This chapter describes a human centric approach for designing and deploying ubiquitous computing applications. These are considered as activity spheres consisting of tasks which must be executed using the resources available in an Ambient Intelligence space. Such resources include objects augmented with embedded ICT components and software modules. An architectural approach and a corresponding middleware are described, which enable the management of activity spheres. Then, the communication requirements are presented and the role of heterogeneous next generation networks in supporting this architecture is discussed.
Ami Artifacts, Environments, And Activity Spheres
The AmI environment can be considered to host several ubiquitous computing applications, which make use of the infrastructure provided by the environment and the services provided by the artifacts therein (Zaharakis, 2008). A ubiquitous computing application is considered as an orchestration of services that are accessible via the AmI environment. Usually, AmI artifacts act as service bearers; therefore, a ubiquitous computing application is manifested by a set of co-operating artifacts (Zaharakis, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Activity Sphere: A schema describing all the resources required in order to achieve a specific goal of an actor (human or agent) within an AmI space.
Ubiquitous Computing: A novel computing paradigm, which integrates among others distributed systems, embedded systems, ad-hoc (wireless) networks, middleware and user interface design. It comprises the set of computer and network based technologies used to achieve the vision of AmI.
Ambient Intelligence (AmI): The vision of Ambient Intelligence implies a seamless environment of computing, advanced networking technology and specific interfaces.
Ambient Intelligence Space (AmI space): A physical space augmented with ubiquitous computing technology. An AmI space is considered to contain sensors, actuators, networking, processing and storage capacity and offers connectivity services, location-based services, discovery services etc.
Ontology: A formal specification of a shared conceptualization. In other words, everything we know about a subject. An ontology is usually expressed as a network of classes, each of which represents a conceptual entity (i.e. a category) of the subject. Classes are connected with semantically rich relationships, while constraints may also be applied.
Middleware: Special purpose software, which masks the complexity and distribution of the nodes of a distributed system. Middleware makes available the collective capabilities of the underlying distributed system as services, which are accessible in a unified manner, regardless of the location or availability of the system nodes.
Artifact: An everyday object augmented with sensing, actuating, storage, processing, and networking capabilities. An artifact is considered to have a dual presence, both in the physical (because it is an object of the real world) and digital worlds (by publishing its services and properties on the network).