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Stephen Moulton

Project with Industry


B.Sc. Computer Science with
Software Engineering
Friday 25th March 2011

I certify that the material contained in this dissertation is my own work and
does not contain unreferenced or unacknowledged material. I also warrant that
the above statement applies to the implementation of the project and all
associated documentation. Regarding the electronically submitted version of
this submitted work, I consent to this being stored electronically and copied for
assessment purposes, including the Departments use of plagiarism detection
systems in order to check the integrity of assessed work. I agree to my
dissertation being placed in the public domain, with my name explicitly
included as the author of the work.
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Final Year Project Proposal


Project with Industry
Stephen Moulton

Abstract
The aim of the project is to design a way of allowing phone users to access MyMall via their
iphone. The application will allow access to AiMY which is an artificial intelligent personal
shopper. The aim of AiMY is to help the user find the exact product they are searching for,
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the application will work via voice recognition and speak back to make the whole experience
simple and effortless. The application is going to connect via a gateway to the AiMY system,
the AiMY is the component which will be doing all of the searching of items and then passing
the results back to the iphone. The proposed outcome of the project is to make online
shopping a more enjoyable experience.

Introduction
The aim of the project is to work with the company MyMall to design and develop an iPhone
application which will give the users a simpler and more improved way of shop online. The
application will complement the companys current system, which is the worlds first virtual
shopping mall located on their website www.mymall.co.uk. The current system existed of a
virtual shopping mall which houses over 1500 stores, in over 30 categories hosting in excess
of over 45 million products [1]. Alongside the virtual mall the system contents an artificial
intelligent personal shopper (AiMY) which filters through all the products to find the exact
result you are after. The application which is going to be developed will connect with the
AiMY system to come up with the exact result which the user searched. The user will be able
to communicate with the AiMY system via voice recognition and speak back. The project has
been split into multiple functionality phases which will allow the company to have a working
system early on in the project but with limited features. One of the larger areas in the project
is the design stage. This is important due to the nature of the project because the application
which is going to be produced will hopefully be going onto the iPhone app store. The design
stage will also have a number of difficulties, these will be deigning a produce which MyMall
feeling is of a high enough quality to use in their company and that the customer will actually
want to use.
Since the release of the first version of the iPhone in the summer of 2007 and the thousands
of applications to go with it, there has only been a limited few aimed at online shopping.
There is currently no application which matches the one proposed within the project. The
most similar is the Amazon application which allows users to shop on the Amazon store.
This report will consisted of a background into iPhone shopping applications as well as
online shopping and the development of voice recognition within the iPhone. In the proposed
project section the solution of the application will be discussed and the multiple phases will
be described. There will be a section describing the program of work which will identify the
main area of the project development. A Gantt chart will be also included in this section to
show the time plan of the project. The resources section is a list of resources which are
needed for the project and there description of use. Finally there is a section for reference
which was used within the report.

Background
Every since there has been the World Wide Web there has been online shopping. In the mid
nineties both online shopping stores Amazon and eBay were founded. E-commerce have been
increasing year on year, with an annual increase of 13% to the online shopping market from
2008 to 2009[2]. It has now become a multi billion pound industry with prediction of,
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By 2011, the typical spend of an online shopper will grow to 1,056 per year with the
clothing and footwear, DIY and gardening, and food and grocery sectors achieving the fastest
growth"[3]
The company MyMall has seen a gap in this market by producing the worlds first virtual
shopping mall and artificial intelligent personal shopper. There are a couple of companies
also trying to break into this market but currently do not have a live working system [4].
With only one third of the shopping online being done by the use of search engines [5] the
market for online store is vast.
With the increase of online devices users are no longer restricted to browsing the Web via a
desktop computer. One device in particular has change the way the Web is use and it is the
smart phones, with iPhone becoming more popular over the years with a 16.1 percent market
share up from 10.9 in 2009[6]. MyMall have decided to reach customer via an application on
the iPhone which will allow them to simplify shopping online with the help of their AiMY
system. The nearest application available in the UK is from Amazon, this allows the user to
search for items within the Amazon store. The application has all the features which the store
provides such as, purchase using 1-click, customer reviews and prime membership benefits.

Figure 1.1 Amazon App for iPhone


Other shopping application on the iPhone are Red Laser which provides the users with a
barcode scanner, the application will inform the user with price checks and customers review
of the scanned product. Another application which is in the category of online shopping is
Ocado which allow the user to search over 18,000 products from Waitroses online store
[7]. With the MyMall iPhone application you will not be just searching one store for the item
but over all of the stores in the AiMY database.
A feature of the proposed MyMall application is to allow user to simply talk to the AiMY
system to search for their items. This would rely on speech recognition (computer speech
recognition or automatic speech recognition) this is where spoken words are converted into
text. In the newest versions of the iPhone user can use the built in voice recognition to either
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dial a contact or select music to play. Apple has not yet released the API for the speech
recognition but it can be done by producing your own algorithms. A number of companies
have developed their own speech recognition software for the iPhone, the biggest being
Nuance who have created Dragon NaturallySpeaking. This application allows the user to
dictate emails, blogs, SMS text messages or any text straight into the iPhone.

