Pervasive Computing, also synonymously known as ubiquitous computing or ambient intelligence, is a quickly developing field of research and a growing trend towards embedding microprocessors. It aims to establish environments and bring in the emerging paradigms in which the computing models are seamlessly integrated and connected to our surroundings. The basic objective of pervasive computing is to provide the network devices, which offer unobtrusive connectivity all the time, thereby enhancing the environmental experience and the quality of life even without the extensive understanding and awareness of the complex communications and computing technologies. In order to adapt to the associated activity, the intelligent devices autonomously collect, arrange, process and transfer the authentic information as they are interconnected in the pervasive network. Wireless communications, embedded systems, smart spaces and software systems are some of the technologies that have led to tremendous developments, eventually becoming the reason of evolution of pervasive computing platforms – a successor of mobile computing systems.
History of Pervasive Computing
The history of pervasive computing is actually relevant to the paradigm shifts on the development of relationships between the humans and computer. First proposed by Mark Weiser in his 1991 paper, ubiquitous computing was the vision of creating the environments, significantly saturated with the computing capabilities, but integrated with the human user action. This concept was pioneered at the Olivetti Research Laboratory in Cambridge England, where a tracking device was created to track the location of the people along with the objects to which they were attached. It was an Active Badge and the size of an employee ID card. Weiser described the pervasive computing in his preliminary approach, which was “Activate the world. Provide hundreds of wireless computing devices per person per office of all scales (from 1 “displays to wall-sized). This has required new work in operating systems, user interfaces, networks, wireless, displays and many other areas. We call our work ‘ubiquitous computing’.”
Pervasive Computing was largely popularized from the creation of the pervasive computing division by IBM. Professor Friedemann Mattern of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich wrote in a 2004 paper that: “Its primary goal is to use this information processing in the near future in the fields of electronic commerce and web-based business processes.”
When networking was invented, the scope of independent PCs was expanded to the distributed systems and then these distributed environments were enabled to be pervasive by introducing the access to the remote communications with additional features of high availability and fault tolerance. From the integration of cellular technology, the mobile computing evolved and developed by the wireless communication. Now that the size of mobile phones is falling, they can eventually support the pervasive computing, available for all human environments. This technology is already gaining a foothold in the smartphones and PDAs.
Research Thrusts of Pervasive Computing
Motion is the basic part of everyday’s life, so any efficient technology needs to support mobility or the users wouldn’t be interested as all. Due to the fact that pervasive computing is based on mobile computing, it incorporates 4 important research thrusts into its agenda, mentioned and briefly described below:
Proper Use of Smart Spaces
By embedding the pervasive computing in the building infrastructure, a smart space is embedded that basically brings together the two disjoint worlds. The fusion caused by this technology enables the sensing and control of a world by the other one. Understand this by the example of the automatic adjustment of lighting, heating and cooling levels of a certain place on the base of the person’s electronic profile.
The ideal case in pervasive computing is the complete disappearance of the infrastructure from the consciousness of the user, but in practice, it is necessary to have at least the reasonable approximation of this ideal. The technology needs to meet the expectations most of, if not all, the time. Also, the modicum of anticipation is also important in order to avoid the unpleasant surprises.
The interaction intensity is definitely increased between the user’s personal computing space and the surroundings with the growth in smart spaces. Pervasive computing works on scalability by making the density of interactions to fall off as one user, in the environment of multiple users, moves away. If this doesn’t happen, the connection between the user and his computing system will be overwhelmed by the interactions, no matter how distant, even if they are of little relevance.
Masking Uneven Conditions
In today’s world, the achievement of uniform penetration of pervasive computing technology is impossible as there are always huge differences in the “smartness” of the respective environments. This enormous dynamic range of “smartness” has the potential to distract from the basic goal of the tech, which is to make it invisible. One method that the user must apply is to have his personal space compensate for the “dumb” environments. Complete invisibility cannot be achieved, but the variability can be significantly reduced.
Applications of Pervasive Computing
- This technology enables the sharing of local knowledge to establish the relationships beyond the already established cultural, social and communal boundaries.
- It enables social mapping and the development of innovative practice around different places, communities, and identities.
- It focuses on making the artifacts to offer the tangible and material representations of the intangible objects along with creating the broader experimental knowledge of the environmental sustainability.
- This tech also works on providing more effective and illustrative ways to facilitate the co-discovery of the uncommon and under-discussed insights.
- It is also valuable to the business users in the modern environment as it brings constructive help in the increase of revenues(by offering new channels and transaction types), improvement of the customer care(via the betterment of competition and differentiation) and the decline of the costs (by the efficiency, distinction and less cycle time).
As a verdict, it can be safely stated that the pervasive computing is the fertile and helpful way of challenging the issues in the computer environments. We need to broad our discourse in areas of human-computer interaction, software agents, AI and the expert systems. This technology surely opens up the rich space for new beginnings for the computing adventures and borders that are yet to be drawn.