I. Definition and Description of the Technology
Mobile solutions refer to the online services that are made available to users while they are on the go. Mobile solutions technology has not only traversed geographical boundaries but has also accessed various domains. Providers of the technology continue to provide services in many different countries through by making use of the many developments in mobile technology. Today, this technology continues to give services in tune to today’s urban mobility needs.
The first component is wireless data networks. This refers to an electronic communications process that allows the orderly transmitting and receiving of data through the use of a wireless network of computers. The next component is wireless data modems. These are devices that allow computers to connect to a wireless local area network (WLAN) without wires or cabling for transmitting and receiving data. 2 Devices need this in order to connect to networks. The third component is mobile computers. These are devices that are wireless ready. These can be easily connected to wireless modems and run wireless enabled applications. These include laptops and notebook computers, handheld computers, palm-sized computers and many more. Next is wireless middleware. Middleware is defined as software that connects different parts of an application or a series of applications. The last component is wireless-enabled applications. These refer to programs and other software that can be readily used once connected to a network.
Functionality and General Uses
There are many mobile solutions providers all over the world. Each provider strives to set itself apart from the other providers by boosting its competitive advantage through differentiation, lower costs and the formation of alliances with leading companies.
Mobile solutions providers have an array of services. Some providers focus purely on payment solutions. Some providers offer an electronic wallet feature that allows businesses to make or accept payments, accept international and local credit card payments and industry specific payments using only their mobile phone. There are also providers that offer online hotel reservations with a deposit, ticketing solutions for events and events organizers, mobile banking and other electronic payment services.
Some providers offer mobile solutions for personal use. Some make use of services such as information alerts and notifications, travel updates, news alerts, sports updates and horoscopes. Other mobile solutions providers have brought the chat services to a whole new level through personal chat, dating and personal consultations. Some providers generate great profit by providing entertainment to their clients through quizzes and games, jokes and cartoons, videos with the use of mobile phones with 3G.
Some providers focus on mobile solutions for providing corporate or business use through file storage, file sharing and mobile e-mailing system. Some companies involved in direct selling also make use of short message service or SMS to allow their customers to check availability of stocks, updates on products, check distribution address and other details for their business. The most common use of mobile solutions technology today is for direct marketing. Companies are able to utilize mobile solutions for their promos and contests and brand advertisements. They are able to advertise their products and services through SMS. Because of the popularity of SMS all over the globe, most companies make use of this as their medium in their promotions.
II. Providers of the Technology
According to one source, at the start of the 21st century wireless mobile industry is witnessing extraordinary growth filled by an information explosion and a technology revolution. In the mobile network, the trend is to move from traditional circuit-switched systems to packet-switched programmable networks that integrate both voice and packet services. According to the source, wireless mobile communication is expected to revolutionize the services that can be provided to consumers in the right place and at the right time. And these services are provided by what we call “mobile solutions”. Listed below are some of the providers and users of the mobile solution.
1) Arimaan Global Consulting
The technology services offered by Airmaan Global Consulting provide technology solutions for wide range of business industries. The efficiency of business functions of the organization are improved by Arimaan’s secure and reliable mobile solution. Their wireless solution offer seamless and inexpensive entry to business critical information and makes the access to information a reality anywhere and anytime. Their mobile commerce service enables the clients to perform business and work with suppliers through mobile devices. Their expertise and method in the mobile technology provides them competitive advantage through improved service quality, enhanced connectivity and low operations cost. They provide complete end-end mobile solutions for wide range of business or commerce. The mobile solution they offer helps in gathering business critical information through changing the business process to be more flexible and faster. They also have high quality solution for them to be able to deliver extraordinary consumer service. Because of their expertise in mobile technology, they deliver reliable results and reduce risks. Their service also improves employee effectiveness and performance. Airmaan Global Consulting offers 5 kinds of mobile solution. They have Mobile Sales Force Automation, Mobile Knowledge Management Solution, Mobile Healthcare Solution, Mobile Banking Solution and Mobile Commerce Solution. (http://www.arimaan.com/technology/mobiletechnology.html)
2 ) Telecordia
