business and individual networks.
ITs About Business Questions

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 5

ITs About Business 8.1

Tacos, Trucks, and Tweets?
1. Provide specific examples of the advantages that mobile communications provided to Mark.
Mark was able to let his customers know via Twitter and via his Web site where his truck was
or will be.
He was able to tack his other vehicles and reroute them if he felt necessary.
2. Which technology, Twitter or mobile communications, enables the other? Support your
Mobile communications enable mobile technologies such as Twitter. This is because most
users use their smart (mobile) phones to send the messages via Twitter.
ITs About Business 8.2
WiMAX Helps the People of Northern Thailand
1. Provide specific examples of other advantages that WiMAX can deliver to the villagers.

Educational programs that were not available to the villagers previously.

Electronic textbooks
The ability of the villagers to collaborate with one another has helped create a sense of
unity in the region.
Access to information that was not easily available to them previously
The network was easy to set up and relatively inexpensive.

2. Provide specific examples of the advantages of WiMAX compared to wireline

Compared to wireline, WiMAX provides wider coverage at a lower cost. WiMAX
coverage can reach a 31-mile radius. In order to cover the same area, physical
wireline must be must be laid out to each establishment.
ITs About Business 8.3
Location-Based Services at Shopping Malls
1. Are the advantages of the mall apps discussed in this case enough to entice you to go to a
mall? Why or why not? Support your answer.
The responses you will receive will differ based on your students shopping habits. Regardless
of whether they respond yes or no, however, students should provide concrete reasons why
they think the mall apps described in the case are enough (or not enough) to persuade them to
shop at the mall.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 6

2. Identify two specific benefits that you would add to mall apps to make them functional
enough to attract shoppers to the mall.
The responses you will receive will differ based on your students shopping habits. Some
ideas are to provide apps-only discount coupons to use in stores or the food center, and to
enhance the scavenger hunt-style game with daily special rewards to the first ten customers
who spot certain things in the mall during their shopping trip.
ITs About Business 8.4
Your Car Becomes a Smartphone
1. Explain why OnStar, Sync, and Blue Link are telemetry applications.
Telemetry is the wireless transmission and receipt of data gathered from remote sensors.
Telemetry has numerous mobile computing applications. Car manufacturers use telemetry
applications for remote vehicle diagnosis and preventive maintenance.
2. Provide specific examples of the disadvantages of OnStar, Sync, and Blue Link.
Students will have different opinions, but some will involve tracking, the vehicles
transmitting erroneous information, etc.
ITs About Business 8.5
Protecting an Open Wireless Network at Brigham Young University Hawaii
1. What are the advantages of the Avenda system to the users?
Avenda automatically provides authorization privileges after a user is authenticated. That is,
once a user is identified, the system provides access only to those systems necessary for that
user to do his or her job, a process called least privilege.
2. Are there privacy issues associated with the Avenda system for users? If so, provide specific
IT team now controls and differentiates access to the wireless network, so they can determine
what users are doing on the network. The team is also able to collect user information and
details about network usage. However, students are required to sign the university honor code
of conduct, and their activities on the network can be monitored to ensure they dont violate
the rules, causing harm to the users and the university.
Discussion Questions
1. Discuss how m-commerce can expand the reach of e-business.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 7

In the traditional computing environment, users must have physical access to a computer in
order to utilize its applications. The need to be linked by wires to computing resources
limited the usefulness of this technology to people who must be mobile while on the job. Mcommerce is a natural extension of e-business, but it is conducted in a wireless environment.
M-commerce serves the needs of an increasingly mobile work force and consumer
2. Discuss how mobile computing can solve some of the problems of the digital divide.
Wireless devices are becoming cheaper, and individuals can take those devices to locations
where they can connect to the Internet, often for free. Consequently, users who do not have
access to a computer at home can use these devices to connect to the Internet and gain the
benefits that otherwise would not be available to them.
3. List three to four major advantages of wireless commerce to consumers, and explain what
benefits they provide to consumers.

