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Posts in category 'Ubiquitous computing'

4 April 2012

Transformative UX – Beyond Packaged Design

SAP

Markus Latzina, SAP AG, and Joerg Beringer, SAP Labs, LLC. have republished an article they have written for Interactions Magazine on the Transformative User Experience.

“Instead of designing for many discrete applications, the Transformative User Experience approach aims to natively support a larger variety of task flows by replacing application boundaries with elastic, situational environments that allow transitions between different task states. Imagine businesspeople who work collaboratively on a large display to discuss business issues and make decisions (see Figure 1). This display must be able to surface relevant content. During the discussion, content may be moved, clustered, annotated, or synthesized to analyze information and capture insights. Areas on the display might represent certain task contexts typical for knowledge-intensive work, such as prioritizing, querying, inspecting, and displaying analytical information.”

Read article

> Check this video to find out more about the SAP User Experience team

2 January 2012

AI will change our relationship with tech

cammm

Genevieve Bell, interaction and experience research director at Intel Labs, has published a guest post on the BBC website on how artificial intelligence will change our relationship with tech.

“I think in 2012 we will start to see signs of change in our relationships with devices.

Here I do not just mean more forms of new interfaces and new interactions. This is less about gesture and voice recognition and more about machines that are contextually and situationally aware.

And there is lots of serious technology in the works to make that happen – networking technology that knows when to switch networks to make sure your voice-over-IP call does not drop; cameras that know how to make you look your best, smart devices that actually learn about your likes and dislikes and make better choices to delight and surprise you.”

Read article

22 December 2011

The Internet gets physical

internet_physical

NY Times technology reporter Steve Lohr writes on how consumer-based Internet technologies are morphing into new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care, traffic management and food distribution.

Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies. [...]

“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”

Read article

22 December 2011

An evolution toward a programmable universe

larry_smarr

With a harvest of data from a wired planet, computing has evolved from sensing local information to analyzing it to being able to control it. Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, explores what this means.

“As Mike Liebhold and his colleagues at the Institute for the Future have discussed, computing will have evolved from merely sensing local information to analyzing it to being able to control it. In this evolution, the world gradually becomes programmable.

At the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, we are using this vision to better understand the coming digital transformation of health, energy, environment and culture. We are experimenting with sensors to monitor electricity use in homes, buildings and data centers; the data can then be analyzed and used to control lighting, heating, cooling, appliances and computers to make them more energy-efficient.”

Read article

7 December 2011

Arup: The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth

New economics of cities
Information Marketplaces: The new economics of cities
Author: Arup, The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham
Publication date: 28 November 2011

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth.

“Written in partnership with The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham, this report investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanisation.

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth and represents a powerful approach for tackling unprecedented environmental and economic challenges.

By unlocking technology, infrastructure and public data, cities can open up new value chains, spawning innovative applications and information products that make sustainable modes of city living and working possible.

While smart initiatives are underway in urban centres around the world, most cities have yet to realise the enormous potential value from fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city development programmes.

Now is the time for government and business leaders to recognise the value created by smart city thinking.”

24 November 2011

Demanding devices: design and the Internet of Things

Design and the Internet of Things
On Tuesday 22 November, NESTA in London organised an event that looked at the challenges of designing for an Internet of Things.

The speakers: pioneers Usman Haque, founder of Pachube, and Matt Jones, formerly at the BBC, Dopplr and Nokia, and now a principal at design agency BERG.

Videos:
- Part 1: Usman Haque (17:20)
- Part 2: Matt Jones (18:58)
- Part 3: Q&A (26:49)

3 November 2011

Jawbone releases UP, a wristband for tracking your wellness

UP
Priced at $100, the device is a leap for Jawbone. And its aimed at nothing less than making its wearers happier and healthier. Fastco Design reports.

“The UP wristband is meant to be worn 24 hours a day. When you’re awake, its accelerometer monitors your movement–whether you’re running, walking, or climbing stairs–and then sends that data to the app, which shows how many calories you’ve burned. When you’re asleep, the UP monitors your sleep stage, by tracking subtle fluttering wrist movements (a natural occurrence during REM sleep, which is similar to eyelid flutter). When its time to wake up, the wristband vibrates slightly, and times its alarm to the best phase of your sleep cycle. And finally, the UP smartphone app allows you to take pictures of your food and log your meals.

