Features to End User
In the starting phase of the project it is important to chart the possible features so that the demand analysis can be done as precisely as possible before work is begun on the markup language that describes products and their production process and on the software components.
Below is a preliminary list of features and data to be delivered to the consumer. Each consumer can define to their Consumer Agent what information they wish to browse in an everyday situation and what criteria the Agent checks and compares automatically.
All product analyses done by the system should yield such results that can be automatically compared against each other by the Agent. The agent bases its overall analysis on those precalculated analyses that the consumer has chosen as points of interest.
Information that has to be gathered about products and production processes and analyses and indicators based on the raw data (for all types of products eg. foodstuffs, clothing, household items etc.):
- Comments and scores given by other consumers to this product and its qualities. (In this store -> In this country -> In the whole World) Possibility to compose comments and scores.
- NGO's and consumerist's knowledge on the manufacturer
- Traders (importer, wholesaler etc.)
- Exact locations of manufacture (country -> city -> factory)
- Exact listing of raw materials
- Manufacturers of raw materials
- Locations of raw material manufacturing
- Is a raw material gene manipulated (GM)
- Usage instructions
- Caring instructions
- Recycling or disposal instructions
- Is the product suitable for vegans?
- Ownership relations of the manufacturing chain (Companies participating in production or trading)
Indicators of Environmental Friendliness
- Recyclability analysis of product packaging (packaging material weight per product weight, information on usage of recycled materials and future recyclability of packaging material)
- Analysis of the energy consumption (includes manufacturing and transport)
- Analysis of the material consumption in manufacturing (types and amounts of materials)
- Emissions during production
- Waste generated during production
- Analysis of environmental effects of the product category. Attempts to describe environmental effects common to all products of same category.
- Analysis of environmental effects of the product comparable to other products in same category
- Indicators of ethical aspects and social responsibility
- The ratio of assets of the producer compared to average assets of all known producers of same type of product. (Is the company a small, medium, or huge one?) In Finland information on LLC's assets from the previous fiscal period are publicly available from The Board of Patents and Registry.LINK If you have knowledge of the public availability or inavailability of this information in other coutries, please inform us so we can add it to our knowledge base.
- Is the product or parts of it fairly traded?
- Information about how well or how badly the production chain treats it's employees. This information has quite different meanings in countries of different development stages. For example in Finland the right to and the ability to belong to a trade union can be taken for granted. Also laws exist to ensure equality and work place safety, prohibit discrimination and granted is also the right to have maternal and parental leaves without the fear of losing one's job and so forth. In less developed coutries such laws may not exist or they are not upheld. If this is the case, then examination of these matters should be conducted on a regional or per company level. Due to the radically varying worker's rights situation in different parts of the world it seems impossible to form a unified, comparable indictor.
- Information about massive lay-offs during a profitable fiscal period. (Supposing that the data is available, a numeric, comparable indicator can be calculated. Different formulas for calculating this are being discussed) This is a quite common practise in industrialised economies to boost stock value to yield valueble bonuses and greater stock option gains to the highest management.
- Analysis of ethicality of the product group
- Information about how animals are treated, if the product contains animal based raw materials.
- Automatical price, grading, ecologicality and ethicality comparison to other similar products sold in the same store.
- Personal navigation in the store. The consumer can choose a product from a tree-like menu or enter it's name and the system tells on what row, on which side of the row, on what part of the row and on which shelf the desired product can be found. This feature can have a small effect on employment provided by the store since customers require less service from the store staff.
- Possibility to watch advertisement and informational videos on the product and producer created by the producer, importer or marketer. This requires terminals equipped with color displays and powrful video decoding features, which are projected to hit the mass markets in the first decennium of the 21st century. Big producers can utilize their tv-adverts with minor changes, so that they can be streamed to mobile terminals. Small producers enjoy the benfits of being able to convey marketing materials to consumers in a video-form with extremely low cost. Informational videos could deal with eg. working conditions, treatment of production animals and the enviromental and other principles of the company.
- Multi-language support. Foreigners and travellers can use the system in their own language, which is a big help when doing shopping in a foreign store. Immigrants can have the system function in two languages simultaneously, which makes adapting to their new homeland and language swifter and less troublesome.
- Information on consumption endorsments or boycotts targeted at companies in the production chain, or their owners. The endorsers or boycotters "value weight" is calculated using weightmultipliers. This is necessary in order to filter out non-credible campaigns and campaigns that are started on false grounds, even lies, to undermine the integrity of information offered by the system. The consumer can define these weightmultipliers to the Consumer Agent themselves or use weightmultipliers defined by NGOs. NGOs will be instructed on creating weigtmultipliers in an unified way. When evaluating the weight of an organisation the criteria will include at least the following: General reputation, the quality of their research work, quality of their arguments, number of members and age of the organisation. The weight of the campaign consists of weight of the initiator of the campaign and those organisations that decide to support the campaign.
- Sending feed-back to the producer. (I bought / I didn't buy your product because... arguments prepared by NGOs, opinions for and against. Of course there is the possibility to compose your own text, but it takes time and effort on a mobile telephone. You can give feed-back anonymously or with your e-mail address included.) Delievery method of the feed-back is e-mail or direct transfer to the company's database if this has been arranged.
- Browsing and querying the Company-database
Special group: Food stuffs
- Connection to the Recipe-database (Contains recipies submitted by the producer, consumers and 3rd parties)
- Is the product organic?
- Is the product suitable for vegetarians, vegans, people with allergies, lactose intolerants, muslims, jews, hindus etc.
- Calculation of nutritional value of the product
- Calculation of nutritional value of recepies
- Calculation of material-costs for recepies