Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: how far are operative IoT-based systems?

Prof. Boavida, Technical Program Chair at Mobiquitous 2015 and Professor at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, explains how functional IoT-based systems are far to be achieved: most emerging systems and applications are still platform-specific and/or application-specific and are not able to support people-to people interactions.

The Mobiquitous 2015 Conference that recently took place in Coimbra reflected the growing worldwide interest in Internet and the need to address the challenges that the development of open and smart platforms entail. The presented research works also addressed emerging research problems such as sensor-based systems and applications, ambient-assisted living, context awareness, smart environments, location awareness, energy management and efficiency.

Above all, the main result of the conference and the key to future achievements in the ubiquitous systems research and also the key to the development of new products is to pursue collaborative research.

Read more about Mobiquitous 2015 and the upcoming 2016 conference.

Read the full interview below.

What is the status of the research in Ubiquitous Systems emerging from the papers presented this year at MOBIQUITOUS 2015?

Research in ubiquitous systems and mobility is still in its rising phase, meaning that there is a large and very active Worldwide community of researchers addressing established as well as emerging research problems in this field. Naturally, this is the result of the growing interest in an Internet that now supports communication between all types of entities, such as people, computers, processes, smart objects, and simple devices such as sensors and actuators, making up a global cloud. In Mobiquitous 2015, many research problems and approaches were presented and discussed in areas, such as sensor-based systems and applications, ambient-assisted living, context awareness, smart environments, location awareness, energy management and efficiency. In addition, due to the ever-growing need of bandwidth, problems such as spectrum utilization, wireless connectivity and next generation cellular systems were also addressed.

Prof. Fernando Boavida, TPC at Mobiquitous 2015
Prof. Fernando Boavida, TPC at Mobiquitous 2015

Although the continuous efforts in the research and industry sectors related to sensing and mobile devices, the route to an operative IoT-based system is still long. What are the main challenges to deal with, in view to accelerate this evolution?

Current low-cost sensing technologies and IoT-related developments make it now possible to go from simple sensing and actuating applications to people-centric applications. Nevertheless, despite considerable advancement of the state-of-the-art, most emerging systems and applications are still platform-specific and/or application-specific. In this respect, the main overall challenges are the development of open, smart platforms able to support people-to-people and people-to-thing interactions, and the virtualization and sharing of physical and logical devices. Complementary challenges include connectivity, mobility and ubiquity, dynamic configuration and provisioning, device integration, scalability and expandability, dependability and fault tolerance, quality of service, data models and nomenclatures, user-centered analysis big data analysis and, last but not least, security and privacy.

In your opinion, what would be the best way to address all the synergies developed during the Conference, in order to concretize them in real products?

We must recognize that in many cases there will still be a long way before real products appear on the market. Fortunately, in other cases this will not be so. In any case, the best way to speed this process is to get all the interested parties involved in the research activities, i.e. research institutions, industry, application domain experts and users. Collaborative research is and will continue to be key to this. At the current stage of technological development, it is not possible to develop innovative products without contributions from all parties. Moreover, it is important to fight back the notion that the only kind of research and innovation that matters is the one that leads to immediate results. The world would be much different, for the worse, without research that lasted decades to lead to viable products and services. Examples are wireless communications, Boolean algebra, computers and the Internet itself.

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