It is no longer breaking news to say that the US and the European Union (EU) are turning from product-based to service economies. The trend of the increasing importance of the service sector has only been accentuated by the recent (and perhaps still ongoing) subprime mortgage and financial system meltdowns, volatile stock markets, declining durable (hard) goods orders
allow scheduling of both sales staff and customer appointments and availability
should be available to allow notifying the customer on a narrower time interval for the technician''s arrival time, e.g., if the service provider knows for sure that the customer is, say, third in the route of the technician. As the day develops, better predictions can be made using information from the mobile device of the technician or his/her location via a GPS navigation device . In his 2007 guest article in Field Technologies Online entitled “The Age of Real-Time Service Enterprise,” Dr.