Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting an iPad

Finally, I also went out to get an iPad. The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue had many on display but none to sell. Asking for advice I received the blunt answer to try elsewhere but to no longer bother here, that’s how monopolist’s behave…

Finally I was “lucky” to get one after a third try in Soho. “iPad!? – this line!” – the usual dialog of going through pro’s and con’s of product was skipped, everybody in the line was “lucky” to get one, they even limited “2 per day per person” which was checked by credit card…

Finally, I got to try it out. First disappointment you have to connect to a PC first to set it up, thus I just could use it as a fancy mirror in the beginning. Then, I had to get an US iTunes account which is a little bit tricky without a US credit card. Then, I actually could start it. Besides the wow about the nice screen and sharp image, the question really was what to do know? It’s nice to access the web more comfortably from the couch now, but is this really worth a device? I was immediately reminded about the single vs. multi-purpose device discussion [1]…

…also this video has some nice arguments against iPad: experience shows that devices should be single-urpose. Yes, the pocket exception, the Swiss Pocket knife you carry around, but no multi-purpose in the kitchen, single-purpose usually is more specialized, more targeted, more useful:

[1] Dourish, P. 2001. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Friday, April 23, 2010

CfP - Context-Aware Intelligent Assistance (CAIA 2010)

Workshop held at the 33th Annual Conference on Artificial Intelligence (KI-2010)
September 21–24, 2010
Karlsruhe, Germany, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Workshop Web Site:

Welcome to CAIA 2010

Today, the internet gives access to huge amounts of time and location
related information, such as local events, time tables of various
means of transportation, or news. Additionally, social network sites,
such as Facebook or Twitter add even more information from friends and
peers tailored to certain social groups sharing common interests. The
vast adoption of mobile phones and smart phones provides a widely
deployed gateway to this cloud of information while being on the move
anytime anywhere. As the attention of mobile users is always split
among many simultaneous tasks, valuable location-based services have
to be tailored to the users’ current interests and needs.
In order to implement such a solution, several research areas must be
brought together.

  • Location based services are becoming accessible through mobile devicesvia the mobile network and make use of the geographical position of the mobile device in order to adapt their responses to the current location of the user.
  • Pervasive and ubiquitous computing aims at developing new models ofhuman-computer interaction that thoroughly integrate information processing into everyday objects and activities that may be located anywhere. “Intelligent” applications provide location, situation and user adaptive information and in this way greatly improve the ability of information systems to successfully assist users.
  • Mobile recommendation systems add another useful capability: they support a mobile user or a group of mobile users when making decisions ’on the go’, whereby they may leverage shared human experience, the ‘wisdom of the crowds’.
On the very bottom location data and context derived from various
sensors can act as an indicator for the user’s current activities. By
complementing the sensor data with domain knowledge of a specific
assistance scenario (like shopping, or health-care) we can go well
beyond this functionality: In assistance scenarios – in contrast to a
general setting – user activities can be assumed to be related to
certain well defined tasks. By formalizing those tasks and the related
user goals, additional meaning can be attributed to context
information. On this basis the integration of user preferences can be
achieved, keeping the user in the loop of control during concurring
and uncertain system states.

We shall emphasize that the fields and applications mentioned above
share similar problems, currently dealt with separately in the
distinct scientific communities.

Workshop Objectives

It is the goal of this workshop to bring together researchers from the
fields of recommender systems, pervasive computing, mobile computing,
urban sensing, social networking, context- aware systems and human
computer interaction in order to foster the development of mobile
services in context. The main matters are:
  • What is the nature of services provided to users on the move?
  • How do needs and interests depend on contextual parameters?
  • What levels of uncertainty have to be handled? / How is uncertainty handled? How can users configure and adapt systems’ recommendations? / How are preferences handled?

Topics of Interest

Topics include, but are not limited to:

• Formal models of preferences and contexts
- Reasoning about preferences in contexts
- Context modeling
- User preference oriented route planning
• User needs and applications
- location based services
- social networks
- navigation and planning of transportation
• Mobile recommendations
- collaborative filtering
- Interaction of social networks and mobile recommendation
- Mobile feedback and interpretation of user tags
- Semantic aggregation of web 2.0 information and services
- Group recommendations
• Reasoning
- Case based reasoning in mobile recommendation
- Mobile speech technology and NLP
- Dynamic environmental attributes (DEA)
- Multiple goal recommendation
- Event ontologies

Demos and applications are most welcome!

Important Dates

Deadline for Submission: July 15, 2010
Notification of Authors: August 1, 2010
Final Version of Papers: September 1, 2010
Workshop: TBA. Between September 21 and 24, 2010
Conference: September 21-24, 2010

Submission Details

Papers should be formatted according to the Springer LNCS
guidelines. The length of each paper should be between 5 and 10
pages. All papers must be written in English and submitted in PDF
format via


The papers will be published on the workshop web site. Further publication options will be determined later.

