Monday, April 4th 2005

The workshop has ended, thanks everybody for the participation!
Groupwork results are now online.

Conference Website: CHI 2005 -


Vlad Coroama
Institute for Pervasive Computing, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Carsten Magerkurth
Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI), Darmstadt, Germany

Vassilis Kostakos
Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, United Kingdom

Irene Lopez de Vallejo
The Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, United Kingdom

Workshop Results

The workshop took place on April 4th at the Oregon Convention Center. The morning opened with two invited talks, followed by the presentations of the accepted papers.

After lunch, participants have chosen three topics for subgroup work:

Workshop Programme                                                                                                                                                                         

Invited talks

Norbert Streitz (Fraunhofer IPSI, Darmstadt, Germany): "Social Aspects of Interaction Design for Smart Environments"

Khai Truong (College of Computing, Georgia Tech): "The potential benefits, social implications and necessary design compromises of ubiquitous capture applications"

Home environment

Exploring Social Relationships Between Smart Homes and Their Occupants
John Zimmerman, Kursat Fatih Ozenc

Ubiquitous Computing and the Transition in Parent-Child Relationship
John Zimmerman, Jodi Forlizzi

Computing Systems for Household Energy Conservation: Consumer Response and Social Ecological Considerations
L. T. McCalley, C. J. H. Midden & K. Haagdorens

Industrial environment

Ambient Intelligence in Manufacturing: Organizational Implications
Inaki Maurtua, Miren Unceta, Irene Lopez de Vallejo

The Augmented Supermarket and the Empowered Consumer: Implications of Ubiquitous Computing for Supporting Socially Conscious Consumption
Jasminko Novak


A Framework for Evaluation of Ubicomp Applications
Mary Theofanos, Jean Scholtz

Exploring the Behavioural Effect of Location-Awareness within the Social Context of Rendezvousing
David Dearman, Kirstie Hawkey


Ubiquitous computing: Individual productivity at the expense of social good?
John C. Tang

Who Cares About Our Conceptual System?
Johanna Brewer


Potential Effects of Ubiquitous Computing on Civic Engagement
Pedram Keyani, Jason I. Hong

Keeping Information Private in the Mobile Environment
Andrea Grimes, Peter Tarasewich, Christopher Campbell

Phatic Technologies: Sustaining Sociability through Ubiquitous Computing
Frank Vetere, Steve Howard, Martin R. Gibbs



Over the last few years, ubiquitous computing has shifted more and more out of laboratories and into everyday applications, such as toll ways or navigation systems. Consequently, ubiquitous computing has also entered the conscience of an ever increasing part of the general public, as the latest discussions about consumer privacy with respect to the commercial use of tracking technologies have shown.

The public discourse often lacks an exact understanding of the technologies involved and sometimes tends to overestimate the short-term risks involved in the deployment of pervasive and ubiquitous computing systems. However, the fears involved herein are easily understandable if we take a precise look at the vision behind ubiquitous computing. With its orientation towards the public as well as the private, the personal as well as the commercial, it aspires to create technology that will accompany us throughout our whole lives, day in and day out. This ongoing development may have a long-term impact on everyday life, with far-reaching consequences for the society’s ethical values.

The large number of social issues in regards to ubiquitous computing can provide a wealthy source of design ideas and improvements. The increasing role and importance of ubiquitous systems in our daily lives implies that the design decisions we make have a direct impact on our lives. Consequently, a good source of ideas for improvement of our designs can have a direct impact on our lives. We believe that the social issues that this workshop addresses affect our daily lives to a great extent. Because they are so relevant to us, they can have a direct and important impact on the design of ubiquitous systems.


The areas of contributions to the workshop include a broad range of challenges related to the design of socially compatible ubiquitous computing systems. We especially encourage submissions related to the following topics:

Ecologic impact. How will ubiquitously available computing systems affect the ecological balance? On the one hand, there are many promises for positive ecological impacts (e.g., due to better deployed resources, or better recycling of tagged items). On the other hand, many of these savings could be counterweigh due to the so-called rebound-effect. The energy needed to power all these pervasive systems and the newly generated electronic waste are also relevant issues.
Making the invisible socially acceptable. Humans are used to receive feedback to their actions. The vision of ubiquitous computers working in the background without humans even noticing it, however, contradicts this paradigm. What could the social impact caused by this loss of visibility be? When and how should feedback loops be built into ubiquitous systems?
Delegation of control. In order to cope with the complexity of computing systems, humans will have to delegate much of the control to automated decision making tools. This, however, raises many questions related to reliability, usability, accountability, responsibility, and liability. What impact could this have on our daily lives?
Consequences for discriminated minorities. One of the potential advantages of ubiquitous computing seems to be the everyday support of unprivileged minorities like physically or mentally impaired, elderly, or even children. Are there any generic rules for ubiquitous computing system design, so that such minorities will easily benefit from the deployment of these systems?
Ethics. What ethical implications are to be expected from deploying ubiquitous computing and the implied surveillance for care giving and other domains? These issues may be discussed from both an end-user perspective as well as from a designer perspective. Can there be a code of ethics for designers of ubiquitous systems?
Information accuracy/dependability. The example of the World Wide Web shows that much information also means much wrong, outdated, or simply unavailable information. If ubiquitous computing systems are to govern much more of our lives than just our online presence, what problems are to be expected and how should the systems cope with these?
Influence through information. Which entities will control the ubiquitous information flow and how far-reaching could their influence be? Can researchers guarantee a certain fairness of and/or control over the information?
Economic consequences. What benefits and new threats are to be expected in an economy that essentially depends on large amounts of real-time information? How might existing practices and business models be affected?
Ubiquitous computing as a public service. What role will government and governing bodies play in the development and deployment of infrastructures for ubiquitous computing services? Will this be similar to the construction and maintenance of roads or power lines? What sorts of infrastructures could/should be provided: communication, information, etc.?
Ubiquitous systems and the built environment. A big part of our lives is affected by the build environment we inhabit and its architecture. If ubiquitous systems are going to have the same degree of impact on our lives, they probably should be designed and deployed in a way that is compatible with the architecture. What effects could our systems have on architecture, and how could architecture impact ubiquitous systems?
Socially acceptable design. We would encourage submissions that address one or more of the above issues at the level of design implications. An analysis of the above issues can have many implications for how we design ubiquitous systems, and we would like to see submissions that follow through and discuss these implications.


Potential workshop attendees are invited to submit a position paper of 2 to 6 pages that addresses at least one relevant social implication of ubiquitous computing and discusses how researchers can influence the direction of development. Papers should be sent via e-mail to Vlad Coroama.

The papers will be peer-reviewed and chosen according to their relevance to the scope of the workshop, the quality and originality of the submission, and their ability to stimulate discussions. The organizers will try to consider as many submissions as possible to help assemble a large community of researchers interested in the social challenges of ubiquitous computing.

We will attempt to publish selected submissions in a special issue of a major Journal or Periodical.


The submission deadline is 10 January 2005
Notifications of accepted submissions will be sent by 31 January 2005.
The workshop will be held on 4 April 2005 at the CHI 2005 Conference.

Please contact us for further information.