Pervasive Computing: Why is it important for you

Posted on Posted in Strategy

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There was a time when best minds of computing world thought that world will need about three, or probably four computers. Today most of us carry a few computers in our pockets. These computers that we carry packs computing power that was unimaginable about fifty years ago. The world of interconnected pervasive computing has already arrived, only we are turning a blind eye towards this reality.

Pervasive computing can make many of our daily activities faster and more cost-efficient. In a home augmented by pervasive computing, smart lighting and air conditioning systems could contact worn sensors to monitor residents’ comfort levels. A pervasive computing system can reduce waste and aid environmentally sustainability. In a kitchen with pervasive computing, a refrigerator might communicate with cupboards, survey suitably tagged food items and plan menus using food available on hand. The refrigerator would warn owners about spoiled food. Communicating with the Internet, the system could inform humans about manufacturer recalls. Similarly, in a factory such a system can plan production schedule, order materials and call transport to collect materials when materials are ready to be shipped. All without any human intervention. Such technology is already available and will require minimal investment to implement.

Businesses, for example, already have computers to manage information and are increasingly using systems to collaborate over dispersed locations. The ability to access systems at the point of work, unbound to a desktop PC, is seen as critical by many organizations. Simultaneously, wireless networks are proliferating. Public wireless data networks like GPRS and CDMA2000 are being rolled out,  inexpensive Wi-Fi networks are rapidly turning up in corporate, private and public locations. On the hardware front, mobile devices are more capable and less expensive. New form factors like tablets and smart phones are present everywhere. Finally, computing power is also being embedded into everyday things such as cars, roads, cameras and vending machines. Many of these devices are on the network, sensing, monitoring, controlling and informing us about our environment. All we need is to connect them in intelligent manner and build the last mile bridges to form an end-to-end seamless intelligent link between  suppliers to customers.

There is one fear that probably stop us from going for pervasive computing network, that is the fear of privacy, or the loss of privacy. It is potentially difficult to implement pervasive computing while maintaining adequate privacy protections. Ubiquitous systems gather a great deal of sensitive  data, and managing this data involves navigating legal, technical and ethical challenges. Ubiquitous computing could create ethical dilemmas involving user consent. With few exceptions, individuals have traditionally used computer systems consensually. If computer systems become pervasive in all aspects of daily life, this could force people to engage without consent. Such interaction has its own potential problem. What we would probably see is connecting the systems with very limited access protocol and data being transmitted over encrypted channels. Such technology exists even at present. DeciGen Consulting Services help putting such technology in place to gain commercial benefit.

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