Workshop Organization

Bernd Ludwig, Univ. Erlangen
Stefan Mandl, Univ. Erlangen
Florian Michahelles, ETH Zurich

Programme Committee

Florian Alt, Univ. Duisburg-Essen
Oliver Amft, TU Eindhoven
Alexandra Brintrup, Univ. Oxford
David Elsweiler, Univ. Erlangen
Günther Görz, Univ. Erlangen
Tatsuya Inaba, Univ. Keio
Paul Holleis, NTT Docomo Europe Labs
Thomas Kirste, Univ. Rostock
Rob van Kranenburg, Founder of Council
Matthias Kranz, TU München
Kristof van Laerhoven, TU Darmstadt
Marc Langheinrich, USI
Alexander De Luca, LMU München
Carsten Magerkurth, SAP Research
Marcus Meyerhöfer, IT2Media
Alexander Meschtscherjakov, Univ. Salzburg
Jörg Müller - T-Lab
Hans Jürgen Ohlbach, LMU München
Felix von Reischach, SAP Research, ETH Zurich
Francesco Ricci, Univ. Bozen-Bolzano
Christoph Schlieder, Univ. Bamberg
Ute Schmid, Univ. Bamberg
Edmund W. Schuster, MIT

my2cents released: comment and twitter about products

Finally, Stephan Karpischek has released my2cents for Android. my2cents connects consumers and their opinions about products: they use their mobile phones to read EAN/UPC barcodes and enter a short comment to be shared among social networks, e.g. Twitter. Watching the livestreams of comments should be very interesting as diffusion and adaption start to happen. Please install from Android Market:
See also our poster [1] at Pervasive 2010.

[1] My 2 cents - sharing comments about retail products on Twitter, Stephan Karpischek, Anton Rau, Florian Michahelles, Pervasive 2010, Helsinki, May 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What the Internet of Things is not....

Tomas Sanchez Lopez from the Auto-ID Lab Cambridge writes about what the internet of things is not. From my point of view he has five good arguments...
  1. IoT should no longer free-ride on Weiser's ubicomp term - whereas there are similarities Weiser much more focuses on the user aspect and seamless integration instead of networked things
  2. IoT also goes beyond network protocols as it aims at integrating heterogeneous technologies.
  3. Whereas these technologies provide the basis for IoT they still do not ressemble the IoT, as to get the IoT working a range of services, e.g. discovery services, are necessary.
  4. The same argument applies for embedded devices, they augment things by sensing - but again it's the context of things these nodes are being used to make sense out them
  5. Applications are not the IoT, well, philosphically this should be right, but generally applications are always a nice way to communicate visions - they are actually necessary drive business and development.
I would still like to add social networks making sense of user's preferences and relationship to each other, a very important component to also expand the IoT beyond business corporations to everyday users. Concerning enablers, there is no way around mobile technologies, especially mobile phones, our daily companions. Yes, mobile phones are NOT the IoT but a major gateway to services and urban sensing.
What I actually would like to emphasize most are the business aspects. The entire hype about RFID and urban sensing using mobile phones was mainly driven by business opportunities. Companies saw a new era of gaining insights into their business processes and to optimize their supply-chains accordingly. Right, RFID adoption has not happened the way is has been predicted 10 years ago, but it still is probably the most widely deployed IoT technology. In the long run to get IoT out of the labs and out of the hands of technical visionaries, business needs and applications have to be identified in order to drive the development.
What could that be?
  1. see things you haven't seen before - visualize product flows, energy, carbon footprint, any kind of information bound to things and locations, e.g. using AR
  2. find things you might have forgotten - track & trace history, time series of sensor data
  3. share things you might have been too lazy before - crowdsourcing and mashups of user-generated data, comments/opinions to things, movement patterns
  4. finally, have even more precise information about what's going in order to act accordingly
Of course, if there wouldn't be challenges, it wouldn't be a research topic - hopefully, we can stimulate theses discussions at IoT2010 in Japan later this year...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking for references about Twitter and Co?

Finally, I got directed to a nice list of references about Twitter and Microblogging, very useful for future papers:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Someone did a youtube video on AppAware - Thank you very much!

Youtube has really become great channel to also visualize and illustrate research results in a very self-describing way. However, the really new experience for me was to see someone else doing a video on our Appaware application (btw, thanks to our 20.000 users we are have collected more than 1 million events!). It's really very well done, to the point and correct - Thank you very much, Adroinica!:

Probably the next step now is to find someone writing the papers for us;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The killer app for robots: folding towles

We had been wondering for a quite a while what robots could actually be good for in the household. Throughout the last years the succesfull examples have been the vaccum ceaner Roomba and a number of lawn mowers. Now there is another application, folding towels - look impressive!

And it's not an April joke