DeviceDescriptionEcosystemCosts

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This is the Costs section of the Device Description Ecosystem document. See the DeviceDescriptionEcosystem overview.

Costs

There are costs associated with the provision, maintenance and use of information. This section summarizes the following:

  • costs borne by the actors in the device description ecosystem,
  • costs associated with the operation of the Device Description repository, and
  • measures taken to reduce costs.

Manufacturers

As the prime determinants of the device features, the manufacturer is an authoritative source of device descriptions.

Compiling profiles

To be useful to the developer community, a device profile must contain all of the key device properties and be correctly formatted. The properties represented in the profile come from different contributors to the manufacturing process. * Creating such a composite profile involves coordination with these suppliers, which adds to the business management overheads. The data from the component suppliers may be in alternative formats, which will need to be translated to the common profile format. This adds to the complexity of the profile creation process, especially with respect to data validation.

Validating and verifying profiles

* Many profiles are constructed together manually, which can introduce formatting or transcription errors. Profiles are intended to be machine readable and therefore need to be validated to ensure that they adhere to a standard format. Errors identified during validation then need to be corrected. There are only a few consumers of profile data, and these tend to identify errors through their own validation processes, which means the original suppliers of the profile may not be alerted to the original errors.

* Validation is distinct from verification. In the former, the requirement is to ensure the well-formedness of the data, while the requirement for the latter is to ensure that the data correctly represents reality. Validation is a process that can be automated, and therefore the cost of validation can be reduced. Verification often requires human intervention because it deals with the relationship between a representation of reality, and reality itself. Verification is therefore more costly.

Advertizing profiles

* Suppliers of profiles need to inform the intended audience of the existence of the profiles. In the case of UAProf, the location of the profiles is given by a URL, which generally points to the manufacturer's Web site. This means that the maintenance of the profiles must form part of the Web site management process. This management function may also include the creation of summaries, or the depositing of profiles into central archives, such as that maintained by the OMA.

Cost reduction

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Authors

¤ This section deals with the costs associated with authoring of content.

Awareness and Discovery

* Authors who use device descriptions incur a cost for searching for new descriptions or sources of descriptions, and discovering how this information may be used. The benefit to the author is higher quality content. For such authors, they may equally consider the cost of not being aware of device descriptions, and therefore they prefer to incur a lesser cost to be able to discover updates (e.g. a subscription service) or make regular checks on available sources (e.g. updated open-source material).

Tooling

* Tool vendors have identified the advantage of have client-sensitive features in their tools. This includes content previewers and device emulators, and some adaptive technologies. These tools must be delivered with built-in device knowledge, or have some way to obtain updates as new devices are released. This represents a cost to the tool vendor, which is typically passed on to the customer (the content authors and service providers).

Barrier to entry in absence of descriptions

¤ Suggest this section be removed.

Cost reduction

¤ Suggest this section be removed.

Repository costs

The provision of a Device Description repository necessitates the provision of a physical infrastructure and operational overheads. For example, the repository will require storage, backup, processing and communication facilities.