"Even as the wireless industry continues to grow and advance faster than anyone expected, some things haven't changed, particularly service providers' need to develop and deploy innovative, market-differentiating services that create new revenue opportunities. Service providers worldwide recognize Telcordia as the premier source of the innovation, experience, technical and industry reach needed to transform their businesses." said Bill Wanke, president, Service Delivery Solutions, Telcordia. Telcordia's Service Delivery Solutions enable service providers to expand their service capacities and provide customers with new value added services that can expand revenues and customer share. Telecordia includes flexible online charging and policy control solution that offers competitive differentiation, rapid time-to-market for service providers when organizing mobile, converged and interactive services. Their hosted solutions are designed to help a new breed of innovative companies widen their brands and services into the mobile industry through the MVNO model. This provides them new revenue opportunities without the costs associated with building and managing a complex mobile network infrastructure. (http://www.telcordia.com/news_events/pressreleases/2008/03312008.html)
3 ) Chikka
Chika Asia Inc., a leading provider of enhanced mobile messaging services to mobile carriers around the world, has a mission to bring together wired and wireless communities separated by differences in information and communications platforms and by geographical boundaries, into one community. Its catalogue of products represents milestones in mobile application development. Their applications and systems are basically designed and tested in some of the world's most known competitive mobile markets and many of them are groundbreaking hence making their applications universal in terms of utility. Chikka’s mobile solution and products are subdivided into 5 groups. First they have the Communications group which includes the Chikka Messenger and the SMS Collect and TxtBack applications. They also have the Communities division which includes Mobile Auctions and Classifieds, Mobile Matchmaking, Personals and Anonymous Chat, Interactive TV and Mobile Alerts. Next they also have the Commerce section which encompasses Airtime Transfer and Mobile Payments. Their fourth section is the Content group which includes Short Message Service, Multimedia Message Service and Voice-Based Value-Added Service applications. Lastly they have the Corporate Solutions section which includes the applications Mobile Messaging Systems and Mobile Newsletter and Hotlines. These are the mobile solutions and products provided by Chikka in order to enhance mobile messaging services around the world. (http://corporate.chikka.com/solutions.html)
4 ) GoldCare
GoldCare offers many mobile solutions that efficiently and accurately provide care from the client’s home or the point-of-care. It provides access to up-to-date information that allows complete assessments, measure care progress, maintain client records, and more, from remote sites and “on the road”. Their services include Telephony, Mobile PDA, Care Anywhere, Enterprise Web Services Manager, and Mapping. Telephony, an automated time entry system, alerts the planning staff of completed or incomplete appointments. This system increases the accuracy of client billing and employee payroll. Mobile PDA, a secure, web-enabled application for your PDA or smart-phone, remotely access schedules and client files. It allows data to be synchronized wirelessly or by cradle connection. Care Anywhere uses laptop or tablet that allows the entry of information and it conducts assessments from client sites and synchronize data with the GoldCare server. Care Anywhere ensures the use of latest client information because updates are automatically pushed to the laptop or tablet. Next, through Enterprise Web Services Manager providers, staffs and service partners can access GoldCare online and review and update information that’s relevant. They no longer need to request or submit information through paper and patiently wait for it to arrive and be received. In this application, information is readily available which saves time and billing process and eliminates double data entry. Lastly, Mapping utilizes the Google™ Maps to display service locations, unfilled appointments etc. It makes the most of the employee’s available time, minimize travel time/costs and improve the assignment of employees to client visits. (http://www.mygoldcare.com/goldcare/ltc-nursing-add-in-software.asp)
5 ) Sybase
Sybase has been a leader in developing and expanding innovative database technology. They are able to manage information and deliver unsurpassed levels of data reliability and security. Sybase leads the industry in mobilize information. According to Sybase, “Mobility has come of age. To survive and thrive in today’s competitive business environment, companies must have the ability to move business information quickly and securely between the back office and the front lines.” Because of this growing demand, it creates new challenges for enterprises. Sybase’s featured products enable them to cope up with the growing demand for mobility. Some of the featured products of Sybase are Sybase Unwired Platform, Afaria Mobile Management and Security Software and iAnywhere Mobile Office.It integrates with standard development environments for quick development, deployment across heterogeneous devices and market-leading device management for it to be able to handle all mobile application requirements. Next is Afaria Mobile Management and Security Software which offers comprehensive management and security capabilities that ensures security, reliability and up-to-date data and devices. This leads to increased user adoption and productivity. Next is the iAnywhere Mobile Office provides a flexible and powerful solution that extends email and business processes to mobile workers. Its key features are letting users take action on time-sensitive business processes, such as approving purchase orders or submitting reports. (http://www.sybase.com/products/mobileenterprise)
Presented above are just some of the providers of mobile solution and the different applications or features they offer. There was a small summary or description of what these unique features do and how they provide services in the mobile industry. Generally, these mobile solution companies are associated with the business industry that mostly uses mobile solution. Essentially these mobile solutions are used to expand, extend and widen their businesses, broaden their networks and most especially generate more revenues or income. In essence mobile solutions are of great help to the business industry because it is more convenient and easier to for using it reduces time, energy and most especially money.
