EnComPAs-2 is the acronym of Enabling Community Communications – Platforms and Applications – phase 2. The project started on May 2007 and will end on April 2009.
The project is focused on the implementation of a platform for providing home based services to the user within and outside his own home (extended home concept: car, office, other homes…).The applications framed in these services will be related to media delivery and contents management, to voice integration in the networks available at home (e.g. WiFi) and to the management and provisioning the service providers can offer.
The main problem with these services is the user acceptance, as they normally involve not very known technologies or devices with a complicated configuration The mission of the EnComPas-2 project is to make services and applications natural and easy to adopt by the users. To help this mission, the project is taking some hints into consideration:
- technology must be invisible
- applications must be self-adaptable to the user’s environment and way of living
- services and devices provided must be easy to configure
- service providers and operators should offer an efficient and effective way of service and devices management
All the work done in EnComPas-2 project will be reflected in the scenarios explained below.
- 1 Previous research: The EnComPAs project
- 2 Extended Home Concept
- 3 Objectives
- 4 EnComPas-2 Scenarios
- 5 Impact
- 6 External links
Previous research: The EnComPAs project
This project is the second phase of the EnComPAs project labelled in the CELTIC call 1 which has run from April 2004 to September 2006.
The EnComPAs project enabled the creation of a system and converged residential services suite that laid the infrastructure for new consumer's experiences and new Telco operator's revenues. This area seems to be a future market that will generate new revenue streams (as revenue sharing) and enable Europeans companies to assume a leadership position. By distributing services throughout the home (fast and shared Internet access, multimedia content, remote control and access, home automation, and home security/safety), it aimed at supporting the communication needs of the many social communities in which each member of the household takes part (school, colleagues, hobbies, friends, family…).
Extended Home Concept
One of the main subjects EnComPas-2 is focused on is the Extended Home concept. This concept deals with the home based services being accessible to the user his own home: car, office, other houses…
In the extended home scenario, the resources and services are distributed over several physically separated domains that are interconnected and interoperable. The resultant extended home is a virtual domain that enables the user to have similar application experiences as if he was accessing services in his primary home. At the end, the key aspect consists in the integration of services with the environment of the user, so that he loses the conscience of using intensively different technologies.
To achieve this goal, some new challenges are needed to be faced, both technical and social. The first of them is the environment and the background which has evolved:
- The home is now the main scenario but not the only one. Other scenarios are to be taken into account: when the user is driving, when he is walking in the street… The technologies, devices and possible services should be adapted to these scenarios. Indeed, one main aspect is the implementation of the service continuity between the different scenarios: For example, one question to be addressed is how a service provided in a car should move to the home scenario.
- As mentioned, the applications should be provided in a natural way for the end users. This implies that the applications need to be adapted to really fit the different users’ living standards, with minimal user intervention. To perform this operation, it is needed that the users and the context are properly identified, parameterised and that the applications collect user preferences automatically and are able of applying different profiles to different users.
- User acceptance of the applications and services is also crucial to develop the new ambient applications that will fit the expectations, as they will continue to be attractive, useful and easy for the end users.
- Last but not least, these scenarios (services and devices) need to be correctly configured and managed in an efficient and effective way, to be able to provide the services for the residential market. Therefore, a platform, flexible and adaptable to the different scenarios is also needed to correctly provision all these new services
The EnComPas-2 system is represented in the following image. This system is the implementation of all the objectives the project should achieve.
The integration of the Extended Home concept in the scenarios to be implemented will be made with services outside the home, on the streets, in the car, and scenarios combining both home and outdoor environments. An additional objective is to implement service continuity of the applications, including handover and nomadic services.
The application design process is focused on identifying, developing and deploying services and applications that are attractive and provide a better user experience in everyday life for the end-users, with special focus on user communities and context aware applications.
The provisioning platform used in EnComPAs phase 1 will be reviewed and extended, with the aim to allow the inclusion of content and services for large numbers of end users in multiple scenarios.
Different technologies for the home environment will be studied and analyzed (discovery protocols, context-awareness technologies, profiling technologies etc.). Demonstrators for scenarios will be implemented and user field trials will be carried out to test the user acceptance and real interest in the developed services and scenarios
All the work performed in Encompas-2 is reflected in the implemented scenarios. There are three groups of scenarios depending on the environment they are implemented in: social media applications, voice applications and service provisioning.
Multimedia Content Management
Anne is in the living room and she would like to watch a film. She knows the film is stored in the computer she has in her bedroom. She will only have to connect to the Media Web Portal and redirect the film from the computer to the living room TV. The technology involved in this scenario is the UPnP technology.
Multimedia Content Handover
Based on the previous scenario, the user will be able to handover from one device to another when he is enjoying some content.
Anne is watching a film in her living room, and she decides to continue watching it in her room. The only thing she has to do is to access a Media Web Portal, and handover the playing of the content from the TV in the living-room to the TV of the room.
Remote Access to Home Media Contents
During a weekend Anne is at her country house with friends and she decides to show them some videos of his last holidays. Anne access to the media services tool provided by her network operator and access, using the IP network, to her home media devices network. She selects the files and reproduces them on her TV.
Mobile Call to SIP
Bob is calling Anne on her mobile device. But Anne is at home and she prefers to receive the call via WiFi, to the SIP on her mobile device. To make this possible, the Residential gateway has previously reported the presence of Ann at her home.
SMS Text-To-Speech For a Car
Bob is driving when he receives a sms in his mobile phone. As it is dangerous for Bob to read the message, the system uses a voice application to convert the sms received into a voice call.
Provisioning of Services in the Customer Network
This scenario shows how a service can be provisioned remotely and automatically using Encompas2 management platform. In this case, the scenario implements how to activate a service that will allow the discovery and management of UPnP devices in the customer network.
Making Customized Offers to the User
In this scenario, an "intelligent agent based in ontologies" is deployed in the residential gateway to make possible that the operator or the service provider can make customized offers to the user depending on the devices the user have connected in his home network.
The successful results of EnComPAs phase 1, such as MyOwnTV, deployed in the city of Lommel, proved relevant to recent trends of the residential market. The challenge for EnComPAs-2 is to broaden the range of available services and the scenarios where they are provided. This is a superset of the fixed to mobile convergence initiative, now a main concern for telecom operators. As these services should be provided seamlessly and virtually anywhere, an impact is foreseen in the customer care procedures. The challenges for service providers and operators are quite high and should be studied. However at the same time, the opportunities to enlarge the potential market of the extended home applications with plug and play solutions, hiding the technologies, are very promising and interesting to the business actors.
The development of services through a market and user oriented methodology is expected to have an impact. The scenarios will contribute to the growing knowledge of ecosystem awareness.