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Lessons Learned from Online Social Networking of Physical Things


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Social networking is a core part of the global online experience. The Web 2.0 has been transformed into a social Web, extending the social capabilities of users. A big challenge for the Web is to become ubiquitous, blended with the everyday life of people. The Pervasive Web would be effectively enabled when physical things are seamlessly connected to the Web, offering real-world services to users.
In a previous work, we examined the feasibility of utilizing existing online social networking platforms, to create a social
smart home that promotes sharing of sensor and household devices between family members.
In this presentation, we present some early experiences obtained from developing two real-world social applications, the first
for environmental monitoring in a farm and the second for increasing energy awareness by sharing electricity consumption information between friends. Through these two deployments, we demonstrate the potential benefits of giving a social texture
to pervasive applications.
This work has been presented at the Sixth International Conference on Broadband and Wireless Computing, Communication and Applications (BWCCA), Barcelona, Spain, October 2011.

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Lessons Learned from Online Social Networking of Physical Things

  1. 1. Lessons Learned from Online Social Networking of Physical ThingsAndreas Kamilaris, Diomidis Papadiomidous andAndreas Pitsillides Networks Research Laboratory University of Cyprus BWCCA 2011, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2. Motivation University of Cyprus Embedded Computing... ... merged with Physical Objects
  3. 3. Motivation University of CyprusBut also merged with the Web!
  4. 4. Motivation University of CyprusBut also merged with the Web!
  5. 5. Motivation University of CyprusBut also merged with the Web!
  6. 6. Motivation University of CyprusThe Semantic Web The Pervasive Web
  7. 7. Motivation University of CyprusThe Pervasive Web“The user can access informationand interact with every connecteddevice and the global communityin an ubiquitous way.”“Users will be able to know the rightcontent, at the right time, in the rightplace and on the right device.”Web-enablement of physical things.Seamless connectivity and interaction with them.
  8. 8. Motivation University of Cyprus• Two thirds of global Internet Population visit Social Networking Sites (SNS).• Facebook has more than 400 million active users!Social networking has become a fundamentalpart of the global online experience.The Web 2.0 is a social Web!
  9. 9. Motivation University of Cyprus• SNS can constitute a driver for the transition to the Pervasive Web• The missing element of SNS for ubiquitous interaction with the environment is the inclusion of physical things to their interfaces.• Online social networks can be transformed into shared smart spaces.• Social relationships between people can be extended to social relationships with their physical devices.
  10. 10. Background Information University of Cyprus • The Web of Things. • Reuse of well accepted Web principles. • Embedding Web servers on physical things. • Representational State Transfer (REST). • RESTful, open API. • Extending Web mashups into physical mashups. • Combining physical mashups with SNS API.
  11. 11. Developing Pervasive SNS University of CyprusCore Elements:• SNS• Open Web API• SNS Applications• Web Mashups – Physical Mashups• Web-enabled Physical Devices (Directly Vs Gateways)• Device/Service Discovery• Web Services (WS-* Vs REST)
  12. 12. Developing Pervasive SNS University of CyprusGeneral Architecture:
  13. 13. Real-World Social Applications University of CyprusEnvironmental Monitoring Social Energy Awareness
  14. 14. Environmental Monitoring University of Cyprus • Monitor the environmental conditions of the greenhouse of the organic farm. • Control of the lamps through Plogg smart meters. • Awareness about temperature, humidity and illumination in the greenhouse through Telosb sensor motes.
  15. 15. Environmental Monitoring University of Cyprus• RESTful Web Services• RESTlet Web Framework for Java• 6LoWPAN in TinyOS based on blip Resource URI REST Method Parameters Values Return Value Temperature GET - - text/plain Humidity GET - - text/plain Illumination GET - - text/plain Leds PUT color Red,Green,Blue text/plain Electricity GET - - application/json Switch PUT state On,Off text/plain
  16. 16. Environmental Monitoring University of Cyprus
  17. 17. Environmental Monitoring University of CyprusDevice/Service Discovery: The URL points to a WADL service description file.