Access to expertise: For example, medical service providers in remote locations could
communicate real-time with specialists in other places to provide specialized
consultations. Consumers would benefit due to better access to specialized expertise
without the inconvenience or expense of traveling to a different location for the
Access to information: For example, mobile portals provide consumers access to a
personalized set of content and services regardless of location. This enables the
consumer to always have specified information available regardless of location.
Customized advertising: For example, location-based advertising can deliver information
and coupons to inform consumers about shops, malls, and restaurants close to their
current location.
Access to services: For example, wireless banking enables consumers to carry out
various financial transactions from any location, further eliminating the need to go to a
bank or an ATM machine to carry out needed banking business.

4. Discuss the ways in which Wi-Fi is being used to support mobile computing and mcommerce. Describe the ways in which Wi-Fi is affecting the use of cellular phones for mcommerce.
Wi-Fi is the technical standard underlying most of todays wireless local area networks
(WLANs). A mobile computing device can connect to the Internet easily from public access
points called hotspots. Mobile computing and m-commerce applications can be delivered
easily and at adequate communication speeds in this environment. Wi-Fi is reducing the
need for wide-area wireless networks based on cellular technology.
5. You can use location-based tools to help you find your car or the closest gas station.
However, some people see location-based tools as an invasion of privacy. Discuss the pros
and cons of location-based tools.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 8

The benefits of location-based tools include the ability to request and receive information
that is tailored to your exact location. The concerns about this capability arise from the fact
that other people can obtain information about your exact location and movements and use
that information in harmful ways..
6. Discuss the benefits of telemetry in health care for the elderly.
The alerting devices that people can wear around their neck are valuable for seniors who
need emergency assistance after a fall or when they are experiencing some other medical
7. Discuss how wireless devices can help people with disabilities.
Sensors that help people with disabilities communicate with their computer and other
household devices significantly enhance these individuals ability to interface with their
environment and perform basic activities.
8. Some experts say that Wi-Fi is winning the battle with 3G cellular service. Others disagree.
Discuss both sides of the argument, and support each one.
Students will discuss this in terms of speed, distance and cost and why one of these services
is preferred over the other.
9. Which of the applications of pervasive computing do you think are likely to gain the greatest
market acceptance over the next few years? Why?
Although the students answers will vary, it is likely that applications that add
convenience without violating privacy will be the ones to gain market acceptance.
For example, an application that provides information about a product for diagnostic
and repair purposes would be useful because the consumer could arrange for the
product to be repaired before it fails.
Problem-Solving Activities
1. Investigate commercial applications of voice portals. Visit several vendors (e.g.,,, and so on). What capabilities and applications do these
vendors offer?
Students will research voice portals and report their findings.
2. Using a search engine, try to determine whether there are any commercial Wi-Fi hotspots in
your area. (Hint: Access Also check
Students will discuss use of handhelds, laptops, etc. after locating WI-Fi spots in their area.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 9

3. Examine how new data capture devices such as RFID tags help organizations accurately
identify and segment their customers for activities such as targeted marketing. Browse the
Web and develop five potential new applications for RFID technology, not listed in this
chapter. What issues would arise if a countrys laws mandated that such devices be
embedded in everyones body as a national identification system?
Students should enjoy researching this topic and describe these wearable devices.
4. Investigate commercial uses of GPS. Start with; then go to Can some of the consumer-oriented products be used in industry?
Prepare a report on your findings.
Students will investigate and list products that can cross over between the end consumer and
industry markets.
5. Access Examine the types of products being enhanced with Bluetooth
technology. Present two of these products to the class and explain how they are enhanced by
Bluetooth technology.
Various categories of products are listed in the web site. Students will investigate and
prepare a report on two of these products. Students also examine any drawbacks to having
Bluetooth used in the product.
6. Explore Prepare a summary of the types of mobile services and applications
Nokia currently supports and plans to support in the future.
Students will investigate and prepare a report.
7. Enter Search for wireless e-business. Research the resulting stories to
determine the types of wireless capabilities and applications IBMs software and hardware
supports. Describe some of the ways these applications have helped specific businesses and
Students are to look into the published case studies in the web site under
SOLUTIONS and find some examples of cases that they can share with the class.
8. Research the status of 3G and 4G cellular service by visiting,, and Prepare a report on the status of 3G and 4G based on your findings.
Students will investigate and prepare a report.
9. Enter Pitney-Bowes Business Insight ( Click on MapInfo Professional,
then click on the Resources tab, then on the Demos tab. Look for the location-based services
demos. Try all the demos. Summarize your findings.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 10

Students will investigate and prepare a report.

