Smart Spaces: Challenges and Opportunities of BLE-Centered Mobile Systems for Public Environments

Tommy Nilsson

The application of mobile computing is currently altering patterns of our behavior to a greater degree than perhaps any other invention. In combination with the introduction of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and similar technologies enabling context-awareness, designers are today finding themselves empowered to build experiences and facilitate interactions with our physical surroundings in ways not possible before. The aim of this thesis is to present a research project, currently underway at the University of Cambridge, which is dealing with implementation of a BLE system into a museum environment. By assessing the technology, describing the design decisions as well as presenting a qualitative evaluation, this paper seeks to provide insight into some of the challenges and possible solutions connected to the process of developing ubiquitous BLE computing systems for public spaces. The project outcome revealed the potential use of BLE to engage whole new groups of audiences as well as made me argue in favor of a more seamful approach to the design of these systems.

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