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Why Ubiquitous Computing Should Be Goal Oriented

The smart environment is made up of numerous ubiquitous computing devices. They each function to sense and actuate according to a given occupant’s need. But what happens when one device contradicts the other? How can the devices cooperate so that a ubiquitous computing environment responds correctly, as a whole?

The paper Smart Environments and Self-Organizing Appliance Ensembles raises the very interesting question, “How do you control devices you do not perceive?”. An answer to this question revolves around goal oriented device cooperation. You see, the smart system cannot rely on the user to provide a step-by-step process of how each device should behave. Similarly, the designer cannot predict all combinations of how an ensemble ubiquitous computing environment needs to respond. Instead, a system may be driven by a user’s goal – where the system generates the strategy.(1)

Within a smart environment, “goal based interactions” are likely to be at its heart. How a computing device carries out a function is not what matters most to a user. It is rather the effectof ubiquitous computing devices that is key.(1) 

A user’s needs may be quite varied and the smart environment’s devices must cooperate with each other in unison. In addition, as users add or remove devices to their smart environment, ubiquitous computing technologies must easily allow for such user changes.(1) In the end, a goal oriented approach calls for a dynamic system, so the user’s needs are met – even as they change in real-time.

The smart environment will be able to simultaneously feed the senses so occupants can carry out a multitude of functions. With few interface techniques a user may communicate based on their intention; and therefore, their goals. Smart environments will work seamlessly to orchestrate a smart space through context aware techniques. Appliances will form an ensemble, giving rise to architectural space that yields greatest value.

Reference:

(1) Heider, Thomas & Kirste, Thomas Smart Environments and Self-Organizing Appliance Ensembles. Rockstock University. Germany.

Image Credit: © Marinini | Dreamstime

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