Context-Aware Computing

Context awareness refers to the idea that computers can both sense, and react based on their environment. Devices may have information about the circumstances under which they are able to operate and based on rules, or an intelligent stimulus, react accordingly. Context aware systems are concerned with the acquisition of context (e.g. using sensors to perceive a situation), the abstraction and understanding of context (e.g. matching a perceived sensory stimulus to a context), and application behavior based on the recognized context (e.g. triggering actions based on context).

Sophisticated and general context models have been proposed to support context-aware applications which (a) adapt interfaces, (b) tailor the set of application-relevant data, (c) increase the precision of information retrieval, (d) discover services, (e) make the user interaction implicit, or (f) build smart environments. For example: a context aware mobile phone may know that it is currently in the meeting room, and that the user has sat down. The phone may conclude that the user is currently in a meeting and reject any unimportant calls. As the user’s activity and location are crucial for many applications, context awareness has been focused more deeply in the research fields of location awareness and activity recognition.