Mark Weiser, the pioneer of Pervasive Computing, has rightly said, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabrics of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
One of the best examples of such percolating technologies is mobile phones. It is difficult to imagine our lives without them; they are involved in everything from wake-up alarms, weather alerts, fitness tracking, diet plans, travel itineraries, shopping, communication, the workplace, cars, education, personal finance, entertainment, and so on. This brings us to the evolution of the term “pervasive computing” or “ubiquitous computing.”
Pervasive computing refers to the ability of computing to be embedded in every object or device in our surroundings and environment, thereby making computing omnipresent and prevalent. Besides computing capabilities, these devices also feature connectivity capabilities, enabling them to communicate, automate routine tasks, and follow instructions with minimal human effort.
This is a system in which computer network technology permits itself to exist discreetly in the background of consumers’ awareness. A key notion in the pervasive computing paradigm is the seamless integration of computers into our daily activities and physical environments. Pervasive computing attempts to make the computer “invisible” by allowing these embedded processors to perceive and respond to their application surroundings autonomously.
In today’s connected world, sensors, cloud services, IoT devices, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, compact batteries, and many other technologies have enabled seamless, interconnected, and intelligent networks.
In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can function with any device, anywhere, at any time, and with any data type across networks. It can also transfer tasks from one system to another when a user goes from a car to a workplace. Computing devices are everywhere, such as laptops, notebooks, smartphones, tablets, wearable technology, and sensors.
That means, in essence, pervasive computing is a network that can understand its surroundings and improve the human experience and quality of life.
Pervasive Computing Use Cases
With the aid of intelligent wearable body sensors, a basic living room can be transformed into a healthcare facility. These sensors could then track the patient’s vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature, respiratory activity, oxygen saturation, glucose level, and even electrocardiograms. Coupled with telemonitoring by healthcare facilities, these become extremely useful for those who are unattended such as the elderly or physically challenged.
Adopting a special digital health ID is another illustration in the field of medicine. When given such a digital identity, a person can use it to access their Personal Health Records and Electronic Medical Records or give permission to any healthcare service provider to access and utilise them for additional diagnosis and treatment. Through the use of pervasive computing, doctors, diagnostic laboratories, and pharmacists would easily acquire information to take the appropriate action and benefit.
Instead of emphasising instruction, the National Education Policy 2020 places more focus on living a life of learning. Pervasive computing in this situation would enable teachers and students to distribute individualised information, give directions, and get feedback through a variety of media. Through a streaming online application, mobile app closed academic social media, podcast, FM, or even a specified TV channel, a student might continue a portion of a class session.
To attain high crop yields and lower operating costs, ubiquitous systems in agriculture would utilise sensors to evaluate soil health, and sense climatic conditions, moisture, humidity, sunlight, and other factors. The maxim “more crop per drop” may be achieved by farmers with the use of wireless technology by using water efficiently. It can also warn off pests or stray animals when used in conjunction with motion detectors and CCTVs. The use of pervasive computing and its many components might change farming techniques.
When defining his view, Weiser was perfectly aware that achieving it would need considerable ingenuity and work from a large number of individuals over a long period of time. As new hardware technologies collide with scientific advances, the early decades of the twenty-first century will be a time of hype and turmoil.
Pervasive Computing offers several chances to interconnect systems and promote convergence in order to give actual solutions and seamless user experiences. Ubiquitous computing devices make daily computer operations extremely accessible.