The cleverest features, however, are a bit more subtle. The UP isn’t meant to be a passive health-monitoring device–if so, it would be hard to see how people would keep using it, given how often, for example, diets fail. Instead, it’s meant to constantly nudge you into better behavior. For example, you can set the wristband to vibrate when you’ve been sedentary for too long–a reminder to keep moving around. There are also challenges you can take on, such as running or walking a certain distance each day, or biking to work three times a week. Users can track their progress as they go along, and they can choose challenges created by others (including professional trainers and public-health experts).”

Read article

(see also this Wired article)

26 October 2011

The Internet of Things comic book

IoT Comics
The Danish Alexandra Institute has just released a comic book called “Inspiring the Internet of Things,” which explains the benefits of networking everyday objects – as well as the ethical issues – through 15 illustrated scenarios. The PDF version is available for free download.

“We need a new medium to com- municate the idea of the Internet of Things, its challenges, its problems and its benefits; encouraging people to think about this new disruptive technology.

There are few things better than telling a story with pictures.

This “comic book” is aimed at everybody. Everybody can look at the stories that are being told and form an opinion. Use them as a basis for deep discus- sions or just as inspira- tion; agree or disagree and anything in between – but talk about it.”

(via ReadWriteWeb)

23 September 2011

Reflections on the internet of things and yet another revolution

Matter
The internet of things and yet another revolution
The “internet of things” is viewed as the next big thing, but when will it allow people to create their own stuff, asks Russell M Davies on the BBC website.

“It’s a world where everything is smart – smart cities, smart grids, everything prefaced by smart. It’s a world of sensors in bridges so the bridge can report when it needs maintenance. This world where everything reports on its status to some kind of mothership is close to coming upon us.

It falls down, though, when it starts to think about people, and when it starts to design for how people will get involved in this infrastructure. It is not a bad or stupid world, it is just slightly boring. There is none of the texture or magic or specialness of life in it.” [...]

“It is not about the thing, it is about the satisfaction of making it and the relationships which surround it. That is what will be so transformative and bewitching about the next technological revolution.

It will not be about media and screens, it will be about our lives and the objects we surround our lives with.”

My problem with the “Internet Of Things”
My problem with the “Internet Of Things” is the Things, writes Matt Jones of Berg London (formerly Nokia Design and Dopplr).

“Matter is important.

To which you quite rightly cry – “Well, duh!”

It is something we are attuned to as creatures evolved of a ‘middle world’.

It is something we invest emotion, value and memory in.

Also, a new language of product is possible, and important as the surface of larger systems.”

1 September 2011

Human plus Machine

The future of human-machine interaction
In the next ten years, smart machines will enter virtually every domain of our lives, including assisting doctors during surgery, fighting on battlefields, building things in factories, and assisting in classrooms, nursing homes, and offices. As machines augment and replace humans in various tasks, their largest impact may be less obvious: their presence among us will change how we see ourselves, forcing us to confront the fundamental question of what we humans are uniquely good at. What is our competitive advantage, and where is our place alongside these machines?

Download essay by Marina Gorbis, Executive Director, Institute for the Future

29 July 2011

Review: Paul Dourish & Genevieve Bell – Divining a digital future (2011)

Divining a Digital Future
Michiel De Lange has published a very long and somewhat critical review of the book Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing by Paul Dourish and Genevieve Bell.

“In Divining a Digital Future D&B reiterate many arguments made in earlier work, provide them with more flesh, and formulate some future directions for ubicomp. To be sure this is not a bad thing, neither for those who wish to read a book on the current state of affairs in ubicomp, nor for ubicomp researchers who wish to enlarge the scope of their own practice. The book attempts to foster an anthropological sensitivity among its (presumed) CHI readership. Fundamentally, their proposition to approach technology (and urbanism) through an ethnographic lens is highly relevant in my view. Imagine what the future of our cities look would like if it were the sole concern of coders and engineers? Indeed, we should never forget Jane Jacobs’ lesson that livable and lively cities are about people.

I also appreciate their relational view of ubicomp as intricately bound up with the messiness of everyday life, their concern with its multiplicity of forms and shapes, and their attention for fringes (edges, periphery, margins). Important too in my view is that D&B implicitly question the notion of ‘the everyday’. The everyday does not consist of stable pre-given categories (home, mobility, etc.) that can be supplemented with ubicomp. It arises from socio-cultural performances and is continuously negotiated. Still, they could have stated this even more explicitly, because ‘the everyday’ is so often unproblematically assumed as a self-explanatory term in both technology and urban studies.

