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Middleware for Social Networking on Mobile Devices

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3 Author(s)
Brooker, D. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand ; Carey, T. ; Warren, I.

Two significant but independent trends in recent years are the popularity of social networking applications and the adoption of mobile devices, notably smart phones. The current generation of smart phones are pocket computers that, compared to their predecessors, are relatively well resourced. Existing support for social networking tends to take the form of Web-based applications that are accessed from the desktop. Our interests are in leveraging today's smart phone as a platform for hosting social networking applications. To this end we have developed a middleware solution that includes i) communication and service hosting infrastructure and ii) a context-aware framework. The infrastructure resolves challenges encountered when hosting services on 3G networks offered by mobile network operators. In addition, the middleware includes mechanisms to promote application scalability, availability, and responsiveness - and generally conserves smart phone resources such as power supply and network bandwidth. The context-aware framework is extensible and allows an open-ended set of context items and context sources to be managed. This framework allows context data, such as user location and activity, to be propagated around a user community. Performance experiments have validated the middleware, demonstrating that it can satisfy the requirements for scalability, availability, and responsiveness. A small user study has confirmed interest in the use of mobile devices to deliver social networking services; the study has also raised concerns - in particular security and privacy - relating to the platform.

Published in:

Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC), 2010 21st Australian

Date of Conference:

6-9 April 2010