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Beyond Weiser’s Vision of Ubiquitous Computing

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A world in which computers disappear into the background of an environment consisting of smart rooms and buildings was first articulated over fifteen years ago in a vision called ubiquitous computing by Mark Weiser (1991). The term ‘ubiquitous’, meaning appearing or existing everywhere, combined with computing to form the term Ubiquitous Computing (UbiCom) is used to describe ICT systems that enable information and tasks to be made available everywhere, and to support intuitive human usage, appearing invisible to the user.

This talk will first review the achievements that have been made since the early 1990s and the challenges that remain. There is a spectrum of views of the current status of Ubiquitous computing with some researchers believing that this vision has still not largely succeeded. For example, there are sociological concerns that taking humans too much out of the control loop in many daily tasks will lessen their physical world and human experiences too much.

Second, there is a openness and vagueness at the epistemological level in terms of what UbiCom System models represent and know and concerns about their epistemologically adequacy. At the heuristic level, there is in addition the issue of how well UbiCom can be used to solve problems and concerns about its heuristic adequacy. In order to address these concerns, a framework is presented called the Smart DEI (pronounced ‘Day’) which comprises a holistic model for smart devices, smart environments and smart interaction.

Thirdly, some of the author’s own research into Ubiquitous Computing will be presented.


Stefan Poslad is a lecturer in the school of electronic engineering and computer science at Queen Mary University of London and a member of the Networks Research Group. His research interest cover ubiquitous computing, intelligent interaction involving the Semantic Web and software agents, and system management including security, safety, trust and privacy in open distributed services. He has played a leading role in several international collaborative projects in these areas (e.g., CRUMPET , AgentCities, EDEN -IW, iTrust, Context-based Information Management for Mobile Workers, My-E-Director 2012) and has over 60 related research publications. He also has actively contributed to FIPA , the agent standards organisation and helped lead its incorporation as a new IEEE Agent Standards activity. He worked on one of the first reference implementations of this model, the FIPA -OS agent platform and led the project that developed a micro version of this agent platform, microFIPA-OS for use by mobile users in resource constrained devices. He is the author of a new book called Ubiquitous Computing: Smart Devices, Environments and Interactions, Wiley, ISBN : 978-0-470-03560-3, 2009.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Opera Group Seminars series.

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