Mobile Virtual Communities
Glauber Ferreira (Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil), Hyggo Almeida (Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil), Angelo Perkusich (Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil) and Evandro Costa (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2009
The establishment of collective relationships is a native characteristic of individuals. Living in a recluse way cannot be considered part of human nature. Individuals have always been organized in communities in which they establish relationships with other individuals, which usually live in one particular area. Proximity among individuals is one of the characteristics that motivate the creation of communities. Communities are also created when individuals have common interests. Some examples are: religious communities, such as Catholic and Jewish ones; and communities that comprise people having the same job, such as scientific and medical communities. In these examples, the distance among individuals is not an obstacle to the creation of communities, since individuals have common interests. In spite of living in different places, members of these communities have periodic meetings in which collective relationships are established. The popularization of the Internet after the 1990s along with the well established use of personal computers have allowed the creation of a new form of community, the well known virtual communities. They have enabled individuals to communicate through e-mail, forums, instant messaging, and videoconference. People living in different countries have interacted and communicated through Internet enabled personal computers. Distance learning and software users groups such as Linux users and Java developers are some examples of relationships that have been improved by virtual communities. Mobile virtual communities are the most recent advance in the establishment of collective relationships, mainly due to the progress in mobile devices and wireless communication technologies. Connectivity among wireless mobile devices enables individuals to exchange information and knowledge, anytime and anywhere. These communities are created in an ad hoc way: individuals with common profiles, carrying connected mobile devices, can constitute a community and access/provide information according to their authorization degree. There are various applications of mobile virtual communities, such as workflow management, mobile learning, healthcare communities, personal assistants in academic conferences, and applications for communication among students on campus, among others. This article introduces the field of mobile virtual communities, describing the main issues that have culminated in the creation of this research area such as the Internet, personal computers, mobile devices and wireless communication technologies. Applications domains of mobile virtual communities and works that support the development of these applications are also presented.