|Thesis abstract: |
Smart spaces are becoming more and more pervasive in our lives, and dedicated techniques for their conception, design, implementation, and assessment are needed. Moreover, in recent years, the research interest about context aware computing and smart spaces is even more growing. On the other hand the mobile computing world is exploded: mobile devices are now cheap, small, with a wide distribution and with an increasing smartness and availability of computational power. Thanks to these features, they can become a very good interaction point between users and their surrounding environments. As a consequence, thanks to this easy interaction, it is possible to think about the physical space as a smart space partially controlled via smart mobile devices.
This research aims to study how smart devices can be used to interact with smart spaces, improve people lives and move towards a sustainable planet. Specifically, this PhD research project wants to follow the EU climate and energy package, a set of binding legislation that aims to ensure the European Union meets its ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020. These targets, known as the "20-20-20" targets, set three key objectives for 2020: (1) a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; (2) raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; (3) a 20% improvement in the EU's energy efficiency.
The main research topic of this PhD focuses on the development of multi-faceted models to conceive advanced energy aware smart spaces. These models will be paired with suitable theories to conceive, design, and assess the different solutions. Adequate prototypes will be developed to evaluate and assess approaches, theories, and design.
A first problem to solve within this research project is the technological gap between the smartness of the mobile phones and the limitations of the physical spaces appliances, in terms of connectivity, automatism and energy awareness. In fact, even though appliances on the market are more intelligent and sophisticated nowadays than in the past, each commercial manufacturer tends to develop its own hardware and software control solutions dedicated to their electrical equipment, having in mind the appliances as isolated product. Moreover, these appliances are developed by hand, usually without a systematic approach. As a consequence, the most common approach to solve the problem of creating an intelligent space environment is to install a deeply integrated domotic system: there are advanced home automation solutions which are expensive and invasive, and their installation requires the intervention of specialized technicians who may need to perform masonry works and internal wiring of the customer house to lay the foundations for an intelligent environment. In order to solve these issues, it is necessary to introduce smartness inside mobile devices and physical environment (i.e, make the space ¿smart¿). In such way, if these appliances were able to interact to collect and understand the information coming from the context, they would optimize their behavior to meet their requirements, taking advantage as much as possible of the context to pursue concurrent goals such as overall energy savings.