Collaboration framework for a context-aware environment with multi-device enabled applications


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Towson University. Department of Computer and Information Sciences


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With the proliferation of smart computing equipment, the range of intelligent application services is widely expanding with continuous attempts to make the best use of the contextual information from individual data sources. Accordingly, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies are combined with the contextual information to enhance the accuracy and availability of many smart services. Another remarkable phenomenon is the explosively growing number of smartphone users, who stay connected to the Internet and interact with service providers at all times. This environment requires us to recognize a certain situation when receiving contextual information from various sensors and mobile communication devices. Additionally, the situation needs to make any related services activated and collaborated. First, this research attempts to present an intelligently coordinating framework maintaining RFID-enabled applications. According to technology development, the framework has been evolved to the collaboration framework for a context-aware environment with multi-device enabled applications. A variety of sensor data such as RFID tag events, sensing data from USN (Universal Sensor Network) sensor devices, and location information or instantaneous service requests from a wide range of mobile communication devices can be managed within the framework, the XCREAM (XLogic Collaborative RFID/USN-Enabled Adaptive Middleware). It enables us to develop various applications including an emergency rescue system, a smart facility management system, a frequent mobility supporting system, a multi-agent collaboration system, and a personalized mobile security/safety system. Upon receiving an event, the framework classifies the event based on the XOntology model, analyzes its contextual status with the existing facts (events) and knowledge (rules), and relates the contextual information to the appropriate actions (services). The event's associated service(s) is registered to the framework through the common interface of the XLogic script language, which increases the flexibility and interoperability across the extended framework environment, encompassing multiple application services. In order to support the context-awareness scheme, the XOnt agent has been integrated into the existing XCREAM framework. It examines all the collected events to see if they correspond to any conditions of certain rule(s) that could trigger associated actions of the rule(s). The XOnt agent will be seamlessly integrated with the XOntology in the Phase II XOnt agent. This research introduces the Context-Aware Inference (CAI) model based on general situation analysis. The situation analysis is used as the context-aware mobile security option which is applicable when developing mobile security-focused applications. The performance and collaboration validity tests have been performed on the simulation environment of the XCREAM framework. The test results show that the framework works well in a collaborative service environment in which many heterogeneous application services and multiple event sources are complicatedly related with each other. The major contribution of this research is the construction of the scenario-based collaboration framework for a context-aware environment. Most importantly, the framework communicates with multi-device enabled applications through the XLogic script language, which is developed as a multi-device access scheme and used to compose service scenarios. Further the simulation has been accomplished to prove the performance and the collaboration validity of the framework. In order to support context-awareness, the rule-based context awareness scheme has been introduced within the XOnt agnet. In addition, the application of an ontology scheme is expected to enhance the availability of the contextual information and support future development of the finely customized services by combining the ontology scheme with the rule-based scheme of the framework.