A novel platform incorporating multiple forms of communication to support applications in a mobile environment
2014-03-10T12:43:35Z (GMT) by
This thesis discusses the creation of a novel platform that incorporates multiple communication methods, including SMS, email and web-based technologies, for interacting with users of mobile communication devices. The platform utilises people in a mobile environment to solve a range of different application problems, where each problem is a separate and distinct scenario type with unique objectives. There are existing applications available that interact with users of mobile communication devices to provide a service, such as regular weather updates to the users. Other applications have been designed to manage and coordinate the users to perform tasks within a mobile environment, such as performing field studies for scientific purposes. However, the existing applications are designed for only one specific scenario, with the design and implementation solely focused on solving the objectives of that scenario. Each component of these applications needs to be developed from scratch in order to cater for the application s requirements. There is currently no integrated communications platform that offers a framework for supporting a range of different scenario types. The new platform, entitled the Connected-Mobile Platform, aims to support the rapid development and implementation of new scenarios. This platform is composed of a framework of generic components that enable the active running of multiple scenarios concurrently, with the ability to tailor to the requirements of new scenarios as they arise via a structured process. The platform facilitates a means to coordinate its users in order to tackle the objectives of a scenario. The thesis investigates several system architectures to determine an appropriate architectural design for constructing the proposed platform. The platform has a generic framework, based on a client-server architecture, to facilitate the inclusion of a multitude of scenarios. A scenario represents a problem or an event, whereby the platform can utilise and interact with users of mobile communication devices to attempt to solve the objectives of the scenario. Three mobile communication methods are supported; the Short Message Service, electronic mail and web-forms via the mobile internet. Users are able to select and switch between the different methods. The thesis describes the platform s tailored communication structure for scenarios and autonomous analysis of messages. The thesis discusses case studies of two different scenarios to evaluate the platform s facilities for rapid scenario development. The Diet Diary scenario, which is for individual users, aims to manage a user s daily calorie intake to help them reach their desired weight goal. The focus is on the platform s functionality for analysing and responding to messages autonomously. The Missing Persons scenario, which utilises multiple users, involves tracking and locating people who have been reported missing. The focus is on the platform s functionality for coordinating the multiple users, through the creation of assignments, in order to distribute the scenario objectives. The thesis concludes by highlighting the novel features of the platform and identifying opportunities for future work.