Current eCommerce is still mainly characterized by the relatively straightforward trading of commodity goods. Nextgeneration efforts in worldwide information infrastructure, especially the Semantic Web and Web Services, contribute some necessary, but not sufficient, steps on the way to much more advanced business scenarios, such as collaborative design over the Internet of sophisticated goods and services. This paper discusses additional steps needed to achieve collaborative eCommerce concerned with real-world services. First, a component-based description of services and what they contain is needed, such that electronic design and production of services can be simplified to a configuration task: ‘serviguration’. Second, a configurable service approach must be linked with a clear conception of customer value over the Internet, such that it is ultimately expressable in computational terms. We discuss associated requirements and generic components, in the form of a service ontology needed to achieve online configurability of real-world services in a Semantic Web environment.
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