Pervasive computing also known as ubiquitous computing might be some new terms to all of you but I am sure the concept is not new to anyone these days. Let me paint you a picture of how our daily life works.
We wake up and search for our phones, see our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, scroll a little. We take our phones everywhere, at schools, offices, parks, trips, and even at death ceremonies. Whenever we come back home we instantly hop on our cozy couches and switch on our laptop to watch movies, play games or even just to listen to the latest music.
Amazingly, we so much rely upon these systems that we have stopped memorizing the spellings, telephone numbers, email addresses and even the locations and paths in our city because we know that we have something which knows it all.
The above example is pointing towards one of the ubiquitous computing examples. Let ’s get into the details of it.
Definition of pervasive systems:
The type of computing, which is present everywhere and in which the boundary between the users and the computer system interfaces is very blurred. They follow all the properties of a distributed computing system but they have a very unique essence of their own.
Characteristics of pervasive systems:
If we start listing all the pervasive computing devices from the above-mentioned scenario, we will get mobile phones; tablet PCs, laptops, Bluetooth speakers, GPS systems.
What is common between all of these devices?
How can a GPS have characteristics like a mobile phone?
If we observe closely the first and most important characteristic will be their small size. You will hardly find any pervasive computing application in which the devices will occupy a large space. Their size allows them to be more portable and user-friendly.
Mobility is what has made these systems so cutting edge that it is as hard as impossible to keep up without these now. It will be really scary to wake up one day and see that there is no cell phone, internet or a laptop present anymore.
As we speak of portability, here comes another very implicit common quality of being battery powered. I can safely speak that every battery powered gadget and computing device you have ever seen will depict some more ubiquitous examples.
And lastly, they are wireless. They need no wires unless it is for the recharging.
How they work?
Pervasive systems have usually a good control over a small geographical space because they consist of the devices which are effortlessly and implicitly distributed into the environment. Internet of things is a perfect example of the above arrangement.
All our devices have sensors who receive information either through user input or they just observe the environment and send the data to the centrally connected cloud of all our devices.
To make things a little easier to grasp, let’s take the example of your Gmail account which is connected to your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube on your home laptop or work PC, and WhatsApp, Viber, IMO, Uber and “Google Drive” on your mobile phone or the tablet PC.
Each connected device is sending and saving your behavior and activities on the google drive which is cloud storage. It has your location, contacts, photos, videos, and even your interests and likes dislikes. That is also termed as context aware computing. Even the screen brightness “auto” option is its example because it observes and adjusts the light according to your physical environment.
So we can deduce that this kind of system so unlike to other distributed systems because we cannot completely define a single and dedicated system-user interface in it.
Why go with pervasive computing?
It is simply because it is very ambient and easy to use. Also, it has doubled the efficiency of computer systems overall. The major advantage is that it does not require any human intervention to manage the network of things. The devices talk to each other automatically.
Some unique applications
Face Recognition authentication:
Temperature Control Systems:
So here comes a question. Is there any red flag too?
Of course, there is a huge security red flag with which the technology is so intelligently turning our brains into dummies. We are becoming more and more addictive to the technology and lost our independence because we are outsourcing even the most basic memory functions of our mind.
Although, the tons and tons of data sitting on the internet can be useful to some extent, but also the chances of our digital footprints being used to control our perspective and monetizing our interests are more than we can possibly imagine.
You never know when your mind will start paying attention to buy the product which you did not like when you searched it in 2015. The frequent showing of its advertisement might convince you to buy it someday. So a single search lying in your search history can easily become a source of revenue without you even knowing it.
This kind of unethical and unknown usage of our activity raises an unanswered question.
“Are we better with or without ubiquitous computing?”
Do tell us what you think in the comments below.