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Extensibility as a Collaboration Enabler: A Case Study for Group-Context-Aware Mobile Applications

This presentation was created for the SATURN conference series and does not necessarily reflect the positions and views of the Software Engineering Institute.


Context-aware mobile applications can sense and respond to changes in environment or context. An example is a location-based application that uses GPS coordinates to define the information displayed to mobile users based on their current location. Our work focuses on the integration of an individual's context with that of nearby individuals operating as part of a group or unit, such as in the military or first-responder situations. This integrated context can then be used to enhance the precision of information provided to users and give a more complete picture of the status of a mission. Given the early stages of the research process when there are many unknowns, we defined extensibility as the main architectural driver. 

This work has provided the ability to leverage the architecture to support collaboration. By identifying extensibility scenarios early in the design process, we were able to construct an architecture that supports multi-organizational collaboration to construct and evaluate different pieces of the architecture: context data models, context sources such as sensors, context reasoning engines and rules, and context visualization activities. This has allowed us to reach out to researchers from multiple universities and industry, resulting in synergistic research and development furthering the goals of all participants.