Research Agenda & Beyond

The 'any2any' concept grew out of research in electronic platforms, or ePlatform. ePlatforms are Web-based Net-enabled electronic environment where participants gathered to conduct, in our early discussion, eBusiness. We were concerned about the one-to-one label was not enough to convey our intended business model. Many-to-many would be ok yet it conveys a notion that the 'many' are known or part of a community or group. That is not it. The any-to-any term came up and it stuck. Yet, it is not crystalizedly clear of what it is. MySpace or Facebook is not any-to-any as they are all 'friends.' Twitter is that you are tweeted only if you follow. In a business environment, we want to collaborate (be it procurement or be it a supplier) on the basis if the partnership makes sense, that is, business sense. We give the definition next.

The nature of research of Any2Any Technologies, Inc. will be trueful to the main theme of any-2-any, or any2any.

Definition. Any-2-Any


Of relationship realized between 2 or more parties, of not necessary fore-knowledge of each others; in an electronic environment, the relationship bears the trust nature of connectivity, interactivity, interoperability and integrability.

 

[February 2005]

The research agenda is now detailed with respect to an ePlatform as shown in the figure below.

Research Topics

We will discuss each of the topics in details. Just click on each of the topics in the diagram above. We will expand the discussion on each of the topics gradually.

Background


The applicability of the any2any concept covers, in our opinion, many industries and individual disciplines. We term these collectively as subjects or subject matters. There are three areas that we are quite interested in, namely, the hospitality industry, the logistics industry, and the education community - mathematics as a start. We briefly describe the last two next. Our main focus is the supply chain industry.

Logistics Industry and Supply Chain Industry

Collaborative multi-modal logistcs services are not uncommon in the logistics required by global trade. Coordination and Cooperation among these services are often managed by an experienced forwarder, or a 4th party (4PL) entity. A 4PL service provider leverages the knowledge of 3rd party logistics (3PL) services providers, single-mode transport handlers, customs, regulatory agents and inspection agents to effect the logistics requirements crossing company and country boundaries. We envision such entity could exist in the electronic environment as an e-Platform, or a 4th party logistics e-Plaform, where e-logistics services are managed. This e-Platform must be able to support:

  • the on-demand formation of e-logistics integrator based on ad hoc collaborative logistics services - all information flow effecting collaboration is online, Web-based and Internet-enabled, and,
  • the validating and verifiable tracking, and end-to-end entity-based tracing of physical and finance flow.

Mathematics Education

This research addresses the need for a comprehensive Web-based environment where mathematics education can be enhanced. Mathematics education has felt the advent of information technology, especially the Web technology for dissemination and sharing of information in a group learning environment. The synergy between mathematics and technology is well documented, with both pros and cons. In here, we take on the view that the synergy is positive and can be non-disruptive as far as the introduction of technology into mathematics teaching, learning, exploring and assessment. Yet, there are barriers identified clearly since the manipulation of mathematics was not paramount in the continued development of the Web. Much of the energy is geared towards the business world. In here, we details the basic requirements to achieve author-once-learn-anywhere (AOLA) delivery for mathematics education. The e-Learning framework will be developed to guide the development of a cyber mathematics community (CMC) where AOLA can be benefited by teachers all over the world. Thus, in this report, we have three major parts:
  1. AOLA in Mathematics Education – Traditional mathematics education commonly deliver lessons in paper and pencils, each example has to be constructed and experimenting with examples by students is restricted and slow. The capability for teachers to author a lesson activity that can be used anywhere yet provided the learning aspects for students would be desirable. In this part, we will provide the background what AOLA can offer and what is required to reach that particular stage and the technical barriers exist and innovation needed.
  2. The Technology Landscape for AOLA – In this part, a survey on current and emerging technologies will be provided, based on the needs of an AOLA e-Learning Framework.
  3. The Cyber Environment for AOLA – The third installment will conclude the necessary and sufficient environment for mathematics educators to rip the benefits identified in the framework. This is due to the fact that we can harness the power of the Internet to enhance the learning process in mathematics education, creating a new dimension in the learning process that we have to deal with.

A Bit of History

This new word 'any2any' has been surfacing on the Web. We are not able to provide a timeline at this time. We will list them out as they appear below (from a perspective on July 2004; a Google search of 'any2any' on July 18, 2011).

