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EU research project SIMS brings ease of use to mobile users
Semantic interfaces guarantee compatibility for services accessed by mobile devices


Stockholm, Sweden, 24 September 2007: Appear announced today that the EU-funded SIMS consortium is now half-way through its development efforts focusing on the next generation of middleware for wireless networks. The SIMS Consortium includes, beside Appear, some of the most important names in mobile research and industry around the Europe, such as SINTEF (Norway), Orange (Spain), Gentleware (Germany), Gintel (Norway), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway) and the Warszawa University of Technology (Poland).

Part of the 4th call of the IST 6th Framework Program, SIMS is a 4.3 MÄ project aiming to solve some of the most difficult challenges faced when developing software for mobile services. The key research focus of the SIMS project is related to semantic interfaces, a technology which supports service discovery and composition of services and software components with guaranteed compatibility.

For example, Device A will automatically download functionality needed to interact with Device B if user A wants that interaction to happen. The middleware will validate opportunities between peers. Due to this, only valid and available service opportunities will be presented to the end-user. Moreover, if successful, SIMS will enable the automatic deployment and learning of functionalities.

'Picture a handful of people, each with a different mobile device, sharing a common interest or task', explains Richard Sanders, project manager at SINTEF and project coordinator for SIMS. 'The devices present service features to each person depending on which service opportunities are achievable. They can learn new services by interacting with each other. The devices can download compatible complementary service components to support new service opportunities. This is a pervasive computing scenario that we have been dreaming of, and which SIMS aims to make come true'.

The benefit of SIMS can be demonstrated by the following maintenance scenario: An elevator breaks down and sends a failure notification. This notification indicates that there is a failure requiring a reboot procedure. SIMS identifies available employees in the area of the alert, and forwards the notification failure to the closest employee with the right skill set and equipment. Thanks to SIMS, the employee has immediate access to relevant software on his/her device in order to reboot the elevator, and can interact via his mobile device with several resources related to the task. For example a camera and a logging system might be involved in the service in order to document what has happened to the elevator, who fixed it, and how it was fixed. The benefits in this scenario include faster detection of the elevator failure, faster dispatching of relevant resources, improved resource allocation, improved audit trail and faster intervention.

Another example demonstrating SIMS technology is shown using a simple chat application. The scenario starts when a user initiates the chat application. The application displays available users, filtered by the Appear Context Engine and the SIMS middleware. The SIMS middleware ensures, in this scenario, that only users with compatible functionality will show up on the screen. In addition, the goal of SIMS is to enable efficient deployment of software components to mobile users. For instance, the chat application can download additional compatible components, e.g. if the chat session evolves into a video-chat.

The SIMS project is influencing an emerging standard for specifying services, within the Object Management Group (OMG). The SIMS project will also result in design tool components running on the Eclipse platform, which will, along with the research results and technical architecture, be freely available for the software development community.

'We are thrilled to contribute to such an important initiative for next generation mobile services' commented Vedran Arnautovic, EU Project Manager at Appear.<


Publisher Contact Information:

Appear Networks
+46 8 545 91 370
mia.falgard@appearnetworks.com

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