Ubicomp – everywhere, everybody technology and systems. But are we really exploring inclusive visions? Is ubicomp for everyone or only the relatively affluent?
The community's work to date has been focused on the so-called 'developed' world – contexts where there are already well-established technical infrastructures and digital resources. These contexts have users who are relatively highly computer literate, typically have high degrees of textual literacy and have undergone a formal education. Examples include sophisticated 'smart' homes with digital noticeboards and even interactive fridge doors (Taylor et al, 2007); embedded technologies for amusement parks (Schnädelbach et al, 2008); and, cities and urban dwellers with time to, "marvel at mundane everyday experiences and objects that evoke mystery, doubt, and uncertainty. How many newspapers has that person sold today? When was that bus last repaired? How far have I walked today? How many people have ever sat on that bench? Does that woman own a cat? Did a child or adult spit that gum onto the sidewalk" (Paulos & Beckmann 2006).
This workshop is about the billions of people who do not fit these sorts of context. There are hundreds of millions of users, and billions to come in the next 5 years, in places like India, China and Africa, whose first, and perhaps only, experience of computing will be in the form of mobile and other ubicomp technologies. Many of these users will never live in the sorts of home, or work in the types of office, or daydream in the parks, or take a day-off for the sorts of amusement park envisaged by earlier research.
If you are already working on developing world ubicomp, or are interested in finding out how to create effective technologies for these new environments, then we would encourage you to contribute and attend the workshop.
But it is not just 'developing' countries. What about the marginalised in our 'developed' world – the urban poor, the ill-educated, the homeless, the computer non-literate; i.e. those without access to what many of us take as essential digital infrastructure? We invite contributions considering these contexts too.
Accepted participants will be encouraged to produce posters, videos or interactive demos which will be showcased in the main conference. The Ubicomp organisers are keen to see this topic discussed amongst all the attendees.
We hope you will join us!
Matt Jones & Gary Marsden Workshop Organisers.