That being said, D&B’s focus is too much directed inward in my view. D&B dish up insights from urban ethnography, sociology and human geography to a ubicomp audience. The ubicomp crowd may find this refreshing; those more familiar with these ‘soft’ disciplines will already consider such insights well-accepted. As said above, what I feel is lacking from their approach is a clear vision how ubicomp can reciprocate to an understanding of the intricacies of techno-urban practices. What can ethnography and urbanism learn from ubicomp?”

Read review

29 July 2011

Art that interacts if you interface

Talk to Me
The New York Times reviews Paola Antonelli’s “Talk to Me” show at the Museum of Modern Art.

“At its best “Talk to Me” makes you aware of how our relationship to design has become more emotional and intuitive. Ms. Antonelli points out that “we now expect objects to communicate, a cultural shift made evident when we see children searching for buttons or sensors on a new object, even when the object has no batteries or plug.”

And the show is certainly a brave undertaking for a design department that’s still strongly associated with 20th-century modernism. It’s a big step from a Corbusier chair to an iPhone, or as Ms. Antonelli puts it, “from the centrality of function to that of meaning.”

But from a viewer’s perspective MoMA’s messianic embrace of smartphones in galleries is enervating. Call me a reactionary, but I’m convinced that looking, not scanning or tweeting, is still the primary purpose of a museum visit.”

Read article

28 July 2011

Are we becoming too analytical?

Network data
Or, why did Google PowerMeter fail?

In his latest post, James Landay questions whether over-analysis of data gets in the way of designing a product that truly understands the needs of its users. He provides several examples of when the data needs trumped design and user needs, which then results in “Product Failure Due to Over Reliance on Self Data Analysis”.

“The biggest reason I believe these two products [Google PowerMeter and Google Health] have not taken off is their reliance on the belief that simply giving people their data and letting them analyze it is the way to improve behavior (both for health and for the environment). The user interfaces for both products have an analytical take on information design — for instance they focus on showing people graphs of their data [...]

As I spoke with members of the Google team, I was surprised at the lack of knowledge of behavior change theories from psychology as well as much of the user interface design work that had been done by researchers in this space over the past ten years.”

A post worth reading also for those interested in the topic of smart metering and behavioural change.

Read article

(via Tricia Wang)

13 July 2011

A wearable wristband to track health, fight obesity

Jawbone's Up
Jawbone announces Up, a wearable wristband to track health, fight obesity. A combination of a sensor-infused wristband and a smartphone app will provide nudges for healthier living, based on your behavior.

“Just an hour ago on stage at TED Global, Jawbone announced the grand project they’ve been quietly working on for years: A wearable band called Up, which is infused with sensors and connected to computer-based software, allowing you to track your eating, sleeping, and activity patterns. [...]

The Up is intended to monitor your movement 24 hours a day. The connected, smartphone-based software will then be able to tell how much you’ve been sleeping and how much you’ve moved. Up will then combine that data with information about your meals, which you enter simply by taking pictures of using your smartphone camera. Then, the smartphone program will supply you with “nudges” that are meant to help you live healthier, day by day. For example, if you haven’t slept much, when you wake up the app might suggest a high-protein breakfast and an extra glass of water.”

Read article

6 July 2011

Alone together

Sherry Turkle
MIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle presents – during a June 1 talk at the RSA in London – the results of a fifteen year exploration of the colossal impact technology has had on our lives and communities.

Thirty years ago we asked what we would use computers for. Now the question is what we don’t use them for. Now, through technology, we create, navigate and carry out our emotional lives. We shape our buildings, Winston Churchill argued, then they shape us. The same is true of our digital technologies. Technology has become the architect of our intimacies.

Online, we face a moment of temptation. Drawn by the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, we conduct “risk free” affairs on Second Life and confuse the scattershot postings on a Facebook wall with authentic communication. And now, we are promised “sociable robots” that will marry companionship with convenience. Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere.

We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible. We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude. We turn to new technology to fill the void, but as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down.

MIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle has spent fifteen-years exploring our lives on the digital terrain. Based on interviews with hundreds of children and adults, she visits the RSA to describe new, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, parents and children, and new instabilities in how we understand privacy and community, intimacy and solitude.

Chair: Aleks Krotoski, academic, journalist and host of the Guardian’s Tech Weekly.

Video (20 min): vimeoyoutubedownload (mp4)
Audio (64 min): download mp3

26 June 2011

Enchanted Objects: The next wave of the web

Enchanted mirror
David Rose (LinkedIn), CEO of Vitality (where he works on healthy behavior change) and lecturer at MIT Media Lab (and former CEO of Ambient Devices), gave a talk recently at TEDxBerkeley on how magic anticipates ubiquitous computing.

