Home shopping

Home shopping

Conventional Shopping in Malaysia

Shopping is an activities that cannot be avoid from every Malaysian in nowadays society. Every weekend or public holiday, we will go shopping with family or friends. So, we noticed that shopping is already become a necessary event in our life. Since we do shopping frequently, don�t we feel that always shopping become tedious and may just give us tons of problem when we forgot to do so? In fact, this type of problems do arise in Malaysia society. Problems encountered in current situation listed as follow:

 Crowded Situation in Shopping Complex

Usually, people will go shopping when they are free, like weekend, public holiday, etc. So, there will be a lot of people go shopping together just when they are free. For example, there is a shopping complex nearby several housing estates. Then, people staying in those housing estates will visit the shopping complex regularly, and most of the time they will only visit on Sunday or public holiday. Since everyone go shopping at the same time, the shopping complex will become very crowded and people will feel very uncomfortable when walking in such situation, the followings are some situation that occurs:

In crowded environment, queuing is an usual scene. We can easily found long queue either in front of the cashier counters, food stalls or even in car park.

 Time Consuming

Sometimes it is very wasting time by just walking around without any purpose. Just like people walking around and don�t know what he/she is planning to buy. Besides, when a person is looking for a particular thing and the thing is located in several floors from where he/she are, then he/she will need to travel from down to up in order to get what he/she wants. This is also kind of wasting time by walking up and down. And people will feel frustrated when just came down from upstairs and found something left up there and have to go up to get it again. All this problem will happen in conventional shopping.

 Limited and Pre-determine Time

Nowadays, none of the shopping complex is open 24-hours a day, except 7-Eleven. So, this may caused some inconvenient for people when they need something and unable to get it because the shop is already closed. Sometimes, people may also feel unhappy because the shop is closing while they still have lots of thing not yet buy.

 Lack of Variety of Goods

When people purchase any single item also, they would like to purchase only the best one. So, they would like to choose among all the brand and to get the best they want. But, in conventional shopping, this is hard to achieve because usually they seldom provide a wide variety of choices for a particular product, instead, they just display few choices.

Current Electronic Shopping Development in Malaysia

When the very first time electronics shopping introduced in Malaysia, it was supposed to get rid of all the problems faced by the conventional way of shopping. But, currently the development of electronics shopping seem like not very popular in our country. Secondly, no much people involved themselves in this field, especially the consumer. They are the one supposed to involve in this field as much as possible, but things happened the other way round.

Since consumer seldom involve in electronics shopping, the development of this field is also stopped because of the situation. The following will contains some important issues about current electronics shopping development in Malaysia:

 Security Issues

Security Services - These services provide secure identification and secure communication over the Internet. Many tools for these purposes are available commercially including Netscape Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Microsoft CryptoAPI. NCB�s Infrastructure for Electronic Identification (IEI) initiative provides secure communication and secure identification using digital certificates and digital signatures. The first digital certification authority for IEI, Netrust Pte Ltd, enables parties to verify the identity of individuals and organisations over an electronic network.

In Malaysia, electronics shopping is not very popular mainly because of the security issues. Currently, most of the online shopping organisation implement Secure Socket Layer(SSL) to protect they web site when promoting their products and processing business transactions. SSL is used by major organisation because, SSL has gained a reputation for providing a basic level of security for people eager to conduct business over the Web. However, SSL still has one major weakness - it lacks the capability to authenticate the user.Again, SSL has not yet introduce to the public through a proper medium.

So, some may feel SSL is not good enough and their only trust on the other technology which is Secure Electronics Transaction(SET). One advantage SET has over SSL is the additional of the digital certificates, which are issued by independent parties known as Certification Authorities (CA).

Since there are so many different techniques to get secure transactions in the web and there are lack of a standard to follow by organisations. So, people may feel uncomfortable when they want to involved in this electronics shopping field.

 Internet Connection Issues

There are several company in Malaysia providing the public with internet services, either as home users or business organisations. But, problem is the connection speed provided by them is not very good due to some reasons, like

Poor Cabling
By using the old RJ11-Unshielded Twisted Pair(UTP) phone cable to get connected between a modem and the Public Switch Telephone Network(PSTN), the maximum speed can be reach is only 56kbps(V.90 or K56Flex standard). But usually, user can only connected at the speed below 56kbps and the connection is not stable because of noise and distortion. This is mainly caused by the �unshielded� cable used to transferring data.
Slow & Non-stable Connection
Result of poor cabling, connection established are usually slow and easily disconnected from the server. On the other hand, the connection established also may get into idle mode for a long period and get active then. Sometimes, it may not become active until reconnect again.