III. Users of the Technology
1 ) ABS-CBN
ABS-CBN Interactive (ABSi), a subsidiary of the largest integrated media and entertainment company in the Philippines, offers users in cross-selling value-added mobile services. They wanted to increase their revenues from higher response rates on its marketing. Working with dB Wizards, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Business Intelligence, ABSi organized a data warehouse running on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and a recommendation system running on the beta edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2005. As a result they offer more accurate and personalized services to customers, and a doubling the response rates of marketing. They offer mobile phone users in the Philippines different customized ringing tones, wireless games, celebrity journals, picture messages, interactive television promotions and Short Message Service (SMS) chats. With this ABSi is able to stay in touch with its users and providing them with the most relevant experience possible. This wireless carrier can send users a number of messages weekly offering new ring tones and other value-added services. Their main objective is to increase revenue through maximizing the rate of response and making best of use of its allotted text messages by making the offerings to the users frequently. Users now get accurate and up-to-date reports and gathers information in minutes instead of days. (http://news.abs-cbn.com/technology/01/18/09/mobile-phone-giants-dial-entertainment-growth-bid-analysts)
2 ) Globe Telecom
Globe Telecom is one of the users of mobile solution. It offers many promos with the use of mobile solutions. They offer ringing tones, celebrity updates, wireless games, wallpapers, picture messages, and promos with prices such as winning a car, money or even properties. They also have promos such as unlimited texting, Multi-Media Messaging Service, free YM online chat, Share-A-Load and have recently introduced unlimited calls at night and Globe mobile internet. And generally these promos reach users or consumers through their mobile phones. Text messages regarding these promos are frequently received by users stating the different promos Globe offers. These promos are generally made in order to increase globe’s number of consumers, broaden their network and most especially generate more income. This business improvement of Globe is made possible with the use of mobile solutions. (http://www1.globe.com.ph/index.aspx)
3 ) Smart Buddy
Smart Buddy is also one of the top users of mobile solution in the country. It offers many promos with the use of mobile solution in their company. Like Globe Telecom, which is one of their main competitors, they offer ringing tones, games, wallpapers, picture messages, celebrity updates, promos which brings prices like cash or cars to texters who will join. They also have services such as unlimited texting, internet surfing from smart buddy prepaid cell phone, banking payments, loading to remittances etc. These promos and services can all be done with the use of the users’ mobile phone. It brings the users the convenience of having almost everything they need with the use of mobile phones. These different promos and services generally are made in order for Smart Buddy to broaden their network, reach consumers as many as possible and especially for them to increase their income. (http://smart.com.ph/buddy/services/mobileinternet.htm)
Listed above are just some of the Users of mobile solution. Mobile solution makes life easier by offering services within reach of the consumers. It is more convenient to use since it is less costly, less time consuming and can even save energy for others. The users greatly benefit from the applications offered by the providers not only in terms of exposure but especially in terms of revenue.
IV. Technology Assessment
a. Internal and External analysis of the technology
Mobile solutions play a big role in the development of mobile technology not just here in the Philippines, but also in the global perspective. A closer look into the internal and external factors of this technology will help people to analyze its potentials in the present society using SWOT analysis, where the strengths and opportunities comprise the internal ones, and the opportunities and threats as the externals. The main objective of mobile solution companies is to provide solutions and develop platforms for mobile technology in the country, to be used by its clients, mostly big companies, for its various promotions. To be able to achieve this objective, the SWOT analysis will be used.
