Location-dependent and Context-Aware Computing

Location-dependent and Context-Aware Computing

Stan Kurkovsky (Central Connecticut State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-250-3.ch015
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Systems with context-aware features are typically able to adapt their behavior to the changes of the environment surrounding the system and/or its users without any explicit intervention of the user. Therefore, context-aware systems tend to increase the usability and effectiveness by taking into account the context of their environment. Location-based and context-aware systems are typically associated with mobile devices; they react to reflect their current physical location, time, other surrounding systems, their user(s), as well as other features of their environment, and adapt their operation to the changes of the environment. This information about the many aspects of the system‘s environment is referred to as context, which can be obtained from a variety of sources, such as RFID and other sensors, wireless network information, physical device status, maintaining information about the user(s) and many other sources.
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Active Badge Location System is considered to be one of the earliest context-aware systems (Want et al, 1992). In this system, the user’s current location was determined by a series of infrared sensors and small wearable badges; the information about the user’s location enabled the system to forward telephone calls to the telephone closest to a particular user. In the following years, a number of other systems leveraging location context information were described in the literature, including systems receiving location information from the global positioning system (GPS) and from the communication infrastructure, e.g. Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) in cellular networks or WiFi access point connectivity in local area networks. In particular, location context was widely used to implement a number of context-aware tour guide applications (Abowd et al, 1997, Cheverst et al 200, Brown 1996, Kreller et al 1998, Fels 1998). Leonhard et al (1996) described a generic framework supporting location awareness based on a formally defined model of location; Indulska and Sutton (2003) and Becker and Durr (2005) provide comprehensive surveys of location management in context-aware systems.

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