The sOc-EUSAI’2005 conference is dedicated to one of most exciting challenge of the information society : giving access to context-aware services for everyone, everywhere and anytime. It envisions a future where we will surrounded by networked, intelligent and smart artifacts analyzing their environment, the users’ activities and needs and taking appropriate actions to enhance object to object, object to human, human to human cooperation. Such ubiquitous cooperation creates environments with ambient intelligence. Smart objects and ambient intelligence build on very recent key technologies such as embedded systems, ubiquitous computing, ubiquitous communication, cognitive systems and intelligent user interfaces. Some of these concepts are barely a decade old and sOc-EUSAI’2005 hopefully will insights in the recent and future academic and industrial research and developments in these various fields, from microelectronics and embedded software to new uses.
The sOc-EUSAI’2005 conference brings together two established series of conferences initiated by two major industrials in the field.
In 2001, the first seminar on Smart Objects was organized by France Telecom in Grenoble. France. Two years later, France Telecom and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) coorganized the international conference sOc’2003 also in Grenoble.
Almost synchronously, the first European Symposium on Ambient Intelligence was organised by Philips in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in conjunction with the second open workshop of the European ITEA - AMBIENCE project. In 2004, Philips and the Eindhoven University of Technology coorganized its second edition also in Eindhoven.
The joint sOc-EUSAI’2005 conference on “Smart Objects and Ambient Intelligence” is organized jointly by the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble (INPG), the ELESA Institute (Electrical engineering, signal processing and automatic), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Joseph Fourier University, the IMAG Institute (Computer science and applied mathematics) and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA). We benefited from a strong support of local collectivities and national research organizations. We also received support from numerous major international industrial partners. This demonstrates if necessary the strategic importance of the themes covered by this conference. We acknowledge all our partners depicted in the front page.
The three days of keynote speeches, paper presentations, posters and demos are going to be a seminal moment for the future of smart objects and ambient intelligence. For this very special edition, we built also “special sessions” that are coordinated by guest organizers. These organizers contacted well in advance a target speaker and invited high level scientists and technologists for offering a deep and coherent insight in three hot topics that illustrate the effective development and practical use of these concepts in different applicative scenarios : RFID technology, Ambient functionality and Everyday robotics. We hope that this appetizing program will satisfy your curiosity and thank the authors.
The city of Grenoble is know as a center of high level research and competitive industry. It also attracts people because of its magnificent surroundings and beautiful mountains. We hope that your stay in Grenoble will reflect this dual necessary ingredients for a successful and memorable events : dense brainstorming and unique convivial atmosphere.
A last word to acknowledge Benoît Ponsard and Jean-Claude Girardet that took in charge most of the organization of this event. The apparent calm that presides over the event and its preparation often hides their intensive work and those of our secretariat : Carole Meyrand and Marion Crost. Isabelle Maugis did a marvelous job for promoting the event. We got a appreciable help from Frédéric Elisei and the team of student volunteers that will welcome and help the participants during the conference. We all tried to make this event as unforgettable as possible.
Enjoy sOc-EUSAI’2005 !
Gerard Bailly and James L. Crowley, conference chairs
Gilles Privat, chair of the scientific committee
Steering Committee foreword
Smart Objects in Ambient Intelligence - A Next Step in Growing a Vision Mature
After a five years development, Ambient Intelligence is no longer just an imaginary vision that is aimed at improving and enhancing people’s lives by making electronics intelligent and integrating it into smart environments. Anyone who has followed the developments in Ambient Intelligence at close range has witnessed how major parts of the vision have become real, and how it has influenced researchers, decision makers, and entrepreneurs all over the world in their challenging effort to realize innovation. Several new concepts have been derived from the vision for the interaction of people with intelligent electronic systems and first products have been brought to the market. By now, we can safely state that the vision has become internationally recognized as an influential and promising concept for the development of new information processing systems, combining knowledge from a variety of fields including electrical engineering, computer science, industrial design, user interface design, and cognitive sciences.
The essential element of the Ambient Intelligence vision is contained in the key observation that future developments in technology will enable the integration of electronics into the environment, thus enabling people to interact with it in a seamless, trustworthy, and natural manner. This fact has largely stimulated the discussion about novel models of technological innovation within a multi-dimensional society, and the discussion is centered around the following three issues : what do we need to know in order to successfully create Ambient Intelligent systems, how can we obtain this knowledge, and when are we successful in creating Ambient Intelligent systems ? For the research community these issues have introduced major new challenges, many of which are related to the one central research question for Ambient Intelligence : what interaction technology can bridge the gap between human actors and the invisible computer ? One way approach to bridging this gap is to use the physical world as the interface, or to put it in other words, use physical objects to provide users with natural interaction means that allow them to control the functionality hidden in the embedded systems that surround them. Indeed there are many examples known of such interaction concepts, and probably the most widely spread an convincing approach to this line of thinking is the use of RFID tags in objects that can access information “hidden” in our physical environment, thus allowing for context aware and location sensitive interaction and control. This has opened a world of unprecedented options for enhancing peoples’ lives in a large variety of domains including healthcare, well-being, creativity, and productivity.
As a consequence of these developments we felt the need to bring together the Smart Objects and the Ambient Intelligence research communities, which has resulted in the joint conference of SoC (Smart Object Conference) and EUSAI (European Symposium on Ambient Intelligence). The program of this occasional meeting shows that the organizing committee indeed has succeeded in bringing together a fine collection of research papers that address many interesting new topics related to the use of physical objects in an Ambient Intelligent world. Many of the presented studies have been based on the multi-disciplinary user-centered design approach, which combines enabling technologies into interaction concepts that make sense based on the validation through extensive user-studies. This complies with the opinion of many leaders in our field who argue that user-centered design is a key ingredient of the systematic and methodological approach to the design of Ambient Intelligent environments. They found their opinion on their believe that not ambient intelligence will shape the future of ordinary people, but that ordinary people will shape the future of ambient intelligence through a co-creation process. Evidently, it is fortunate to see that the conference program contains many interesting studies addressing this topic. The program also reveals that both research communities have not-yet succeeded in developing the holy-grail answer to the ultimate research question on the bridging interaction technology. This remark should be considered as an exciting and stimulating observation rather than a downturn, because it implies that the research in Smart Objects and Ambient Intelligence is becoming mature. We are in the middle of the process of learning from the many results that have been obtained so far to develop a better understanding of the true research questions in this field, and this stage through which we are going now is an inevitable hurdle in the strive toward obtaining solutions to the ultimate research question stated above.
Through our work on Smart Objects and Ambient Intelligence we are participating actively in a very exciting and stimulating technological and societal innovation process : let’s try to contribute to it.
Patrice Senn and Emile Aarts, co-chairs of the Steering Committee