Context Based Digital Personality CBDP (CBDP)

Published on: 11/12/2009

"Within the next decade, as digital technologies become increasingly pervasive, we might find ourselves living with almost invisible, intelligent interactive systems - an 'Ambient Intelligence' - that will form part of our everyday existence and ecology. The implications of this development are far reaching for individuals, businesses and communities. Ambient Intelligence could lead to great opportunities. But as with all new technologies, we know that the technology itself is neither good nor bad. It is how we might use it that makes the difference. The main challenge at this
moment is to guarantee that the new Ambient Intelligence technologies are appropriate, sustainable and meet people's individual and social needs."

Devices' UI are becoming increasingly complicated (more functions/more interfaces) which increases the challenge for configuring and controlling them for home users, office users and professional devices installers. The CBDP project suggests creating a digital personality which eases this task by linking the digital personality of the user to the different devices and making runtime updating of the behavior of the different devices.

The CBDP solution is applicable to all sectors of society: public and private offices,
public and private buildings, schools, public administration, factories, etc.

Digital Personality as proposed in this project refers to the capability of capturing in digital form personality characteristics of people. By personality characteristics we are referring both to physical related as topsychological conditions of people. The objective is to parameterize the user
preferences according to a hierarchical categorization, that will be defined in the project, in her/his digital personality, the services to be offered and the actuators to act on. The user's information received from the sensors will be sent to the hosted digital personality in order to be processed taking into account those preferences to generate the data, in order to allow providers to offer services and to be sent to the different actuators. The digital personality will be a unique real identification for each person with information about preferences, tastes, the sensors that we allow collecting information from us and the actuators where the preferences can be applied.

When we are talking of Context Based Digital Personality, we are considering different contexts, home domain, building sites and mobile services provision. But the project solution is applicable to any context in which there is an intercommunication need among people and devices like the public administration and his public relations with citizens, with others administrations or like the private services.

The solution proposed focuses in the creation of the Digital Personality based on single orgroup of people. When there is a group of people, reasoning mechanisms defined will take into account the individual digital personalities and will provide the adequate environment that benefits the majority.

After the project's completion, the digital surroundings will be fulyl user oriented since most of the interaction with the user will be in the form of Digital Personality. The user will have to update their Digital Personality and this will be capable of automatically interface with the different devices in any digital surroundings in any place.

Description of target users and groups

In order to describe the target users or groups, it is necessary to describe the relevance to the market, needs and expected impact.

The concepts of personalization and its application to the Environmental Intelligence are relevant for the market. This is proven because there are currently several initiatives, primarily in the United States and Europe are trying to develop these concepts.

Also the knowledge of the context will further increase the possibilities for interconnecting different systems (devices, platforms, services), which can make use of formal knowledge in order to synchronize, ease and standardize access to different services. In this sense, the knowledge and developments resultant from the project, will be valuable not only for the developer of complete solutions, aiming at the needs of single users, but also to entities willing to offer services based on third parties infrastructures (CPE/N, access networks, etc).

The scenarios and pilots envisioned will emphasize the commercial viability and the applicability to real life situations in a public and private sectors. In these sense specific pilot projects for the
home domain, digital terrestrial television, building domain and mobile applications will be developed. The use of mobile phones is increasing dramatically and mobile subscriber penetration is already passed %100 in many countries throughout Europe. The mobile phones were used to be utilized just for voice and text-based communications but as computer and telecom industry evolves and converges, the capabilities of an ordinary mobile phone are tremendous. A person's mobile phone now becomes a something that he/she cannot forget when he/she leaves home or office. Considering CBDP projects targets, involvement of mobile capabilities are very crucial. These could be mobile phone, mobile applications and of course mobile subscribers and its behaviours. As mobile operators especially in saturated markets are targeting different applications to increase their revenues and subscribers' loyalty, one of CBDP trial applications is very well suited for them. Realizing home environment scenarios, while mobile operators will increase their customers' satisfaction, customers will also have comfort of utilizing their daily life gadget which is their mobile phone. But not only to the private sector because in the public sector is possible create different applications to offer better services to citizens and better tools to the public administrations. This obviously is very convenient way of utilizing CBDP solution.

In conclusion the target users or groups will be the general public in the public and private sector.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The most important considerations to make in the execution of the project

  • How to create and maintain context? How to detect the position of the
    user (triangulation), his mood (sensors), habits, needs?
  • How to use context considerations in decision making? How to use
    reasoning, verification, and validation provided by ontologies in
    this context?
  • How to continuously improve and use digital personality for decision

These define the main objectives of the Project are the following:

  • Context detection (using mobile phones, for example);
  • Maintainance of Context independence from the user location (home, office, car, holidays) by using mobile technologies;
  • Decision Making support based on Context;
  • Develop a Digital Personality framework.

Technology solution

The CBDP Framework architecture consists of a set of services , these services have been created and designed taking into account their future re-usability in other digital personality applications.
The architecture is presented as a distributed architecture where different implementations of the framework can exist. The main goal of the design is to create a scalable architecture formed by modular services. These services
can be selected and installed depending on the device capabilities.
The CBDP framework defines two instances for deployment depending of the device capabilities and usage:
CBDP Server: this part  is intended for those devices with full capabilities. This part of the framework also provides communications services in order to connect it with other devices.
CBDP reduced capabilities device: this part can be deployed in devices with limited capabilities. It means that the device cannot execute all the modules of the main CBDP framework. For this reason, a reduced version of the framework is provided.