Figure 1.2 Voice Recognition App for iPhone


Even with this system the speech recognition is not perfect, within the app there is a feature
which allows you to tap on a word to change it to the word which you want [8]. There is also
research into an open source Toolkit for speech recognition on the iPhone which this is called
CMU Sphinx being performed by a group at Carnegie Mellon University [9].

The proposed project


The aim of the project is to implement an iPhone application to allow the users to access
MyMall. They can access AiMY the artificial intelligent personal shopper. The AiMY system
will help the user find the product and display them via iPhone. The application will also
work via voice recognition and speak back. There is an initial design stage to the project
which incorporates the component design and interface design. The component design will
include all of the known components of the system these are highlighted in figure 1.3. In the
interface design the front for all of the component is designed, this will be necessary to make
allow the user to use the application. After the design stage the project is going to be split into
functional phase as mentioned in the introduction. Next will be a description of each of these
phases and what outcomes are expected from each of them.

Phase one

The first phase will provide the basic functionality of the application. This will be a
connection between the AiMY system and the iPhone, this will be later used for search
requires from the user. For the user to search there has to be an intuitive deign for the
interface, this will provide a way for the search to be entered. Phase one will allow for text
searches only. Within this phase there is going to be a way for the results of the searched
items to be displayed upon the display. This phase should be up to a standard which will
allow the application to be released onto the Iphone app store before Christmas. The
development of these features can be done with the basic iPhone SDK 3.2and resource
libraries provided. The interface will follow the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines.
Phase two

The next phase of the project is to integrate speech recognition and talk back from the
application. This will take shopping online to a new level, it will allow the user to now search
for items without the use of their hands. This would come useful when driving for instance,
with the speech feature implemented the user would simply ask the AiMY system for an item
and the top results would be spoken back to them. This will increase the usability of the
application for non technical users. Due to speech recognition being complex there will by
pre built components used in development. Another reason the pre built component is being
used is because iPhone API does not provided any speech recognition features.
Phase three

The third phase will extend the speak back feature from phase two, the feature will provide
an animated person to represent a human on the speak back. This will give the user a sense of
interaction with the application. When using the Cocoa API which is one of the Mac pacific
object-orienting program environment and the xCode IDE, animation can be produced of a
high standard. At the end of this phase the project aim will have been completed. Any
features which are implanted after this are additional and only going to be attempted if the
project is ahead of schedule.
Phase four

The fourth phase which is seen as additional functionality for the project is a feature to allow
translation of the speech recognition. This will mean the application would be able to be used
by multiple languages. This would look to change the speech recognition component of the
application. Another additional feature which could be implanted into the application is to
allow the user to pre-pay for items via the iphone. For this feature the application would have
to implement a secure way of allow credit card details to be entered and transferred to shops
accordingly.

Figure 1.3 Overview of system architecture

Programme of work
The project as a whole is split into a number of main stages which much be finished for the
project to be a success.
1)

Research the development environments This is the first think which


must be done, this involves learning the basics of the objective-c language
and the IDE related to it. Also research into the speech recognition
components which will be used.

2)

Software design Design the fundamental components of the application


along with the graphical user interface, this stage will be done by working
along MyMall to come up with a produce which they are after.

3)

Software implementation Code the designs and integrate all of the


components into a finished product.

4)

Testing software In this part of the project the testing of all the software
will be done, this will contain the component testing and user testing. The
testing is to ensure there are no bugs in the application before release.

5)

Final report The aim of the final report is to highlight all of the successes
of the project and any of the down falls. The final report will state what the
overall outcomes of the project were.

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Figure 1.4 Gantt chart for project time plan

Reference
[1] http://www.mymall.co.uk/about.htm - Accessed 27/05/10 18:33
[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7946754.stm - Accessed 27/05/10 18:35
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6690397.stm - Accessed 27/05/10 18:40
[4] http://www.trillenium.com/en and http://virtualeshopping.com/
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_shopping#cite_note-cnnmoney-21 (Under
trends section) - Accessed 27/05/10 18:59
[6] http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/apple-iphone-smartphone-market-sharesurges-rim-slips/34181 - Accessed 27/05/10- 19:30
[7] http://www.t3.com/feature/top-10-best-shopping-iphone-apps - Accessed
27/05/10- 19:45
[8] http://www.labnol.org/software/iphone-voice-recognition-software/11518/ Accessed 27/05/10- 20:07
[9] http://cmusphinx.sourceforge.net/ - Accessed 27/05/10- 20:40

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