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Media and Ubiquitous Computing

Mark Wiesner, HCI chief scientist at Xerox PARC, formulated that ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) can be called “third wave” of the computing revolution, where computing culture moves off the desktop and out into the world.

In a ubicomp world, everything is animated. Today, we still live in a world where objects count themselves. In the future, whether it is radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags or another kind of sensor, one finds information systems that in real time track objects whose presence can be read by satellite, radio or scanner. The Internet of Things is the name of the growing movement in ubicomp design in which sensor-linked objects, actions and capacities are tethered to a network. The Internet of Things describes a consortium of web-designers who are creating sense-able objects that can be located and interacted with across a network. Implicit in the logic of the Internet of Things is also an idea of the sensible object.

For media houses ubiquitous revolution means big challenges. Already multimedia included many challenges for the media and journalists. One of big challenges will be increasing mobility of media coupled with an increasingly consequential relation to space, place and time where the physical world and virtual platform intersect. Some people are talking about X-reality engagement in the ubicomp context.

Pervasive computing is leading us to pervasive media, to the world of the Internet of Things, where media houses are operating fluently. Before we are facing the era of pervasive media, there will be a transition period. With ubicomp the computational work of information processing is integrated to objects, activities and sites of the everyday. Such obvious objects and activities are smart media houses, home studios of journalists and their smart cars. The ubicomp has not yet achieved the full scale of pervasive computing to which it aims.

The term pervasive media is used to describe a global culture that engages a spectrum of networked technologies. The pervasive media includes many issues, especially many novel ubiquitous technology platforms. Such issues are virtual worlds, voice-over-Internet protocol, mobile rich media and texting, microblogging formats like Twitter, Web-based video (You Tube), social profile pages (Facebook) and web logs (blogs). Together this spectrum of media technologies is leading us to transmediated communication. There will be convergence of pervasive media technologies. This converge process can lead to surprising results with many technological affordances. Probably pervasive media as a whole simulates presence, where ability to be authentic matters. Digital technologies change conventional static media and multimedia. As Marshall McLuhan said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools.” Key concepts of pervasive media are:

  • Social networking
  • Social media
  • Social bookmarking
  • Blogging
  • Wiki
  • Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0.
  • Structural modularity
  • User-generated content
  • Content sharing
  • World Wide Web

The word media means “ways of transmission”. It encompasses all of the various technologies we use to record information and transmit it to others. The era of pervasive media means hyperconnectivity, whereby people and machines stay perpetually connected via an ever expanding network of diverse communication channels. New digital devices provide new possibilities for hyperconnectivity. Hypermedia is a term which refers to a host of digital technologies that enable the presentation of multimedia content in a nonlinear form.

Hypermedia is probably a key future issue in the pervasive media development. Media will almost never be a standalone kind of product any more. Multiple touch-points are available for the consumers of media content. Interaction with the audiences will be two way creating a conversation media. Some pieces of news are serial and some media content are tailored for very sophisticated global audiences. Hypermedia is used as a logical extension of the term hypertext in which audio, graphics, plain text, video and other hyperlinks intertwine to create a generally non-linear medium of information.


Costello, V., Youngblood, S.A. & Youngblood, N.E. (2012) Multimedia Foundations. Core Concepts for Digital Design. USA: Focal Press.

Coleman, B. (2011) Hello Avatar. Rise of the Networked Generation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Meeting Robotization and Automation Challenge of the Ubiquitous Society: Towards Infinite Possibility Frontiers?

Technological and in broad sense ubiquitous revolution is today delivering a world of opportunity and leisure. Today computer technology is cheap. People are expensive. Computers are becoming smaller and smaller, and can be attached, embedded or blended to almost all things from man-made to natural ones in the world. During ubiquitous revolution computers become integrated parts of these things instead of independent individual artifacts. Due to the attachment, embedment and blending as well as emerging ubiquitous networks, ordinary things surrounding us are capable of (1) computing and communicating, (2) connecting and/or being connected to each other, and (3) behaving and acting rationally with some smartness or intelligence. Smart ubiquitous machines and robots are so called “everywhere” systems.

But this kind of new technological opportunity will not be delivered to all. For many people coming ubiquitous tech revolution will deliver misery and decline. Because of economic cost structures many workers will be replaced by the new technologies over the coming decades. Robots and automation mean silent revolution in many work places and societies. The economics of this new world will be revolutionary.

One big problem of this revolutionary technology wave is that our policy makers do not understand it. They are not understanding, what is happening when computers and robots are doing most of the work. This means that our world has the potential to become immeasurably wealthier and richer. It is up to us to decide who will benefit and how the benefits of ubiquitous revolution should be distributed and redistributed. The basic dynamics of the cyber age creates many open windows for us.

The advance of science and technology is offering us a gift. But do we know how to receive it? The gift could be nothing less than prosperity for all. More wealth is available for not just those people who are able to grab it for themselves. Big link to prosperity to wealth has been the job. New technologies are powerful creators of jobs, until the moment it becomes mature and breaks free of human involvement. Many technologies have an infant age, an adolescent age, a mature stage and finally an old age. This technological cycle create promises, but need constant care and attention. During this technology cycle many jobs are created. New technologies open new horizons, but they also destroy some old structures and models of behavior. Some innovations are also disruptive, not constructive.

In its mature stage the old technology is well understood and can fend for itself. It does not require assistance to get on with its work. Jobs are eliminated but it still delivers the goods. However, in its old age old technology is subject to attack and replacements. This cycle is a typical process of capitalism. Capitalism can only be understood as an evolutionary process of continuous innovation and creative destruction as Joseph Schumpeter defined it.

B. Joseph Pine II and Kim C. Korn (2011) have presented a big vision of future technologies in their book “Infinite Possibility”. They see that ubiquitous revolution will create for us infinite frontier concerning the progression on economic value. Customization and commoditization of goods, services, experiences and transformations are key activities in this process of “infinite possibility”. The digital frontier provides us many possibilities in the universe, where time, space and matter create many alternative possibilities.
Real and virtual spaces are creating one interesting dimension of the space. Atoms and bits are creating second key dimension of the matter. Thirdly, actual and autonomous time is third critical dimension of the time. These 3 dimensions of time, matter and space create new frontiers for wealth creation and innovative solutions in economies and societies.

To understand the scale and scope of new possibilities in these 3 dimensions can help us to create more wealth and more jobs in the future. Infinite possibility is not gross overstatement. It is analogical to LEGO brick game, a simple thing of material substance, which is genuinely immeasurable, and truly limitless.

Now need bohemian creativity to build our own LEGO games of the future. This means that we must be ready to build up new technological innovation, new business innovation and new social innovations for a society with new technological infrastructures and settings. We must be able to create modular and systemic innovations, which are really reshaping human futures.

1 Ubiquitous robot
2 Joseph Schumpeter
3. Infinite possibility paradigm
Pine II, B. Joseph and Korn, Kim C. (2011) Infinite Possibility. Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Ltd.
4. LEGO thinking
Gregersen, Hal, Dyer, Jeff and Christensen, Clayton M. (2012) Book excerpt: How strong are your Lego thinking skills? April 27th, 2012. Web:

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