First, the strength of this technology is its popularity to some of the big companies here in the Philippines, such as ABS-CBN and GMA networks, and Smart and Globe telecommunication companies. Nowadays, people normally receive text promos indicating that you can subscribe to ringing tones or multimedia messages. Companies such as Xurpas Inc. and Fluxion Inc. handle these kinds of promotions, for they function as “forwarders” of MMS contents to the millions of subscribers. They are essentially helping the telecom companies to encourage people to subscribe to their respective networks. In addition to this, these mobile solution companies are the ones handling different promos of other companies wherein the texters will join the promo and they can win prizes from it.
Second, the main weakness of mobile solutions is that companies handling these should always come up with an innovative way of targeting subscribers since using the same old technique on future mobile platforms will not be as persuasive as with an innovative one. Also, it can be pointed out that with the growing scope of mobile communications that the society, especially the Filipino society, is experiencing as of now, the companies may not have full control of all the subscribers due to circumstances such as ‘flooding’ of text messaging services, and technical difficulties.
Third, there are many opportunities waiting for this technology, because it hasn’t been in the industry for a long time, and there are many improvements that can be done to provide better service to its clients, and indirectly, to the consumers. Currently, Xurpas has ties with Fluxion and Starfish Mobile, its branch in the African Continent.It means that it expands to many countries in the world, and teaming up together to perform efficiently. There are numerous platforms to be developed and not yet implemented, which means that it is only the beginning of the blossoming of this industry.
Lastly, threats can affect the mobile solutions technology. Since it hasn’t been around in the business world, it hasn’t yet established its position in the industry. Mobile solution companies should be aware of the entry of more competitors, which may affect their demand for clients. The developers should continue to improve and research on possible new platforms and software to be used for its clients, and to be distributed to mobile subscribers.
b. Alternatives and Substitutes to Mobile Solutions
These mobile solutions, aside from providing mobile phone services, are arguably one of the most modern forms of advertising and brand promotion at present. They utilize some of the latest forms of technology from Java and GPRS for applications (e.g. games) to MMS and polyphonic ring tones for media sharing. Indeed, some companies that would want to go “interactive” might as well use Mobile Solutions in order to connect with more people who use mobile phone technology, as well as promoting their product or brand. Moreover, in 2006, the Philippines had a number of mobile phone subscribers equal to 40% of the total population during that time. (http://www.pinoysites.org/jcm/item/24/) Because of this, it can be concluded that promotion through mobile phones is really advantageous. On the other hand, not everyone in the country is availing with these forms of mobile applications, probably because they are not aware of them, or it may also be because they find it complicated or strenuous or often times expensive to avail for such. That is why instead of promoting through creating their own mobile games and services (e.g. Club Zed, myGlobe, ABSi), they resort to other mobile solutions so that they would cut risks by forwarding these promo messages to other mobile solutions to handle the advertisements and depend on them for the promotion of their name or products.
Since mobile solutions are not that familiar to most users, not every mobile phone subscribers avail to the services being provided by these mobile solution companies. Also, Filipinos are still accustomed to brick and mortar businesses, thus, these mobile solutions are not yet widely used. A possible alternative to the use of pure mobile solutions is by integrating this to some of the brick and mortar businesses to promote through mobile phones and at the same time being utilized by consumers. For example, instead texting to download their favorite MMS ring tones and videos, users can opt to use texting to buy certain CDs and DVDs of their favorite songs and videos. Another example is by using mobile phone solutions for delivery services. McDonald's at one time used mobile phone solutions to accommodate delivery through text messages; hence, they can provide service through mobile phone solutions and promote their product and service to the mobile users at the same time.
In the case of providing services, a possible alternative to mobile phone solutions is the traditional form of servicing, or as mentioned earlier, the brick and mortar form of business. The latter is less efficient, since the user must go to the store to transact business with a company. However, this is still widely used and is more popular than the services provided by mobile phone solutions. Also, other forms of electronic services are increasingly used by consumers such as transactions through the internet. Through these, some costs are omitted such as the cost of text messaging or downloading videos and music (although the legality of most of these services is questioned). In addition, this alternative provides services not only within the country but with other countries as well, since provisions through mobile phone solutions are generally applicable to a certain country, whereas provisions through the Internet are applicable globally.