  • www.quickstone.com, a company that develops "software for Wireless, Embedded & Distributed Systems, uses the any2any term in the product JCSP. This is a company based in United Kingdom, with some kind of association with the University of Kent, that began in 1999 (based on the copyright statement). Their technology is based on a 'formal mathematical model of computing' call CSP. In the description of JCSP, 'channel' creation is categorized as one2one, any2one, one2any and any2any.

    The enabling technology deals with (computer) process level communication, not at business level of communication. CSP (Communicating Sequential Process) is a classical concept by C.A.R. Hoare (CACM 21-8, Aug 1978, 666-677).

  • Another reference to 'any2any' was in a presentation in 2002 about the misplaced passion of the Web, and among other issues, that firewalls achieved only of compartmentalizing trust relationships (inside company and the outside world) but not "end-to-end any-to-any trust relationships across boundaries." Yet, it was concluded that 'any2any trust models will emerge." In this IBM-related presentation, the push is towards e-Business on demand with grip computing - the OGSA (Open Grid Services Architecture) - an article written in Augus 2003, and update October 2003, "A Visual Tour of Open Grid Services Architecture" can be viewed at http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/grid/library/gr-visual/ (broken link) or here. OGSA is under the corresponding working group in Global Grid Forum.

  • There are other minor, not relevant to our discussion here, references to the term any2any. For example, the 'any2any utilities' that link up Windows and X-Windows (see www.brianweb.net/any2any/).

Interesting enough, based on the Google search (over 4,000,000 pages!), here are some highlights of the use of the term 'any2any', not in any particular order:

  • Based on the presentation of Peter PijPelink Presentation Slides titled "Any 2 Any concept", the term any2any was used to describe IBM's TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager) capabilities?
  • An 'Any2Any' Windows software solution (Any2any 0.1) to allow a user to use a mouse and a keyboard for multiple computers.
  • Bump into the website http://hqindex.net/
  • ...

Technology Focus

The following discussion was about 3 years old. Some are still valid while there are trends out there that required inclusion. We will come back to here later. [January 25, 2009; updated on July 17, 2011]

Technology that is vital for our technical consideratio. It is not meant to be exclusive. It is just what we can handle and are accustomed to in our career path. We have the followin findings:

  • Java

    The technology focus on Java is a simple choice of availability and manageability. Further to that is the reason that our company strategy targets enterprise mobility. The Java EE and Java ME platform seems, given what we do not know much about other available platforms such as the .NET framework, to fit our development needs. The enabling technology behind our development thus relies heavily on Java technology, with other supporting technoologies such as Perl, HTML, Javascript, MySQL (acquired by Sun Microsystems news which in turn acquired by Oracle on 27 January 2010 news), and ASP.

  • XML

    XML technology has proliferated into many technology innovations and adopted in many industries. The core technology such as XSLT, Xlink, and XSchema remains key to different applicationsd. We focus on enterprise applications that are mobility-aware no doubt requires interoperability within enterprise's individual applications, across companies and industries. XML provides the baseline for information exchange - a syntactic definition familiar to common HTML junkies, and to SGML old timers. Its extensibility attracts creativity that no existing information standards can compete with. We believe we would need to define a number of ontologies to complete the research picture, e.g., hotspot ontology and (privacy & security) entitlement ontology.

  • Mobility (was titled Wireless Communication)

    The inherent need of any2any communication cannot exclude the ability of any participant to effect a communication channel anytime anywhere.

    Communication with wireless technologies is becoming an important element in business management. As e-Business is taking hold in the business communities, management on demand at anywhere anytime is a necessity more than just as a added convenience. In here, we view wireless communication in terms of these anylinks (new word): person-to-person (or peer-to-peer), person-to-machine and machine-to-person, and machine-to-machine. For machine-to-machine, WLAN will be the main focus, of it development rather than applications development. For other three anylinks, we will concentrate on the communication via the mobile network, with possible WLANs behind to further enhance the delivery of information to machines, and vice versa.

In sum, you will find how these technologies fit into our development of any2any applications. As for the ePlatform infrastructure, we are considering the discussion on cyberinfrastructure cyber infrastructure. Recent developments point to the use of Ajax in the ePlatform implementation will be weighted heavily. The choice of JMS versus polling via Ajax remains unresolved at this writing (january 26, 2009).

 

Work-in-progress papers