10. Enter Examine the demos and products, and list their capabilities.
PV provides software to deliver mobile media services. PV's software gives users greater
access and control over their media experience. The CORE product provides a universal
structure for mobile multimedia applications. MediaFusion is a white-label client-server
software application that enables rapid development and launch on-device portals for rich
media services.
11. Enter What types of fleet services does OnStar provide? Are these any
different from the services OnStar provides to individual car owners? (Play the movie.)
Students will play the movie and relate their experience.
12. Access
Read about the Internet of Things. What is it? What types of technologies are necessary to
support it? Why is it important?
Internet of Things refers to the concept of embedding communications technology in
common devices like refrigerators and ovens in order to extend the reach of Internet to many
remote areas that do not have an existing Internet access infrastructure The technologies
required for creating this type of network include, but are not limited to, RFID, sensor
networks, nanotechnology, distributed computing networks, and telecommunication
Team Assignments
1. Each team should examine a major vendor of mobile devices (Nokia, Kyocera, Motorola,
Palm, BlackBerry, Apple, and so on). Each team will research the capabilities and prices of
the devices offered by each company and then make a class presentation, the objective of
which is to convince the rest of the class why one should buy that companys products.
Students will research the capabilities and prepare a report. Focus on features supported by
the models, what bandwidth is needed to support the features and the quality of network
service and cost that is required by each.
2. Each team should explore the commercial applications of m-commerce in one of the
following areas: financial services, including banking, stocks, and insurance; marketing and
advertising; manufacturing; travel and transportation; human resources management;
public services; and health care. Each team will present a report to the class based on their
findings. (Start at
There are a lot of options, particularly in the financial industry, that students can choose.
Students will research the capabilities and prepare a report.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 11

3. Each team should take one of the following areashomes, cars, appliances, or other
consumer goods like clothingand investigate how embedded microprocessors are currently
being used and will be used in the future to support consumer-centric services. Each team
will present a report to the class based on their findings.
Students will research the capabilities and prepare a report.
Closing Case
A Mobile Application for Home Depot
The Business Problem
Home Depot (, the worlds largest retailer of home improvement and
construction products and services, has been lagging in information technology. In fact, IT was
an afterthought at Home Depot for years because the companys primary emphasis was opening
new stores. Today, Home Depot has more than 2,000 retail outlets.
Until 2010, employees stocked shelves as they had for 15 years, using computers powered by
motorboat batteries and rolled around stores on bulky carts. In early 2011, Home Depot still did
not offer customers the option to order online and pick up merchandise in stores, as Lowes
(, Home Depots biggest competitor, already did. Further, when Home Depot
employees processed special orders for customers, they had to rely on outdated information
systems. This arrangement hurt both sales and service.
In 2007, Frank Blake became Home Depots new CEO. Blake shifted the companys focus to
increasing profits from existing stores. Inventory turns a measure of how well a retailer turns
goods into sales began to increase. However, Home Depot did not have the information
systems to enable this change in corporate strategy. Therefore, the company had to modernize its
information systems to improve in-store technology.
Another component of Home Depots new strategy was to attract younger customers who are
accustomed to shopping online, often with devices they carry in their pockets or handbags. That
is, the company wanted to increase online transactions. (In 2010, online transactions amounted
to roughly 1.5 percent of Home Depots total sales.) Unfortunately, the companys Web site was
unattractive, difficult to navigate, and did not provide for a seamless shopping experience.
Therefore, the company had to improve its site to capture the attention of the numerous
customers who browse online before they go to the store.
The IT Solution
During fiscal year 2010, which ended on January 30, 2011, Home Depot spent $350 million
on information technology, which amounted to one-third of the companys total capital
expenditures. One of the new IT applications involved mobility. The company spent $60
million to buy 40,000 handheld devices, called First Phones, to replace the old in-store
computers. First Phones enable Home Depot associates to manage inventory and help customers
find products. These devices not only act as a phone, but they replace walkie-talkies. In addition,
with its credit card reader, the device becomes a mobile cash register. Further, associates can
check inventory in their store and in other stores from any location on the floor.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 12

