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Visual Location Awareness Tools: PocketWatch, ActiveMap and EventManager

Overview

Most environments are passive - deaf, dumb and blind - unaware of their inhabitant and unable to assist them in a meaningful way. In contrast, an active environment is a physical space that can sense and respond appropriately to the people and activities taking place within it.

We developed a suite of tools for creating greater awareness of the location and activities of colleagues within a workgroup, with an aim to provide more opportunities for the kind of informal communication that is increasingly crucial to the success of project- and team-oriented work. All these tools rely on a network of infrared sensors and badges, and were in daily use from the time they were released (in 1999 and 2000) until the time I left Accenture in 2002.

PocketWatch provides a simple query facility to ask where a person is, who is with a person, or who is in a specific location. ActiveMap provides large-scale awareness (the forest for the trees), superimposing pictures of people on a blueprint-style map of the workplace in the places the people were last seen. EventManager provides an interface for defining events of interest concerning people and locations, and a set of notification mechanisms that can be invoked when those events occur.

ActiveMapWithEventManager
InfraredSensorAndBadge

Publications and Presentations

Active Environments: Sensing and Responding to Groups of People
Joseph F. McCarthy
Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2001.
[Abstract] [Paper (PDF)]

EventManager: Support for the Peripheral Awareness of Events
Joseph F. McCarthy and Theodore D. Anagnost.
2nd International Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing (HUC 2000), 25-27 September 2000, Bristol, UK
[Abstract] [Paper (PDF)] [Slides (@SlideShare)]

ActiveMap: A Visualization Tool for Location Awareness to Support Informal Interactions
Joseph F. McCarthy and Eric S. Meidel
1st International Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing (HUC '99), 27-29 September 1999, Karlsruhe, Germany
[Abstract] [Paper (PDF)] [Slides (@SlideShare)]

Video of Visual Location Awareness Tools (3 minutes, 53MB)