Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Keynote at PerCom2016 by Bo Begole: The Dawn of Responsive Media

Bo Begole is VP at Huawei is presenting a Keynote PerCom2016 on “The Dawn of Responsive Media”. He has worked in the Ubicomp domain for over 20 years. At PARC he investigated Contextual Intelligence as a logical follow-up of making context-awareness smarter and actionable. Aiming at “harvesting” the Ubicomp research at PARC he looked at business cases and business opportunities for Ubicomp, which resulted in his book “Ubiquitous Compting for Business”[1].

At Huawei his focus is on immersion and experience. He started out with outlining how people like “lean back experience” and how this is well supported by current technology. He argues that the traditional remote control supports this still more liked than gestures and people like this form of lazy media consumption. There is also a growth in “learn forward” experience, basically requiring high intensity interaction (e.g. gesture control, body activated games) that asked the user to be active. He reasons that the space in-between may be an interesting and important for future products.

In his talk Bo looked at a short history of Ubicomp and VR and spoke on to current developments and the buzz in the industry. It seems to many that VR/AR is the next huge thing changing media consumption and media sharing fundamentally, like moving from text to images. He puts up an interesting question on whether or not a second life like world is coming back? Many of us still remember the excitement (and investments) around second life the first time round.

Bo is confident that games are the killer application for VR and that hence it will sell very well. Once the technology is out with the users there will be further uses. At the same time, he questions if spatial placement (like in the HoloLens concepts seen in the media) is really helping people to organize their things, activities and data or not.

For immersive technology in the home he sees that high resolution screen will play a major role alongside mobile technologies. MirrorSys is an example of a research project of an immersive communication system. Key aspects are live sized presentation of people and a visualization that is close to the upper bounds of human perception. His calculations for the display is to have 30000 x 24000 pixel (=720 Mega pixel) as the upper bound for perception without head movement (this is roughly a factor 10 more than we have in the lab in Stuttgart [2]). At the same time camera technology is advancing towards high spatial and temporal resolution and towards camera arrays that allow you to move around the scene. He had some impressive examples of what you can do with a camera array that simultaneously captures scenes and allows you to navigate through scenes from different angles.

In his view speech interaction is also gaining more importance – moving towards conversational systems with a deep language understanding. He makes the point that especially with many devices in the Internet of Things (without classical user interface) this will play a more important role.

Finally, he suggested that user engagement is a key for responsive media. So far this has been a key in presenting advertising to customers. In the future this will be central to many applications, as the systems will optimize for engagement with the user and will adapt their content and presentation to ensure that the user is and stays engaged.

The research roadmap he presents is pretty wide with a lot of open issues to be solved.

[1] Begole, Bo. Ubiquitous Computing for Business: Find New Markets, Create Better Businesses, and Reach Customers Around the World 24-7-365. Ft Press, 2011.
[2] Power Wall at the University of Stuttgart,

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Keynote by Cecilia Mascolo at Percom2016: Technology and Experiecne in the Physcial World

Cecilia Mascolo presents the keynote at Percom2016. Her opening statement is: “Technology must enhance and not substitute the physical experience”.

Cecilia makes the point that continuous sensing with mobile devices can overcome many issue that are well known with traditional studies (especially the classical problem of psychologist studying psychology students in a dark lab). One of here early papers (EmotionSense, see [1]) shows how we can move studies into the real world. This is not without difficulties, especially when you try to understand emotions.

Putting research apps into android market changes the game, large numbers of users become within reach. Higher numbers of participants require a clear purpose of the applications (Nielse Henze provide in [2] a nice recipe of how to do this). Her experience is that user engagement through gamification really worked. Even if the duration of participation of individuals is limited to weeks or months this generates very useful information. A short introduction to social sensing by Cecilia can be found in [3].

Different sensors have different energy and privacy cost and also different types of contributions. Correlating the accelerometer and happiness is really interesting. Users who are more active (not just movement, “being out and about”) are happier. Clustering accelerometer data and correlating it with other high level data opens exciting questions, e.g. health. Similarly correlating happiness and location leads to more surprising results: less happy at home and work, more when out and active. Looking at people’s personally and demographics shows that gender, age, employment, etc. has a clear correlation with activity and usage of communication.

Physical space matters! Using active badges they looked at how the change of physical space can impact peoples interactions [4]. The sensing approach allowed to understand how changes in physical space changes the behavior on a really fine grained level.

[1] Rachuri, K. K., Musolesi, M., Mascolo, C., Rentfrow, P. J., Longworth, C., & Aucinas, A. (2010, September). EmotionSense: a mobile phones based adaptive platform for experimental social psychology research. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM international conference on Ubiquitous computing (pp. 281-290). ACM.
[2] Henze, N., Shirazi, A. S., Schmidt, A., Pielot, M., & Michahelles, F. (2013). Empirical research through ubiquitous data collection. Computer, 46(6), 0074-76.
[3] Mascolo, C. (2010). The power of mobile computing in a social era. IEEE Internet Computing, 14(6), 76.
[4] Brown, C., Efstratiou, C., Leontiadis, I., Quercia, D., Mascolo, C., Scott, J., & Key, P. (2014, September). The architecture of innovation: Tracking face-to-face interactions with ubicomp technologies. In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (pp. 811-822). ACM.