What changed from Ubiquitous Computing to the Social Internet of Things (SIoT)

Ubiquitous Computing

The attempts to make technologies invisible in the background led to the emergence of a new approach — Ubiquitous Computing (aka UC). The “Ubiquitous Computing” was initially put forward by Mark Weiser in “The computer for the 21st Century” paper.

Ubiquitous computing is a new way of thinking about computers in the world, one that takes into account the natural human environment and allows the computers themselves to vanish into the background.

In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and any format. The author touched on two issues such as the location and scale of devices.

Ubiquitous computers must know their location.

The traditional computers which existed before the introduction of the UC paradigm had no idea about their location. In contrast, the location-aware system has information about how far or close it is from other objects and may even later be able to adapt its behavior accordingly.

An example application that leveraged the location-aware paradigm was introduced by Hupfeld and Berge in their RAUM system. The authors claim that the location plays a more important role than the identities of devices. They explain the essence of location by giving an example of people who prefer to communicate while standing in front of the person who participates in the conversation, rather than turning their backs on him. As an example, the information about the location of a ubiquitous device can be used to select a communication partner.

Different scales suited to a particular task.

Another issue related to the concept of Ubiquitous Computing is the scale, that is, systems of various sizes serve different purposes. Moreover, the concept of location and scale are interconnected. The size of an object is also reflected in its location, for example, a refrigerator, compared to other devices has a larger size, which limits its location to one point, whereas the smartwatch allows changing the location depending on the location of its owner.

Internet of Things

The rapid development of electronics led to the emergence of the concept of the “Internet of Things”. IoT can be both ubiquitous and non-ubiquitous technologies. In the context of Ubiquitous Computing, IoT adds a new dimension to the interaction between objects: from any time, any place connectivity for everyone, we will have connectivity for anything. Thus, in comparison to Ubiquitous technologies, IoT focuses not only on the interaction between humans and devices but also on the devices themselves.

The idea of IoT was first proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999 by linking the idea of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) to the topic of the Internet.

Internet of Things

IoT can be characterized as one big network where all devices can share information about their status with each other allowing them to achieve deeper automation and integration within a system.

The “Internet of Things: A Literature Review” covers the genesis of the term “IoT” which helps to understand the general concept behind it and corresponding key technologies that it uses.

The authors explained the concept by dividing the definition of IoT into two components:

  • “Internet” as a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol to serve users worldwide
  • “Thing” as real objects in the physical or material world.

This explanation helps us to understand that inanimate objects such as refrigerators, smart lamps, etc can communicate with other objects with the help of the Internet without any explicit human instructions.

Also, this paper provides key technology of IoT such as Radio Frequency Identification, Electronic Product Code, ZigBee, etc. From the technical point of view, RFID is primarily relevant to the unique identification of a “thing” to communicate with other objects. ZigBee is a widely used, short-range, low-rate wireless network technology. For example, if you have smart lamps such as Philips Hue lamps, the communication between lamps is built with the help of the Zigbee Lighting protocol. Additionally, an inexpensive radio technology Bluetooth Low Energy is also very useful for proximity sensing. All these technologies are considered as a pillar for communication between smart devices.

Social Internet of Things

According to “The Internet of Things: A survey”, there are many issues related to the IoT that require further research and need to be addressed:

  • People still cannot be sure about the privacy of the transferred data through IoT technologies.
  • Network navigability must ensure that the discovery of objects can be performed effectively and the reaction to the state of other objects is enhanced.

Atzori et al. formalized a new paradigm of Social Internet of Things (SIoT) where the interaction among smart objects is based on the notion of the Social Relationship of things.

Social Internet of Things

Thus, the application of this concept to the IoT can lead to the improvement of the network navigability and scalability.

The architectural model of SIoT describes the establishment of the social relationships among objects in a fashion that is relatively similar to the human social network relationship.

Applying a new paradigm to the IoT concept can lead to the following advantages:

  • Establishing the level of trustworthiness by leveraging relationship types and by supporting services usable among things that are “friends”.
  • Improvements in network navigability.
  • A guarantee of higher scalability and efficiency.

By integrating social networking concepts into the Internet of Things, intelligent things establish a connection with other peers autonomously by exploiting things’ social relationships. The application of the SIoT concept will help to accomplish complex tasks such as changing object behavior according to the given information.

Therefore, with the help of the advantages provided by social networking principles, the IoT evolves into the concept of the SIoT. Thus, social relationships can be established among the devices to advertise information about their current state and provide services to their peers.

Internet of Things (IoT) has established a universe where humans are provided smart data services by the fusion of physical objects and information networks. This approach has been extended to include social networking aspects in the IoT that autonomously build social relationships to discover objects and their services. SIoT enhances information sharing, supports new applications and provide a reliable and trustworthy networking solutions utilizing the social network of friend objects.

Thanks for reading! See you in the next posts! 👋




Software Developer. This platform features my articles on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Development, and more.

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Latifa Abdullayeva

Latifa Abdullayeva

Software Developer. This platform features my articles on Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Development, and more.

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