  18. 18. Environmental Monitoring University of CyprusSharing the Greenhouse Space:Facebook group SocialFamily.
  19. 19. Environmental Monitoring University of CyprusInteracting with Physical Devices:
  20. 20. Environmental Monitoring University of CyprusA Publish/Subscribe Mechanism:
  21. 21. Environmental Monitoring University of CyprusEvaluation:• Nine workers at the farm - two weeks duration of experiment.Impressions:• “The application is easy to be used.”• “Excited with the perspective of controlling the greenhouse while amusing with my friends.”• “The notifications are quite difficult to understand.”• “The user must be online to be notified!”• “I increased my monitoring activity.”• “I became more aware about the farm.”• “How much does it cost to fully automate the farm?”• “This can be applied also in health monitoring!”
  22. 22. Social Energy Awareness University of Cyprus• Energy awareness can reduce electrical consumption by a fraction of 5-15%.• Still, people can not clearly consider how much energy they consume.• Each area, city or country has different tariffs and varied weather and physical conditions.• A promising way to understand the ”semantics” of consumed energy is to compare it with the amount consumed by relatives, friends and neighbors.• SNS are the ideal platforms for such comparisons, as they maintain a highly accurate graph of users’ social networks.
  23. 23. Social Energy Awareness University of Cyprus• SocialElectricity Facebook Application
  24. 24. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusFunctionalities:• People can compare their electricity footprint with that of their neighborhood/village/town.• Associates electricity with costs.• Promotes sharing of people’s electricity consumption figures with their friends at a street level.• Useful statistics about the most energy-efficient streets/villages/cities.• Historical Data.• A green competition.• ”Region Awareness”
  25. 25. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusSystem Architecture: socialelectricity TCP/IP Database User Database Web INTERACTS Service TCP/IP socialelectricity HTTP Hosted Application University of User Interface Cyprus Server HTTP -Facebook Application Geocode Web Service TCP/IP TCP/IP GeoCode Geocode Database Server
  26. 26. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusSystem Technologies:• Microsoft Silverlight 4 • XAML • C# • Javascript• ASP .NET• MS-SQL Server 2008• Microsoft Bing Maps• Facebook API 3.01
  27. 27. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusPreliminary Evaluation:• Deployment at the Computer Science department of the University of Cyprus.• 72 students of the department. First Impressions:• “Highly impressed”.• “Entertaining to compare my local energy consumption with that of my friends.”• “Your street has poorer energy performance than mine.”• “I realized after using the application that I had a faulty meter. I contacted EAC immediately to replace it.”
  28. 28. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusPreliminary Evaluation:• Energy Awareness Not Influenced, 22, 31% Energy- aware Students, Energy-aware Students 50, 69% Not Influenced
  29. 29. Social Energy Awareness University of CyprusPreliminary Evaluation:• High Electricity Bill High Electricity Bill, 13, 18% Not High, 59, 82% High Electricity Bill Not High
  30. 30. General Benefits University of Cyprus • The integration of physical devices/services to SNS would promote their sharing. • Smart objects can become really ubiquitous. • It can help people engage in beneficial activities. • Strong incentives to people, for adopting sustainable lifestyles. • We can leverage the authentication/authorization mechanisms of the SNS easily. • Exploit SNS Open API to develop social mashups. • SNS users, find it easier to accept and use pervasive applications, as they become blended with their overall online experience.
  31. 31. Concluding Remarks University of Cyprus • Social networking will play an important role in future personal/commercial online interaction. • The physical world is a crucial part of it. • SNS are mature enough for giving a social shape to pervasive Web applications. • SNS can constitute a key aspect for the transition to a Pervasive Web, in the Web 3.0 era. • Flexibility, simplicity, security, interoperability, even sharing. • Social API?
  32. 32. Future Work University of Cyprus• Enhance our pervasive applications with more advanced, social capabilities.• Deploying SocialElectricity around Cyprus.• Integrating the two applications together?• Support other real-life scenarios such as health monitoring.• A Web-based, social API for embedded devices.• Devicebook
  33. 33. Thanks for your attention!Contact Details: Andreas Kamilaris (