“Magic, or enchantment, is the right metaphor for the future of computing. [...]

Magic is a convenient metaphor of connected things because the affordances are there. You understand the object… and this motivates the incremental function. [...]

We can take a lesson from the history of the future to figure out what enchanted things will succeed or fail. The ones that satisfy primal wishes or fantasies will succeed. These primal wishes are revealed through narratives that we know and can analyze. It’s a psychology problem. Especially for Cinderella’s narcissistic stepmother. I’m not sure what robots wish for, but I can tell you what humans want:

We wish for six things that enchanted objects tend to satisfy:

For Omniscience, for human connection, for protection, for health (immortality is better), for effortless mobility or teleportation, and for expression (or creative manifestation).

These are the killer apps.”

- View video of talk
- Download talk slides

Check also David’s recent reflection on the topic of “juicy feedback,” a term that comes from game design and describes when a small action produces a surprisingly large reaction. He uses this paradigm to develop six design ideas relevant to products intended to change people’s behavior.

David’s thinking was inspiring for an article in this month’s Wired Magazine, which argues that by providing people with information about their actions in real time, you give them a chance to change those actions, and push them toward better behaviors.

David Rose is a product designer, technology visionary, and serial entrepreneur.

Currently David is Chief Executive at Vitality, a company that is reinventing medication packaging with wireless technology.

Rose founded and was CEO of Ambient Devices where he pioneered glanceable technology: embedding Internet information in everyday objects like light bulbs, mirrors, refrigerator doors, digital post-it notes, and umbrellas to make the physical environment an interface to digital information.

Rose founded Viant’s Innovation Center, an advanced technology group for Fortune 500s including Sony, GM, Schwab, Sprint and Kinkos. He helped build Viant to over 900 people, $140M and a successful IPO.

In 1997 Rose patented online photo-sharing and founded Opholio (acquired by FlashPoint Technology).

Before the Internet he founded and was President of Interactive Factory (acquired by RDW Group) which creates interactive museum exhibits, educational software and smart toys, including the award-winning LEGO Mindstorms Robotic Invention System.

Rose taught information visualization at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and currently teaches a popular course in tangible user interfaces at the MIT Media Lab. He is a frequent speaker to corporations and design and technology conferences.

9 June 2011

Pamphlet: The Internet of People for a Post-Oil World

Pamphlet 8
The Internet of People for a Post-Oil World
Christian Nold and Rob van Kranenburg
Paperback, 67 pages
The Architectural League of New York

In Situated Technologies Pamphlets 8, Christian Nold and Rob van Kranenburg articulate the foundations of a future manifesto for an Internet of Things in the public interest. Nold and Kranenburg propose tangible design interventions that challenge an internet dominated by commercial tools and systems, emphasizing that people from all walks of life have to be at the table when we talk about alternate possibilities for ubiquitous computing. Through horizontally scaling grass roots efforts along with establishing social standards for governments and companies to allow cooperation, Nold and Kranenberg argue for transforming the Internet of Things into an Internet of People.

Download pamphlet (pdf)

3 June 2011

Internet of things blurs the line between bits and atoms

ThingM's smart wine rack
In the past few months, companies ranging from giants such as Google to small start-ups have been touting the possibility of interconnecting people and objects – lightbulbs, fridges, cars, buildings – to create an internet of things.

Science and technology reporter Katia Moskvitch reports for BBC News.

Read article

26 May 2011

City as a platform

PSFK
Two talks from the 2011 PSFK conference caught my attention:

City as a platform (video)
In her role as Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, Rachel Sterne is tasked with strengthening the City’s digital media presence and streamlining internal digital communications.
In her talk Sterne demonstrated recent innovations that are shaping the city’s future. Mentioning how city resident participation is crucial with a real-time approach, attendees were shown “The Daily Pothole,” a Tumblr that tracks the D.O.T.’s progress in filling potholes in the five boroughs and its companion app, the roll-out of QR code technology on building permits, the NYC 311 app, as well as fielding service requests via Twitter.

Industrial Design: ID For The City (alternate) (video)
Duncan Jackson and Eoin Billings (interview), are both partners at Billings Jackson, a design firm specializing in public spaces. They spoke about their work, history and how they bridge the gap between architecture and manufacturing. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, they appreciate and embrace the the urban landscape for what it is. Crafting solutions that interpret design vision in city environments is their forté and the duo explained the value in understanding the intricacies of each place, culture, and its residents before beginning a new project. Their approach is exemplified through their architectural work, with city life exuding from each structure rather then being blurred by it.

> Check also the video and PSFK report on the Microsoft Home of the Future.

