Ubiquitous Computing and Ambient Intelligence:
New Challenges for Computing
J.UCS Special Issue
José Bravo (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad
Xavier Alamán (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid,
Teresa Riesgo (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain)
Abstract: The IST Advisory Group (ISTAG) of the European Union
had a vision of "Ambient Intelligence" (AmI) in 1999. It refers
to "an exciting new paradigm of information technology, in which people
are empowered through a digital environment that is aware of their presence
and context sensitive, adaptive and responsive to their needs, habits,
gestures and emotions". In AmI the technology will become invisible,
embedded, present whenever we need it, enabled by simple interactions,
attuned to all our senses and adaptive to users and contexts (Scenarios
for Ambient Intelligence). AmI proposes a shift in computing from the traditional
computer to a whole set of devices placed around us providing users with
an intelligent background.
AmI involves three key technologies: Ubiquitous Computing integrating
microprocessors into everyday objects; Ubiquitous Communication, which
allows these objects to communicate with each other and with users; and
finally, Natural Interfaces, which allows interacting with the environment
in an easier and more personalized way. This special issue is aimed to
join research efforts in these three technologies, although emphasis will
be placed on the first one, which emerges directly from the seminal vision
of Mark Weiser in the Xerox Lab.
Nine papers have been selected to represent this area of research. The
first one, "Development of Ambient Intelligence Applications using
Components and Aspects" by Fuentes et al. focuses on applying
aspect technologies to components in order to improve AmI application modularization.
Their work presents the benefits of aspect technologies with regard to
reusability and adaptability, by showing the limitations of a well-known
component-based AmI middleware platform named PCOM.
Privacy (QoP) for the Design of Ubiquitous Healthcare
Applications" by Tentori et al. describes a
workplace study conducted in a hospital, aimed at understanding the
privacy issues that hospital workers might face in a pervasive
From the results of the study the authors propose the concept of
Quality of Privacy (QoP) and software architecture to support it. The
design of a location-aware hospital application is used to illustrate
how the architecture assists designers in the development of
privacy-aware ubiquitous computing systems.
Services in a Conference Context: An Approach by RFID Technology"
by Bravo et al. presents a context aware application in a conference
site based on the identification process using RFID. This proposal is based
on the "ws" concepts (who, when, where & what). Three environments
are modelled applying the "who" to the "when" and "where"
to reach the "what". In this sense certain services are offered
to the conference attendees, some of which are characteristics of this
technology and others are the result of a context aware application, the
visualization service named "Mosaics of Information".
"A Mechanism for
Solving Conflicts in Ambient Intelligent Environments" by
Haya et al. deals with the conflicts that may appear when the state
of a device in an Intelligent Environment is modified. These problems are
not as much of sharing of resources as of a conflict of orders coming from
different agents. This coexistence must deal also with the desire of privacy
of the different users over their personal information such as where they
are, what their preferences are or to whom this information should be available.
A Reflective Framework for Enabling AmI" by López de
Ipiña et al. The EMI2lets platform aims to transform
mobile devices into universal remote controllers of the smart objects (everyday
objects augmented with computing devices) that sorround us. An EMI2let
is a piece of software associated to an smart object which can be discovered,
downloaded and executed in a communication technology and computing platform
(PC, PDA, mobile) agnostic manner.
QoS Provision for Mobile Ad-hoc Network -based Ambient Intelligent Environments"
by F.J. Villanueva et al. introduces the use of mobile ad-hoc networks
for large environments, such as hospitals, government buildings, office
and industrial buildings, etc. It is also defined an information gathering
mechanism in order to provide a context aware QoS framework, relaxing some
restrictions that are inherited from traditional ad-hoc networks scenarios
with a particular adaptative QoS architecture oriented to provide context-aware
quality of service to the traffic generated in a smart-building network.
"A Modular Architecture
for Nodes in Wireless Sensor Networks" by Portilla et al.
presents a study of the problems in data acquisition and control on wireless
sensor networks. Particularly, when there are many applications that demand
the use of many nodes, even hundreds or thousands. They propose a modular
architecture for the nodes, composed of four layers: communication, processing,
power supply and sensing. The purpose is to minimize the redesign effort
as well as to make the node flexible and adaptable to many different applications.
Service Discovery based on Trust Management for ad-hoc Networks"
by Campo et al. proposes a service discovery protocol with security
features, the Secure Pervasive Discovery Protocol. It is a fully distributed
protocol in which services offered by devices can be discovered by others,
without a central server, providing location of trusted services, as well
as protection of confidential information, secure communications, or access
Hybrid Architecture Model of the OCP Contextual Information Management
System" by Nieto et al. describes a middleware
which provides support for management of contextual information and
merging of information from different sources. The approach consists
of a model of contextual information which is based on Semantic Web
derived technologies and a description of the structured merging in
the form of decision rules.
The editors wish to thank Professor Hermann Maurer (Managing Editor)
and Dr. Tiffin for providing us with the opportunity to edit this special
issue. Finally, we would also like to express our thanks Ms. Dana Kaiser
(Assistant Editor) of the Journal of Universal Computer Science (J.UCS)
for all their kind help.
José Bravo UCLM
Xavier Alamán UAM
Teresa Riesgo, UPM
Ciudad Real, Spain