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Location-dependent services for mobile users

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4 Author(s)
Cabri, G. ; Univ. of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Italy ; Leonardi, L. ; Mamei, M. ; Zambonelli, F.

One of the main issues in mobile services' research (M-service) is supporting M-service availability, regardless of the user's context (physical location, device employed, etc.). However, most scenarios also require the enforcement of context-awareness, to dynamically adapt M-services depending on the context in which they are requested. In this paper, we focus on the problem of adapting M-services depending on the users' location, whether physical (in space) or logical (within a specific distributed group/application). To this end, we propose a framework to model users' location via a multiplicity of local and active service contexts. First, service contexts represent the mean to access to M-services available within a physical locality. This leads to an intrinsic dependency of M-service on the users' physical location. Second, the execution of service contexts can be tuned depending on who is requesting what M-service. This enables adapting M-services to the logical location of users (e.g., a request can lead to different executions for users belonging to different groups/applications). The paper firstly describes the framework in general terms, showing how it can facilitate the design of distributed applications involving mobile users as well as mobile agents. Then, it shows how the MARS coordination middleware, implementing service contexts in terms of programmable tuple spaces, can be used to develop and deploy applications and M-services coherently with the above framework. A case study is introduced and discussed through the paper to clarify our approach and to show its effectiveness.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 6 )