High Error Rates
Besides the connection is poor, the transferring of data is also not good. During the transferring process, the data easily to manipulate to other manner. Hence, the information transfer over to the network may encounter error due to this reason.

Future/Ideal Electronic Shopping

In future, we are looking foward to have a better environment that assist the development of home electronics shopping in our country. In order to achieve this, the gorvernment as well as public and private sectors should co-operate one another in various fields, especially those networking issues which is currently not very good yet. The following will contain some issues that to be taken care to hit our target � Ideal Electronics Shopping.

 Implements SET to improve Internet Security

Hackers getting smarter and smarter in nowadays cyber society, we must coming out with some new technology to prevent their hacking activities to spread over the network. As stated above, Secure Socket Layer(SSL) is widely used by major online commercial company to protect the web site. But, we know that SSL is not a good application. In fact, it doesn�t protect the information of buyer totally but just encrypt their information to prevent interception and retreving of data.

Hence, to actually improve internet security, a new technology was introduced which is Secure Electronics Transaction(SET). SET is the emerging open standard for secure credit card payments over the Internet, adopted by major banks and financial processors around the world. So, SET is easily supported by any industry and also widely recognised around the world. Besides, SET is the only Internet electronic commerce standard that is designed to deliver multi-vendor interoperability.

With so many benefits of using SET, we should go ahead to implement it in order to improve our internet security.

 Data Encryption for Online Transactions

Often there has been a need to protect information from 'prying eyes'. In the electronic age, information that could otherwise benefit or educate a group or individual can also be used against such groups or individuals. Industrial espionage among highly competitive businesses often requires that extensive security measures be put into place. And, those who wish to exercise their personal freedom, outside of the oppressive nature of governments, may also wish to encrypt certain information to avoid suffering the penalties of going against the wishes of those who attempt to control.

Methods of Encrypting Data
Traditionally, several methods can be used to encrypt data streams, all of which can easily be implemented through software, but not so easily decrypted when either the original or its encrypted data stream are unavailable. (When both source and encrypted data are available, code-breaking becomes much simpler, though it is not necessarily easy). The best encryption methods have little effect on system performance, and may contain other benefits (such as data compression) built in. The well-known 'PKZIP�' utility offers both compression AND data encryption in this manner. Also DBMS packages have often included some kind of encryption scheme so that a standard 'file copy' cannot be used to read sensitive information that might otherwise require some kind of password to access. They also need 'high performance' methods to encode and decode the data.

Fortunately, the simplest of all of the methods, the 'translation table', meets this need very well. Each 'chunk' of data (usually 1 byte) is used as an offset within a 'translation table', and the resulting 'translated' value from within the table is then written into the output stream. The encryption and decryption programs would each use a table that translates to and from the encrypted data. In fact, the 80x86 CPU's even have an instruction 'XLAT' that lends itself to this purpose at the hardware level. While this method is very simple and fast, the down side is that once the translation table is known, the code is broken. Further, such a method is relatively straightforward for code breakers to decipher - such code methods have been used for years, even before the advent of the computer. Still, for general "unreadability" of encoded data, without adverse effects on performance, the 'translation table' method lends itself well.

A modification to the 'translation table' uses 2 or more tables, based on the position of the bytes within the data stream, or on the data stream itself. Decoding becomes more complex, since you have to reverse the same process reliably. But, by the use of more than one translation table, especially when implemented in a 'pseudo-random' order, this adaptation makes code breaking relatively difficult. An example of this method might use translation table 'A' on all of the 'even' bytes, and translation table 'B' on all of the 'odd' bytes. Unless a potential code breaker knows that there are exactly 2 tables, even with both source and encrypted data available the deciphering process is relatively difficult.

Similar to using a translation table, 'data repositioning' lends itself to use by a computer, but takes considerably more time to accomplish. A buffer of data is read from the input, then the order of the bytes (or other 'chunk' size) is rearranged, and written 'out of order'. The decryption program then reads this back in, and puts them back 'in order'. Often such a method is best used in combination with one or more of the other encryption methods mentioned here, making it even more difficult for code breakers to determine how to decipher your encrypted data. As an example, consider an anagram. The letters are all there, but the order has been changed. Some anagrams are easier than others to decipher, but a well written anagram is a brain teaser nonetheless, especially if it's intentionally misleading.

