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The possibilities for applications of pervasive computing are only limited by our imagination. Pervasive computing has a vast implementation area and it has the ability to apply in almost every walk of life. Many imaginative scenarios may be illustrated and such scenarios help in recognizing the many possibilities. Let us briefly define three pertinent visionary scenarios falling in three different application domains i.e. home, automotive and health.
A home application scenario: You arrive at home, tired after a day’s cumbersome job.
At the doorsteps, the house identification system activates and identifies you and unlocks the door. Your face fatigue level is recognized and accordingly the home entertainment system starts playing your favorite relaxing songs, and the artwork on the electronic wallboards with soothing images of nature gets on. As you enter the bathroom, you are asked if a warm bath should be started. As you enter the kitchen, the display on the refrigerator door suggests a light meal and a specific recipe on the basis of the available ingredients in the refrigerator and fitting your mood.
If you accept the suggestion, step by step instructions are displayed, helping you through the steps of the recipe. Once you place the bowl on the stove, the temperature is automatically adjusted to control the cooking time on the basis of your decision whether to take a bath. As you enter the bedroom for sleep, the room temperature is automatically adjusted despite of hot or cold weather situation outside. In such a way, the environment of the house comes under the individual’s command.
An automotive scenario: You are driving to a distant area for a two week vacation. You plan to explore the area by car during your stay. On the way, your engine detects a fault in vehicle. It flashes a warning sign to you cautioning you to drive more carefully and starts a diagnostic procedure. It detects the damaged parts and sends a report to your car manufacturer. The manufacturer locates the garage nearest to your location and dispatches the part to the garage from a nearby shop. The garage sends a replacement car to meet you on the highway. In the meantime, the police have been notified to look for possible traffic routes in your area. The car display directs you to a specific parking area off the highway to meet the driver that delivers your replacement car. You continue on your vacation and the driver takes your car to the garage. Once the car is repaired, it will be delivered to your hotel, using the information from your program posted by your travel agent, aided by the positioning system in your car.
A health scenario: Your health monitor possibly installed in your watch, notices that your blood sugar is suddenly elevated. It starts to monitor other conditions more closely to uncover possible causes and potential problems. It contacts your medicine cabinet to ensure that you have adequate medicine in your home and contacts the pharmacy for additional medicine if necessary. It reports the change to your electronic medical record and sends a short message to your doctor, informing the doctor of your current location and evening plans in case the doctor needs to contact you. Back at home, the kitchen notifies the refrigerator to mark all sweets in your home off-limit for you and suggests a healthy recipe for the evening
Pervasive computing environments have several unique requirements as follows:
Pervasive computing aims at invisibility in data processing operations. In non-transparent systems, the input and output devices are pure artifacts like mouse, keyboards and monitor etc. So application processing in such system involves direct interaction of a user e.g. opening a browser by mouse, selecting an element in a web page, setting audio-video encoding mechanism, text inputs, page printing and entering authentication information (login and password). In pervasive applications, users are more close to a natural interaction with the system. Instead of login/password textbox entry mechanism for authentication, biometric (finger/thumb based) security is a field aiming at making authentication of users in a natural way. It removes the login and password mechanism between the user and the computer. To identify an individual, it scans different parts of body for user’s authentication. Such authentication methods is based on physical measurement instead of text based inputs and comparisons. Other important authentication mechanism in pervasive application includes face/voice recognition and, voice printing etc. By doing this, we ease the interaction mechanism between users and the computers and consequently, computers become a natural blend in human’s day to day life.
There are also other applications in which interaction mechanism with processing units are naturalized. The electronic white-board project called Classroom 2000 is another example of interaction transparency. An electronic white board has been designed that looks and feel like a white board rather than a computer. With ideal transparency of interaction, the writer would just pick up a marker and start writing with no plug in, no login, and no configuration. To achieve transparency of interaction, advanced hardware and software tools are needed such as handwriting recognition, gesture recognition, speech recognition, free from pen interaction and tangible user interfaces.
Context awareness translates to adaptation of the behavior of an application as a function of its current environment. This environment can be characterized as a physical location, an orientation or a user profile. A context-aware application can sense the environment and interpret the events that occur within it. In a mobile and wireless computing environment, changes of location and orientation are frequent. With pervasive computing, a physical device can be a personal belonging, identified and long-term personalized to its user (such as a cell phone or a PDA) or shared among several users and personalized solely for the duration of a session (such as an electronic white-board).
The project Cyber-guide is a pervasive computing application that exploits awareness of the current physical location. It impersonates on a PDA the services provided by a human tour guide when visiting a new location. Context-aware components can sense who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and use that information to adapt their services to your needs. Mobility and services on demand are greatly impacted by the location of the devices and the requested services. Examples range from relatively simple device following services such as phone call forwarding to the location of the device, to more complex issues of detecting locations of available services and selecting the optimal location for obtaining the services, such as printing services. The complexity of the problem increases when both the service users and the service devices are mobile. These problems require active and dynamic system configuration. The dynamics of such system are complex because it requires not only system reconfiguration and low level configuration, e.g., multiple communication and security protocols, but also service detection and monitoring in order to provide the best available services. Capture and storage of past experiences can be used to solve new problems in the future. Experiences are made of events and computers have the ability to record them automatically. Human users only have to recall that information from the computer when it is needed. For example, a context-aware electronic wallet could capture and store locations, times, and descriptions of payments made by a traveler. Back home, the traveler could use the recorded events to generate an expense report.
A distributed system includes resources, resource managers, and clients. A resource may correspond for instance to a printer, a window on a software application or a data element. Telecommunications networks are the infrastructure on which distributed systems are relied. In general each resource is located on a network node and can be used remotely from other nodes using telecommunications. These telecommunication setups facilitate nodes to maintain connectivity. A resource manager is a piece of software responsible for the administration of a type of resource. It has a telecommunications interface through which users access and update the resources. A manager also enforces access policies associated with each type of resource. The concept of component is based on the concept of object. As an object, a component is a logical entity containing information and capable of executing operations on it. A subset of the operations is accessible to the environment of a component and constitutes its interface. A call to an operation by a client of a component, a process or another component, is achieved through the transmission of a message intercepted by the interface that dispatches the request to a method associated with the operation. The method eventually returns a response to the caller. A component deserves a new term because it is more than a normal object. An object is a unit of software reusable, without pain, as long as the hosting software is written in the same language, is on the same platform, and is co-located with the object. A distributed component infrastructure facilitates the reuse of software units, called components, across programming languages, operating systems, and network nodes. According to the distributed component model, resources, local or remote, are abstracted as components. A uniform syntax is used to call the components, whether or not they are in the same program, process or network node. This is called access transparency. In contrast to a client-server model, in which the client talks to a server process, in the distributed component model the client talks to a remote object that exists within a container process. That container process can embed several objects. Every component has a unique identity. A component can be mobile, i.e. its host can change, to improve the performance of fault tolerance. When the location of a component is changed, its identity is invariant. This is called transparency of migration. Moreover, in contrast to a client-server model, the naming scheme is uniform and doesn’t change from of type of resource to another.
The essence of pervasive computing is hidden in distributed systems. For a pervasive system nodes are interconnected through a network having independent processing which later cooperate to undertake desired goal.
Protocols are standards which governs communication. Open protocols are required by pervasive computing for esta
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