Year/Course: 2015-2016, Lent 2016

Contact: Dr. Jat Singh, Computer Lab
Mentor: Simon Pulman-Jones
Dr. Singh’s research has focused on making distributed systems work simply, flexibly and securely. He is currently leading a project on developing a control platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). The platform can be used to send information to and coordinate the data exchanges between a wide range of connected devices as well as managing their capability, e.g. switching features on/off.

The platform’s purpose is to enable new applications and functionality, by providing means for better integrating and controlling devices and systems. It will link together sensors, smartphones, wearables, cameras, lights: potentially anything that has a network connection. The approach is independent of, and operates seamlessly across the underlying network communication method.

The platform is designed to be flexible and dynamic, allowing things and their communication to be integrated, managed, configured and changed at any time, as appropriate, e.g. in line with an individual’s preference, a particular happening (leaving a room), etc.

In developing the platform, Dr. Singh is currently working with several high-profile museums and an event space to develop a technology demonstrator. Here the goal is to use the platform create more engaging, immersive experiences within an exhibition space, by dynamically controlling the interactions between a range of devices: including personal devices and embedded within the surrounding environment. Imagine a class of children visiting the museum. A narrative could be created whereby children explore the museum in small teams, competing with each other in a “gamified” environment – this provides a shared learning experience, in which students interact with the exhibition space, their teammates and others. The teachers could also have information on and interact with individual/groups of students.

The question for the i-Team is to look at where else this platform would be useful. Where else is there a need for a dynamically-changing set of devices to communicate and exchange data? There appears potential in other areas of the events and entertainment sector, from concerts to festivals, to conferences and corporate hospitality events – where people congregate in ad hoc groups every day – to better manage experiences and logistics.

However the platform is generic, where the ability to control ‘things’ and the data they exchange will be relevant to a number of industries. The i-Team will explore the potential of this technology for a wide range of market sectors, speaking to people to analyse their feedback and recommend the best opportunities for this powerful platform.