Home Depot also launched a blogging site on its Web site where employees answer customer
questions on all home improvement and home construction matters. Further, as part of a broader
upgrade of its checkout systems, the companys U.S. stores installed contact-less scanners for
reading credit card information on customers smart phones.
The Results
It is too soon to predict the results of these new policies. Interestingly, Home Depots IT
initiatives could be complicated by the preference of most older contractors and do-it-yourself
homeowners to buy in person at a store. Home Depot recognizes that the company has to serve
customers the way they want to be served. However, the company feels that over the long run,
customers are going to become much more comfortable using their smart phones on a real-time
basis outside or inside the store.
1. Provide two specific reasons why Home Depot felt it necessary to deploy wireless handheld
First, the current system was outdated. The wireless handheld device, called the First
Phone, was a logical choice given the current technology. Second, the device helped
improve customer service functions because employees can use it to help customers find
their products.
2. Identify two potential disadvantages of deploying wireless handhelds at Home Depot.
First, the wireless handheld devices might get lost or stolen. Second, many associates
will need to be retrained to become familiar with the new system.

Chip technology that enables short-range connection (data and voice)

between wireless devices.

Cellular Telephones (also called cell phones) Phones that provide two-way radio
communications over a cellular network of base stations with seamless
Global Positioning System (GPS) A wireless system that uses satellites to enable users to
determine their position anywhere on earth.

A small geographical perimeter within which a wireless access point

provides service to a number of users.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)


Page 13

A type of wireless transmission that uses red light not commonly visible to
human eyes.

Location-Based Commerce (l-commerce) Mobile commerce transactions targeted to

individuals in specific locations, at specific times.
Mesh Network

A network composed of motes in the physical environment that wake up

at intervals to transmit data to their nearest neighbor mote.

Microwave Transmission A wireless system that uses microwaves for high-volume, longdistance, point-to-point communication.
Mobile Commerce (m-commerce) Electronic commerce transactions that are conducted with a
mobile device.
Mobile Computing A real-time connection between a mobile device and other computing
environments, such as the Internet or an intranet.
Mobile Portal

A portal that aggregates and provides content and services for mobile

Mobile Wallet

A technology that allows users to make purchases with a single click from
their mobile devices.

Near-field communications (NFC)

The smallest of the short-range wireless networks
that is designed to be embedded in mobile devices such as cell phones and
credit cards.
Personal Area Network
A computer network used for communication among computer
devices close to one person.
Pervasive Computing (also called ubiquitous computing)
A computer environment
where virtually every object has processing power with wireless or wired
connections to a global network.
Propagation Delay

Any delay in communications due to signal transmission time through a

physical medium.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology

A wireless technology that allows
manufacturers to attach tags with antennas and computer chips on goods
and then track their movement through radio signals.
Radio Transmission Uses radio-wave frequencies to send data directly between transmitters
and receivers.

Chapter 8: Wireless Technologies and the Modern Organization (4th edition)

Page 14

Satellite Radio (also called digital radio) A wireless system that offers uninterrupted, near
CD-quality music that is beamed to your radio from satellites.
Satellite Transmission
A wireless transmission system that uses satellites for broadcast

The wireless transmission and receipt of data gathered from remote


Ubiquitous Computing (see Pervasive Computing)

Ultra-wideband (UWB)
A high-bandwidth wireless technology with transmission speeds in
excess of 100 Mbps that can be used for applications such as streaming
multimedia from, say, a personal computer to a television.
Voice Portal

A Web site with an audio interface.


Telecommunications in which electromagnetic waves carry the signal

between communicating devices.

wireless 911

911 emergency calls made with wireless devices.

Wireless Access Point

An antenna connecting a mobile device to a wired local area
Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) A set of standards for wireless local area networks based on the
IEEE 802.11 standard.
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) A computer network in a limited geographical area
that uses wireless transmission for communication.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) Networks of interconnected, battery-powered, wireless
sensors placed in the physical environment.