Introduction to Pervasive Computing

Pervasive Computing is also called as Ubiquitous computing, and it is the new trend toward embedding everyday objects with microprocessors so that they can communicate information. It refers to the presence of computers in common objects found all around us so that people are unaware of their presence. All these devices communicate with each other over wireless networks without the interaction of the user.

Pervasive computing is a combination of three technologies, namely:

  1. Micro electronic technology:
    This technology gives small powerful device and display with low energy consumption.
  2. Digital communication technology:
    This technology provides higher bandwidth, higher data transfer rate at lower costs and with world wide roaming.
  3. The Internet standardization:
    This standardization is done through various standardization bodies and industry to give the framework for combining all components into an interoperable system with security, service and billing systems.

Thus, wireless communication, consumer electronics and computer technology were all merged into one to create a new environment called pervasive computing environment. It helps to access information and render modern administration in areas that do not have a traditional wire-based computing environment.

Pervasive computing is the next dimension of personal computing in the near future, and it will definitely change and improve our work environment and communication methods.

Pervasive computing will provide us with small portable personal assistant devices having high speed, wireless communication, lower power consumption rate, data storage in persistent memory, coin sized disk device, small color display video and speech processing technology. All these features will give the users freedom to effectively communicate and access information from any place in the world at any time.



Key Characteristics of Pervasive computing:

  1. Many devices can be integrated into one system for multi-purpose uses.
  2. A huge number of various interfaces can be used to build an optimized user interface.
  3. Concurrent operation of online and offline supported.
  4. A large number of specialized computers are integrated through local buses and Internet.
  5. Security elements are added to prevent misuse and unauthorized access.
  6. Personalization of functions adapts the systems to the user’s preferences, so that no PC knowledge is required of the user to use and manage the system.

These type of functions can be extended into network operations for use in workplace, home and mobile environments.

Applications:
There are a rising number of pervasive devices available in the market nowadays. The areas of application of these devices include:

  • Retail
  • Airlines booking and check-in
  • Sales force automation
  • Healthcare
  • Tracking
  • Car information System
  • Email access via WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and voice.

For example, in retail industry, there is a requirement for faster and cheaper methods to bring goods to the consumer from stores via Internet. Mobile computers are provided with bar code readers for tracking the product during manufacture. Currently consumers use computers to select products. In future, they will use PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) and pervasive devices in the domestic markets too. When they complete writing the list of items to be bought on these devices, this list can then be sent to the supermarket, and purchase can be delivered to the consumer. The advantages of this are faster processing of data and execution of data mining.

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