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A distributed location system for the active office

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2 Author(s)
A. Harter ; Olivetti Res. Ltd., Cambridge, UK ; A. Hopper

Distributed systems for locating people and equipment will be at the heart of tomorrow's active offices. Computer and communications systems continue to proliferate in the office and home. Systems are varied and complex, involving wireless networks and mobile computers. However, systems are underused because the choices of control mechanisms and application interfaces are too diverse. It is therefore pertinent to consider which mechanisms might allow the user to manipulate systems in simple and ubiquitous ways, and how computers can be made more aware of the facilities in their surroundings. Knowledge of the location of people and equipment within an organization is such a mechanism. Annotating a resource database with location information allows location-based heuristics for control and interaction to be constructed. This approach is particularly attractive because location techniques can be devised that are physically unobtrusive and do not rely on explicit user action. The article describes the technology of a system for locating people and equipment, and the design of a distributed system service supporting access to that information. The application interfaces made possible by or that benefit from this facility are presented.<>

Published in:

IEEE Network  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 1 )