Distributed Architecture
Usually, the Framework will be deployed using the server-client approach. In these cases, only a CBDP server exists, whereas many clients can be connected to it. These clients can be mobile devices which belong to the different users, or any other device depending of the domain of application. The main characteristic is that the design must support the connection of various clients simultaneously. This goal can be achieved depending of  the technology used to communicate the different devices. Not all the available communication technologies (GSM , WI-FI , Bluetooth , etc…) offer the same possibilities, and their application depends on the specific application domain.

The list of services is:
Context Manager: Manages all the information of the CBDP context. It contains the digital personality information and the context specific data. The manager provides methods to add new information, recover the stored information, and to query about that information.
Location Service: Manages the information related to the location of the user. It provides an API to obtain and access the Location information of the user. This information can be useful for the domain applications to trigger actions based on the user location.
Machine Learning Engine: Provides functionality to learn new data from the information compiled by the user. The information used to perform the machine learning process can be obtained from the current user preferences, user’s actions, and other relevant context information. The output of the machine learning process is a set of rules which encode the actions and create the new
Conflict Resolution System: This component provides rules and actions to avoid the problems which can arise when different users are interacting with the same system.
Recommendation System: Using the context and the users’ digital personality, this gives recommendations to the user. This process is based on the information stored by the user and the information learned using the machine learning engine.
Historic Context manager: this component manages and offers functionality to store historical information from the context. The historic information can be
used by the Machine Learning Engine and Recommendation System.
Reasoning Engine: Using the knowledge learned, this engine performs action to help the user, facilitate common tasks, etc.

Context management
The CBDP Framework provides an API that enables to manage the digital personality and context information. This data is stored using ontologies which model the concepts and the relations among them. The Framework defines the language for ontology representation and the methods that can be used to
manage it. In this case, the ontologies are going to bemodelled using OWL expressed using RDF ; this means that the Framework has mechanism to
manage this kind of semantic representation. The API provided by the CBDP is general enough to not depend on the specific domain ontologies.
It has methods to add, remove and query about the stored knowledge. These methods enable to add new ontologies expressed in OWL, remove and erase the stored ones and query them using a language for RDF. The domain application uses this API to manage the digital personality and the context information. The API is the entry point for the applications and it provides an abstract view of the
CBDP Services. The ontology used to represent the digital personality can
be shared partially among the different domain applications. The goal is to create a common ontology known as CBDP Core Ontology. This ontology represents the common concepts for digital personality which can be shared among the different scenarios and demonstrators. The CBDP Core Ontology defines general concepts as user, preference, time, date, etc, which can be reused by the different domains.However, the specific applications may have concepts that only exist in its domain and are not useful outside it.

This means that the CBDP Core Ontology must be extended with domain concepts that are specific to the applications. The result of this process will be used by the applications to specify their concepts and information to the CBDP Framework.

The applications must configure the CBDP Framework before use adding the ontologies required for their domain. The CBDP Framework is capable of managing any ontology expressed in OWL/RDF. This means, that the CBDP does not have specific classes or utilities to manage these domain ontologies because it cannot know the concepts used in advance. However, the CBDP Core ontology, which is shared among the different domains, is static and it does not change from domain to domain. This means that the CBDP Core Framework can provide a
specific API to manage the Digital Personality. This API can be used by the applications to access the digital personality in an easy way.

Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards, Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

There is a big demand for mobile-driven context and digital personality in software world and many applications and services will benefit from that; however, there is no yet widely adopted framework to utilize this idea.

Currently, almost every service or application has separate context and personal IDs for each user. But benefits of using them are limited by service or company boundaries. All these solutions integrate context vertically. We, on the contrary, propose innovative solution for shifting between those environments horizontally, enabling new possibilities and higher level of existing services. For telcos, it will be a good opportunity to track users for increasing service personalization and getting higher revenue, using business models close to Google Adsense.

For public administration, it will be a good opportunity to have tools and services to provide better services to the citizens.

This proposal will contribute with several innovations:

  • Definition of an ontology to model the data that defines a Digital Personality;
  • A real-time mechanism for propagation of attributes which update the data model maintained by a Digital Personality agent;
  • Adaptation of devices and mobile devices as digital representatives of users which propagate their context changes to the Digital Personality agents and receive action suggestions which are, in turn, propagated to the mobile devices' surrounding environment. This might be realized both via by means of sensors incorporated with a mobile phone or via a tinny mobile application that runs on the phone. When it comes to use of a sensor case, there would be some other options such as utilizing existing wireless capabilities of mobile phone such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC (Near Field Communication);
  • A lightweight semantic reasoning framework which infers new services for the user from the Digital Personality semantic-based data model;
  • A framework that enables the cooperation and interoperation of the heterogeneous devices which will adapt their behaviour intelligently based on users' gathered context and semantic reasoning applied over such data;
  • Real case scenario where the benefits of adopting a Digital Personality-paradigm for
    augmenting and enhancing the experience of users equipped by devices with their surrounding context-aware environment.

Lessons learnt

The Project is in execution. The Lessons learn will be described when the project is finished.

Scope: International, Local (city or municipality), National, Pan-European, Regional (sub-national)