Because of the need to ensure that only those eyes intended to view sensitive information can ever see this information, and to ensure that the information arrives un-altered, security systems have often been employed in computer systems for governments, corporations, and even individuals. Encryption schemes can be broken, but making them as hard as possible to break is the job of a good cipher designer. All you can really do is make it very difficult for the code breaker to decipher your cipher. Still, as long as both source and encrypted data are available, it will always be possible to break your code. It just won't necessarily be easy.
 Implements better cable to overcome connection problems

Human hate waiting, especially waiting for web pages to load or waiting for their electronics transactions to be processed. So, a slow connection will make users fed up because of spend most of the time to wait for their thing done. From the previous title, we know that currently in our country, we lack of a good quality connection. All we have is just the old RJ11 twisted pair cable which is our telephone cable. This is not a good solution or method to provide residents with high quality connection. We need to upgrade our cable in order to achieve better connection.

By implementing �Fiber Optics� cable, we will be able to improve our connection in the sense of transmission error, connection speed as well as stability of connection. But, we know Fiber Optics is not a cheap medium, so, it is quite difficult for the ISPs to provide the whole country with Fiber Optics connection. So, we may probably hoping for a �second-class� cabling instead of Fiber Optics. No matter what kind of cable used, just to ensure that the various connection problems has been overcome. And the most important issue is the connection speed is faster.

 Implements SMART card for electronics transactions

The first main advantage of smart cards is their flexibility. There is no need, for example, to carry several cards: one card can simultaneously be an ID, a credit card, a stored-value cash card, and a repository of personal information such as telephone numbers or medical history. Such a card can be easily replaced if lost, and, because a PIN number (or other form of security) must be used to access information, is totally useless to people other than its legal bearer. At the first attempt to use it illegally, the card would be deactivated by the card reader itself.

The second main advantage is security. Smart cards can be electronic key rings, giving the bearer ability to access information and physical places without need for online connections. They are encryption devices, so that the user can encrypt and decrypt information without relying on unknown, and therefore potentially untrustworthy, appliances such as ATMs. Smart cards are very flexible in providing authentication at different level of the bearer and the counterpart. Finally, with the information about the user that smart cards can provide to the other parties, they are useful devices for customizing products and services.

Smart Cards and Electronic Commerce Smart cards are turning out to be a fundamental piece of the transformation of retailing into electronic commerce. The impressive growth of the Internet is making electronic shopping at least a real possibility, if not a habit, among computer users. However, the business model used in current electronic commerce applications still cannot enjoy the full potential of the electronic medium. Moreover, concerns about the reliability of an invisible counterpart and about the safety of the Internet for credit card information increase the wariness and thereby limit the use of the electronic shopping on the part of customers. Of the estimated 360 billion payments that took place in the United States in 1995, approximately 300 billion could not have taken place using the existing electronic media. Such transactions involved micro-payments, i.e. payments for less than $10 which are virtually outside of the electronic arena for lack of a payment method compatible with such low amounts. Credit cards or checks are simply too expensive to use for micro-payments, and the e-cash currently being experimented on the World Wide Web does not seem to have the characteristics to appeal to shoppers.

For this reason, smart cards could be a fundamental building block of widespread use of electronic commerce, since they are an instrument to pay at a low cost for transactions involving small amounts of money. Another big advantage of smart cards for electronic commerce is their use for the customization of services. It is already possible to purchase tailored services on the World Wide Web. MyYahoo and FireFly are well known examples. However, in order for the service supplier to deliver the customized service, the user has to provide each supplier with her profile, a boring and time consuming activiy.

The Needs for Improvements to be made on current Electronic Shopping Development

We have discuss several improvements that should be apply to our current electronic shopping development. Why we need these? What is the benefits of bringing in all these high technology to our country? All this questions has been asked by the public as well as those professionals. Of course, everything that proposed it is definitely comes with their own benefits. Let us analyze this issue in details.

In the field of information technology, technology changes very fast. From the networking point of view, those old technology like poor cabling, lousy security and etc should not continue exist in the new era. So, we should bring in some new technology in order to serve our customer better. By bringing in new products like fiber optics, digital subscriber line(DSL) and etc. will improve the various fields of online transactions. For example, fiber optics use light beam to transfer data which is much more faster than a twisted pair or even coaxial cable. This is clearly show that we need to catch up the technology and keep ourselves updated.

Electronics Shopping as a replacement for Conventional Shopping

Human are lazy, they always like easy job. In the future, we are definitely looking forward to have a more convenient way to purchase our daily stuffs. So, conventional shopping method will slowly obsolete when electronics shopping become popular. As time go on, technology changes very fast. Network development especially internet will become very popular until everyone knows it and use it. Hence, electronics shopping as replacement for conventional shopping is a fact that will arrive to our society sooner or later.