These are some of the possible alternatives to mobile phone solutions, with their respective advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it is up to the company to decide which suits to their goals and their target customers, weighing the pros and cons of the following alternatives and their provisions.
c. Feasibility and Justification of application
There was a time, not so long ago, when mobile phones were regarded as executive toys. Now mobile communications are within the reach of most of the world’s population. As society becomes more mobile, consumers and professionals are demanding the same capabilities on the go that they are used to having in their homes and offices. Instead of creating one-size-fits-all solutions, companies must acknowledge and address systematically the on-the-go needs of different customer segments.
With the continuous emergence of the use of telecommunication tools by most of the people around the world, mobile applications has been a profitable business to venture in. U.S enterprise spending on wireless business solutions has shown impressive growth in the past. The market for mobile office is expected to grow from $462 million in 2003 to $2,700 million by the end of 2008. While basic, high-speed coverage could be provided by all, quality partnership programs and a clear understanding of the requirements of various business segments is likely to assume greater significance as the differentiating factors. Companies such as Nextel Communications have demonstrated that business customers are the most profitable, and this realization has caught on with other mobile operators that are now increasingly focusing on the lucrative enterprise segment.
Mobile business applications encompass various fields like mobile marketing. It is indeed very much appropriate especially in this time of growing numbers of cell phone users not only in the First World countries but globally as well.Among various mobile applications, the most feasible and noticeable is the mobile advertising. Mobile advertising is defined as the paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers where such communication is delivered to a mobile phone or other mobile device. Examples of mobile advertising would include: WAP Banner ads, mobile search advertising, mobile video bumpers, interstitial ads in on device portals.
According to Alec Andronikov, CEO of MoVoxx, short messaging service (SMS) has the broadest reach of any mobile advertising medium, making it an ideal way to initiate interactive media communication with consumer. While there are other mobile marketing tools out there, they don't have the reach of SMS and don't work with all carriers and all handsets. The SMS medium elicits high audience response rates because of the lack of media clutter. Thus, in many ways, SMS is more effective; the consumer is receiving opt-in offers without a lot of other distractions, unlike search, where consumers are presented with multiple offers with every query. He considered it as a key for a better way to engage consumers in a targeted, exclusive, opt-in, and medium with flexible reach. And just last September 2008, 5 million Americans responded to an SMS campaign provided by MoVoxx.
Researches done by Nielsen Company show that 77% of US mobile subscribers used SMS during 2007. They also released figures showing that the typical U.S. mobile subscriber now sends and receives more SMS text messages than they do mobile telephone calls. As of second quarter of 2008, a typical U.S. mobile subscriber sends or receives 357 text messages per month, compared to placing or receiving 204 phone calls. Though the number of calls has remained relatively steady, the number of text messages is up 450% from just two years prior.
In the Philippines, mobile business application is apparently more promising as the Philippines is being dubbed as the “Texting Capital of the World”. It is estimated that around 200 million text messages a day are sent in the country. Thus many companies are taking advantage of this by promoting their own products and services through SMS. One of the firms who pioneered mobile advertising is Xurpas Inc. It is the firm behind the various marketing promotions various known companies in the Asia and in Africa. Some of its projects include McDONALD's Text Delivery, NESTLE Nonstop Ice Cream Sure Win, SNICKERS Mad Summer, Heinz UFC Ketchup Pamilyunaryo promotion while in South Africa, Xurpas main projects are the 3BEE and Sprite Thirst Challenge. 3BEE was South Africa’s first-ever mobile technology-based television loyalty campaign.
Mobile advertising shows a very great potential for being a successful business venture for two main reasons. First is that there is big reach in text messaging, and audiences are already opted-in. Taking a step back, SMS is also the most commonly used mobile technology (besides voice), and because virtually all mobile phones can send and receive text messages, SMS advertising messages reach the widest possible audience. And lastly, getting started with mobile advertising is not hard; it requires little legwork. With built-in audiences provided by carriers and text message ad networks, marketers simply need to choose who they want to target and go for it.
d. Suggested Application of Technology in the Philippine Setting
The breakthroughs brought about by mobile solutions, made possible by the extensive enhancement of mobile technology, has surpassed various limitations and has enabled almost everyone to take access on diverse significant matters and agenda including those that are personal, as well as those that are business-related. Consequently, mobile solutions have cultivated the continuous massive detonation and revolution of mobile technology and communication. Both on micro and macro level, mobile solutions has been occupying an exceptional role on this contemporary society.
