Ambient Computing and Communication Environments

The Working Group “Ambient Computing and Communication Environments” (chair: Norbert Streitz) of the InterLink project is concerned with identifying deficits, new challenges and developing a research agenda for future work as well as facilitating international collaboration in the thematic area briefly characterized as follows:

The evolution towards a future information and knowledge society is characterized by the development of personalized individual as well as collective services that exploit new qualities of infrastructures and components situated in smart environments. They are based on a range of ubiquitous and pervasive communication networks providing ambient computing and communication at multiple levels. The collective services are provided by a very large number of "invisible" small computing components embedded into our environment. They will interact with and being used by multiple users in a wide range of dynamically changing situations. In addition, this heterogeneous collection of devices will be supported by an “infrastructure” of intelligent sensors (and actuators) embedded in our homes, offices, hospitals, public spaces, leisure environments providing the raw data (and active responses) needed for a wide range of smart services. Furthermore, new and innovative interaction techniques are being provided that integrate tangible and mixed reality interaction. In this way, the usage and interaction experience of users will be more holistic and intuitive than today. It is anticipated that economics will drive this technology to evolve from a large variety of specialised components to a small number of universal, extremely small and low-cost components that can be embedded in a variety of materials. Thus, we will be provided with a computing, communication, sensing and interaction substrate for systems and services. We can characterize them as "smart ecosystems" in order to emphasize the seamless integration of the components, their smooth interaction, the "equilibrium" achieved through this interaction and the "emergent smartness" of the overall environment.

A group of international experts (coordinated by Norbert Streitz) has prepared a
white paper presenting challenges and research lines for future work in this area.
It is the result of presentations and discussions at
four international workshops that were held in France, Germany, and Japan in 2007 and 2008 as well as follow-up work. More details are available at the InterLink project website.

The umbrella scenario for this white paper is Urban Life Management within the context of
Smart Cities or Hybrid Cities.