24 May 2011

Book: New Media Technologies and User Empowerment

New Media Technologies and User Empowerment
New Media Technologies and User Empowerment
Jo Pierson, Enid Mante-Meijer and Eugène Loos (eds.)
Peter Lang – International Academic Publishers
May 2011
317 pages
ISBN 978-3-631-60031-3

Synopsis

Recent developments in new media devices and applications have led to the rise of what have become known as ‘social media’, ‘Web 2.0’, ‘social computing’ or ‘participative web’. This shift in ICT, from unidirectional to conversational media of mass self-communication has lowered the technological thresholds for everyday users to cooperate for their own benefit, to participate in online environments and social network sites, to co-create business value and to become ‘produsers’ or ‘pro-ams’. At the same time, we see an evolution towards people-centred design and user-driven innovation in the design of new media technologies. This has created new opportunities and heightened expectations regarding user empowerment in different societal arenas.

However, the question remains to what extent users and communities interacting in an all-IP new media ecosystem are empowered (and not disempowered) to express their creativity and concerns in their social and cultural environment and to obtain a prominent role in the process of new media design and innovation. The book attempts to answer this question through a collection of chapters that scrutinise this issue. The different chapters focus on the way that social and economic opportunities and threats enable and/or constrain user empowerment.

This work consists of four major sections, each of which examines the (potential) empowerment/disempowerment of users in relation to new media technologies from a different angle. The chapters in the first section describe different theoretical perspectives on user roles and user involvement in the new media ecosystem, referring to interpretative, positivist and critical schools of thought. Based on these overall guiding frameworks, we then explore the leverage users have, both on content level and on technological level. This refers respectively to the second and third section of the book. In the fourth section different case studies are presented, each of which highlight how user empowerment manifests itself in different new media sectors and environments (such as publishing, the music industry and social networking sites).

The book is based on interdisciplinary research. It offers innovative insights based on state-of-the-art academic and industry-driven ICT user research in various European countries. This work will appeal to post-graduate students and researchers in the field of media and communication studies, social studies of technology, digital media marketing and other domains that investigate the mutual relationship between new media technologies and society.

Contents

  • Yves Punie: Introduction: New Media Technologies and User Empowerment. Is there a Happy Ending?
  • Enid Mante-Meijer/Eugène Loos: Innovation and the Role of Push and Pull
  • Valerie Frissen/Mijke Slot: The Return of the Bricoleur: Redefining Media Business
  • Serge Proulx/Lorna Heaton: Forms of User Contribution in Online Communities: Mechanisms of Mutual Recognition between Contributors
  • Aphra Kerr/Stefano De Paoli/Cristiano Storni: Rethinking the Role of Users in ICT Design: Reflections for the Internet
  • James Stewart/Laurence Claeys: Problems and Opportunities of Interdisciplinary Work Involving Users in Speculative Research for Innovation of Novel ICT Applications
  • Marinka Vangenck/Jo Pierson/Wendy Van den Broeck/Bram Lievens: User-Driven Innovation in the Case of Three-Dimensional Urban Environments
  • Mijke Slot: Web Roles Re-examined: Exploring User Roles in the Media Environment
  • Philip Ely/David Frohlich/Nicola Green: Uncertainty, Upheavals and Upgrades: Digital-DIY during Life-change
  • Eva K. Törnquist: In Search of Elks and Birds: Two Case Studies on the Creative Use of ICT in Sweden
  • Levente Szekely/Agnes Urban: Over the Innovators and Early Adopters: Incentives and Obstacles of Internet Usage
  • James Stewart/Richard Coyne/Penny Travlou/Mark Wright/Henrik Ekeus: The Memory Space and the Conference: Exploring Future Uses of Web2.0 and Mobile Internet through Design Interventions
  • Sanna Martilla/Kati Hyyppä/Kari-Hans Kommonen: Co-Design of a Software Toolkit for Media Practices: P2P-Fusion Case Study
  • Ike Picone: Mapping Users’ Motivations and Thresholds for Casually «Produsing» News
  • Stijn Bannier: The Musical Network 2.0 & 3.0
  • Enid Mante-Meijer/Jo Pierson/Eugène Loos: Conclusion: Substantiating User Empowerment

Authors

  • Jo Pierson is Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Department of Communication Studies / SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication)
  • Enid Mante-Meijer is emeritus Professor at Utrecht University – Utrecht School of Governance
  • Eugène Loos is Professor at the University of Amsterdam – Department of Communication Science / ASCoR (Amsterdam School of Communication Research).