Mobile solutions may have distinctive applications within a specific kind of society. The appliance may primarily depend on the existing needs and relevance to the activities of users, providers and the other different parties involved in the transmission and utilization of mobile technology.
In the Philippines, mobile solutions have made outstanding impacts on the various activities of Filipinos as a consequent effect of the ever increasing number of mobile phone users. Large mobile phone network servicing companies like Globe and Smart are intensive user of mobile solutions. These companies offer various text promos and services to subscribers through the assistance of companies like Xurpas Inc. and Fluxion Inc. Mobile solutions generally grants network providers with absolutely essential business advantages. Subsequently, subscribers of Globe and Smart are able enjoy a wide variety of mobile applications that can make communication and personal and business transactions much more convenient and efficient. Among the applications that are offered by the network providers are MMS and internet connection. Moreover, network providers also offer direct further mobile solutions pertaining to payment solutions. For instance, businesses and other mobile users can now receive and transfer payments through mobile solutions. With mobile solutions, the world literally comes through an individual’s hand.
In addition, mobile solutions have also been used extensively in advertising, marketing and any other specific form of promotions. This is further exemplified by the services provided by television networks like ABS-CBN and GMA. These networks to get reach of the mobile phone users through text messages that are most relevant to them.
Other forms of mobile solutions are also provided through enhanced mobile messaging services. The most prominent of this kind in the Philippines is Chikka Asia Inc. Mobile solutions of this kinds includes applications and systems that are designed for different kinds of mobile carriers around the world. Locally, Chikka has been popular because of the cost-efficiency of sending SMS that it offers. Filipinos can effectively benefit through the free sending of SMS to other Chikka users and mobile phone users within the country or even abroad.
Generally, mobile solutions cover a vast fraction of the applications that the Filipinos are using through mobile phones. Particular applications of the existing design of these mobiles solutions may further improve the state of technology in the Philippines. For instance, the effectiveness of mobile solutions in the area of marketing and advertising may generate various other competitive business advantages. This in turn can expand the possibilities for Philippine businesses to tie-up with other international companies. Mobile solutions may also promote a greater efficiency in banking and financing. Mobiles solutions may offer proficient resources for public and private clients like government agencies and banks.
Basically, mobile solutions expand the chances for further growth and advancement of private and public companies and the state of technology in the country. They also promote cost-effective transactions among mobile phone users and service providers particularly suited for a continually developing country like the Philippines.
Mobile technology continues to flourish with the many developments in mobile solutions. Mobile solutions technology has been very useful in catering to man’s mobility needs today. It is because of this that man is able to avail of so many services while on the go. With the growing number of mobile solutions providers worldwide and their innovations in the field, the technology is expected to exceed and even improve further the services already available now. The advancements in the technology have been beneficial both to the providers and the users. Through mobile technology, the providers are able to promote their services and goods and make profit out of it and the users are able to avail of high quality services right at their fingertips. The only difficulty that might arise is that providers always need to find a way to innovate and differentiate their products and services to maintain their upper hand in offering the best of their services.
Mobile solutions will continue to thrive with the developments in technology. Mobile solutions providers should find more and better ways to make use of the technology in order to cope with the fast-paced world. They should improve further on their specializations and form alliances with other companies in exchange of each other’s sources and services in order to maximize their strengths. They should also delve on what their target clients want and need in order for them to provide the services that will appeal to their customers and should make sure that their target clients are well-aware of the services that they are offering.
In the world today where people want everything all set and within reach, mobile solutions technology plays a big part in making this possible. Mobile solutions technology has embarked on different fields that have made life easier and more convenient for individuals and business enterprises alike. From mobile payment solutions to personal entertainment, to corporate file storage and sharing purposes and mobile marketing, the diversity of the technology and its vastness has definitely gone across barriers that were never thought to be technologically possible. Mobile solutions technology has provided the world with so much, but it is for this same reason that much is still expected from it. With the countless breakthroughs and endless possibilities in this technology, people have yet to see what more mobile solutions can offer.
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