University of Michigan, Dearborn
Management Information Systems
Pervasive computing is the trend towards increasingly ubiquitous (another name for the movement is ubiquitous computing), connected computing devices in the environment, a trend being brought about by a convergence of advanced electronic - and particularly, wireless - technologies and the Internet. Pervasive computing devices are not personal computers as we tend to think of them, but very tiny - even invisible - devices, either mobile or embedded in almost any type of object imaginable, including cars, tools, appliances, clothing and various consumer goods - all communicating through increasingly interconnected networks. In 1991, Mark Weiser introduced the idea of ubiquitous computing: a world in which computers and associated technologies become invisible, and thus indistinguishable from everyday life. This invisible computing is accomplished by means of "embodied virtuality," the process of drawing computers into the physical world. Weiser proposed that computing and communication facilities would follow the evolutionary path of the electric motor.
In 2001, Mahadev Satyanarayanan presented aspects of a pervasive computing environment in which instances of Weiser’s ubiquitous computing world could now be explored, given the maturity of computing/communication technologies such as wireless LANs, portable and wearable computers, and sophisticated, embeddable sensors. He also identified several key research areas in pervasive computing: smart spaces, invisibility, localized scalability, and uneven conditioning. Briefly described, a smart space is a well-defined area, open or enclosed, that incorporates a collection of embedded systems (computers, sensors, user interfaces, and infrastructure of services). Invisibility is the intent that users not be unnecessarily distracted by their interaction with pervasive computing technologies. Localized scalability deals with the effective management of information exchange between users and their surroundings—considerations include bandwidth and energy usage, as well as control of user distraction. Finally, uneven conditioning refers to the current lack of consistent technologies and services throughout a user’s environment; for example, wireless connectivity may be present in one building but not in another.
A number of companies and higher education institutions have begun extensive research projects aimed at investigating the requirements and implementation of pervasive computing environments. These research activities have identified the following characteristics of a pervasive computing environment: Minimal user distraction, Collaborative interaction, User mobility, Context awareness (user/time/location), Resource and location discovery, Ambient information, calm technology, Event notification, Adaptive interfaces ,Invisibility—everyday object augmentation , Anytime/anywhere. Given the above characteristics, the possible positive effects that pervasive computing may have on productivity within our lives (at school, work, and home) could be significant:
• Improved capabilities for communications, coordination, collaboration, and knowledge exchange • Removal of time and space constraints for accessing information • Enhanced decision-making abilities based on receiving and processing up-to-date organizational and environmental data • Expanded user awareness of the environment through resource and service discovery Challenges of Pervasive computing:
Rapid advances in smart technologies (e.g., sensors, devices and applications, wireless networking), software agents, and middleware technologies have led to the emergence of pervasive or ubiquitous computing as perhaps the most exciting area of computing as well as context-situation aware computing,...