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Skiing toward the future of mobile services


Coinciding with the Winter Olympics, the MobiLife project will showcase its innovative array of third-generation mobile services and applications at an exhibition in Turin, demonstrating to winter sports fans how emerging technologies can improve their lives on the piste and off it.

The MobiLife exhibit will be at the Experimenta innovation exhibition between 17 and 21 February giving visitors the chance to use and see applications that in the future are likely to become part of our everyday lives, providing new multimedia experiences, better ways to communicate and context-aware information and services.

“The goal of MobiLife is to make life easier through 3G mobile technologies that allow us to better manage our time, find out where we and our friends are and discover what’s around us, improve communication with relatives, friends and colleagues, and introduce new forms of entertainment,” explains Mika Klemettinen, the coordinator of the IST-funded MobiLife project at Nokia.

At Experimenta in Turin, the project partners will put several of their applications on display, applying some of them to a virtual reality skiing installation developed by project partner Telecom Italia. As users slalom down a virtual slope at the exhibit, MobiLife sensors will feed readings of their heartbeat to a television screen and a mobile device to demonstrate how the system can be used by a skier on a real slope, or anybody else for that matter, to share information about their well-being.

The sensor system forms part of an application dubbed ‘Context Watcher’ that provides contextual-aware services over mobile devices, allowing users, and their friends and colleagues, to know where they are, what points of interest are around them and what events are taking place nearby.

“They could use it to find a restaurant, locate friends or, in Turin, find out when the next ski race is taking place. It can also be used to share photos and other information within a user community,” explains Carlo Alberto Licciardi, project manager at Telecom Italia.

To help users manage their time, MobiLife has also developed a time management application called ‘TimeGems’ that can provide users with suggestions of what to do when based on their preferences. A Multimedia Infotainer application meanwhile will dynamically feed their mobile device, the television in their home or hotel room or their car radio with online news feeds and other information of interest.

The exhibit in Turin will be followed by field trials in Italy and Finland later this year to validate the technology and gauge user feedback, ahead of plans to bring at least some of the results of the project to market in the near future.

Tara Morris | alfa
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