Home » Web 2.0 Applications » The World of Ubiquitous Computing

The World of Ubiquitous Computing

This blog will look at  the concept “Software above the level of a single device”, the fifth of eight patterns as defined by Tim O’Reilly. From all the previous blogs “Harnessing collective intelligence” , “Data is the Intel Inside”, “Innovation in Assembly” and “Rich user experience”  we can see that the world of Web 2.0 is evolving at a rapid rate.

The vast increase of smartphones used has brought us into an era of ubiquitous computing. So what does this mean? It means that applications and web 2.0 can now be accessible not only on ones PC but now on multiple devices (laptop, smartphones, tablets etc). You can now shop online on your smartphone on the move and even your tablet! Gaming has also moved towards not only PC but mobile devices.

One other feature of Web 2.0 that deserves mention is the fact that it’s no longer limited to the PC platform.- Tim O’reilly

The PC is no longer the only access device for Internet applications, and applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected. – Professor Jason Watson’s Week  7 lecture

SkypeThe interactions between many devices is not a big feature in the world of ubiquitous computing, an application that demonstrates this is “Skype”. Skype allows people to call, message, share and see others where ever they are in the world. Skype is accessible on ones PC, smartphones and even tablets. This shows that this application doesn’t just run on a single device, but it runs on multiple devices. If someone wanted to call their mum/dad their mum or dad they can do it from a PC however their mum/dad could answer the call from their smartphone!

Lets look at some best practices that Skype has adopted based on the 7 best practices that  Professor Jason Watson’s from QUT   pointed out regarding “Software above the level of a single device”.

1) Design from the start to share data across devices, servers, and networks

Skype offers users many functions such as voice calls, video calls, chat and sharing data. Skype was designed to share data across multiple devices. Recently, MSN messenger has merged with skype bring both networks together.  Users can now use skype and it’s features as long as they have internet connection on their device.

2) Think location aware

Skype can utilize wireless signals to enable users to call/transmit/receive data. Most devices have wireless/GPS and bluetooth built in, as long as there is internet connection skype can be used and accessible.

3) Extend Web 2.0 to devices

Skype not only can be used on PC but the application is extended to mobile devices as well! You can also link your Skype to the popular Facebook application!

4) Use the power of the network to make the edge smarter

Once a user is logged into Skype on their mobile device even if they aren’t using their phone Skype is still active because it is still connected to the network. By doing this messages can still be sent to a receiver unless the have actually logged out of the Skype application. All personal Skype information are stored on the server.

5) Leverage devices as data and rich media sources

As mentioned before weather on your PC or mobile device, Skype allows users to use the device to access rich media sources Skype offers. This includes: video calling, data transferring, chatting and voice calls.

6) Make one-click peer-production a priority

Skype once installed is simple to use, when chatting or sending data users just have to click the “send” button to send the data to the recipient.

7) Enable data location independence

Skype allows customers to seamlessly keep data synchronized across devices, if a new contact is added on a PC once Skype is opened and signed in on the same account on another device data will be synchronized across. This is a huge convenience.
– Watson, J. 2010 – INB(N)347 Week 7- Lecture slides

17 thoughts on “The World of Ubiquitous Computing

  1. Hi Andy,

    Many applications these days are compatible with smart devices. The current fast learning with high technology era drives the need to change most web tools into a highly accessible application to encourage users to continue using their applications and the great advantage of having smart devices is the ease of using it anywhere and everywhere with of course internet connection. Skype is one of the popular applications, you could check out Google Drive as well! It’s similar to Skype!


    • Hi Jerfen,

      Thanks for reading! Yes, the current high technology era is seeing people store their data on cloud. Even better is smart devices can access these cloud platforms (skype, dropbox google drive etc)

    • @Jerfen – I think Google Drive is cool but I don’t understand what you mean when you say it is similar to Skype. I thought Google Drive could hold documents and Skype and could be used for voice/video calls and messaging. Does Google Drive do this too?

      • I actually meant for Andy to look at my post which is talking about Google Drive when it comes to having similaratiy in having mutliple/cross platforms, and not regarding about the similarities in whether Skype is a communication tool and Google Drive is a collaborative tool! 🙂

  2. Hi Andy.
    I agree, Skype successfully demonstrates an application that goes above a single device. Do you think Skype works as well on mobile devices as it does on desktops?
    Thanks, Sarah.

  3. Hi Andy,

    Nice post. I don`t use Skype too much. So I have a question about the “Think location aware”. Bluetooth, Wifi and GPS are becoming standard in today’s mobile devices as I
    know Skype can use wifi and 3G to call but how about the Bluetooth? Can Skype use it to call or share data?


    • Hi, Alvin, yes you can use blue tooth to chat etc if you have a bluetooth headset you can skype with bluetooth, however sharing data i have yet to find if you can use bluetooth to shara data

  4. Hi!

    Skype is a good example of a web application which succeed in moving into the smatphone format. Do you think that these kind of applications like Facetime or Skype are killing the phone calling market on mobile device? Because now if you want to call somebody in another country and if (s)he has the same application, we don’t need to use the expensive calling for our operator.



    • Hi Audrey,

      Thanks for reading, i can say that facetime, skype, LINE, whatsapp and all these applictions are in a way killing the phone calling market on mobile devices. With the internet data continously increasing on devices people will look to these applications to make calls etc

      Whats great about skype and facetime etc is that they all work on multiple devices not just one.

  5. Hi Andy,

    I depend on skype to make video call to my family. I do love using it, almost everyday. 😀 I like its mobile version also. Unfortunately, We still need to have a good internet connection to make a good quality of video call with Skype.

  6. Hi Andy,

    Skype is a great communication tool that really introduced many to calling using the internet. It really opened to opportunity to contact people in distant locations. The ability to open Skype of multiple devices was a game changer because Skype of mobile for voice calling felt very natural. However, to have a great experience on Skype both parties need to have a good internet connection. Also the video call depends on the hardware such as the camera as well as the internet, do you think that in the future would these limitation be solved?


  7. Hi Andy,
    Skype is a useful application especially for some people who is far far away from their countries. I use Skype to make phone call to my family too. And I’ve got a question. As for the second practice ‘Think location aware’, what you demonstrate seems more appropriate to be the demonstration ‘Use the power of the network to make the edge smarter’. That is to make use of network to call others. Does Skype make use of location or something like that?

  8. Nice post, Andy. I think Skype does offer software above a single device with lots of features. I was wondering about the practice “5) Leverage devices as data and rich media sources”. Do you know what skype does with the data from the people who use skype? In a sense, I thought they could use the contents a bit like Twitter does to highlight what are hot topics. It might make people uncomfortable to think that someone is listening in…but since it’s a free service they might be doing that already!

    • Hi there,

      Honestly i am not 100% sure, i mean skype is just used to communicate with your people you want to. Not too sure if skype will keep data send between people. If i find out i shall post here! XD

  9. Hi Andy

    I have been using Skype for a long time and quite satisfy with it. Normally I would use Skype with my laptop or PC but the communication doesn’t stop at that. Sometime you want to use video call to show your friends your surrounding. You can do that with Skype on mobile devices such as iPhone, Android phone, or even PS-Vita. It is very comfortable to be able to talk to any of your friends around the world with the closest devices to your hand.

    Prapat W.

    • Hi Prapat,

      Precisely, using mobile devices you can bring your world to them, particularly if you are overseas and dont just want to have a face to face conversation, you can show them your new surroundings!


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