Interaction in Smart Environments
Written by Sebastian Feuerstack
October 4th, 2015

Peoples’ homes are currently flooded with a growing number of intelligent devices providing more and more “useful” features. New smart home devices are introduced as well as additional house control and telecommunication systems, each loaded with numerous complex functions making the handling increasingly difficult for end-users and developers. At the same time the number of available net-centric services grows continuously, providing personalized and ubiquitous access to information.

These two environments are yet still separated, but there is an increasing need for a new generation of services aggregating functionality and integrating home-based and net-centric services. We call this new class of services enabling access, configuration and usage in an intuitive way “Seamless Home Services”.

One of the biggest problems of the fusion between the home- and net-centric services is in their different ways of interaction. Net-centric services get accessed by a web browser using point-and-click style interaction and usually rely on a graphical interface and a keyboard and mouse control, whereas home-based services need to be able to be accessed anywhere in the home and even from outside the home as well.

My specific interests are about identifying the basic characteristics and requirements that needed to be implemented by a Seamless Home Service. So far five properties have been identified: (1) Adaptivity, to adapt to the context of use. (2) Session Management, to handle interruptions of use and the possibility to continue later even in a different context of use. (3) Migration, to let a service migrate between different devices and modalities to follow the user. (4) Distribution, to distribute an interaction with a service to several devices and modalities complementary or redundant. (5) Multimodality, to simultaneously support and combine multiple modalities during the interaction.


  • [PDF] M. Blumendorf, S. Feuerstack, and S. Albayrak, “Multimodal User Interaction in Smart Environments: Delivering Distributed User Interfaces,” in Constructing Ambient Intelligence: AmI 2007 Workshops Darmstadt, 2007.
    author = {Marco Blumendorf and Sebastian Feuerstack and Sahin Albayrak},
    title = {Multimodal User Interaction in Smart Environments: Delivering Distributed
    User Interfaces},
    booktitle = {Constructing Ambient Intelligence: AmI 2007 Workshops Darmstadt},
    year = {2007},
    editor = {Max Mühlhäuser and Alois Ferscha and Erwin Aitenbichler},
    publisher = {Springer-Verlag Gmbh},
    abstract = {The ongoing utilization of computer technologies in all areas of life
    leads to the development of smart environments comprising numerous
    networked devices and resources. Interacting in and with such environments
    requires new interaction paradigms, abstracting from single interaction
    devices to utilize the environment as interaction space. Using a
    networked set of interaction resources allows supporting multiple
    modalities and new interaction techniques, but also requires the
    consideration of the set of devices and the adaptation to this set
    at runtime. While the generation of user interfaces based on UI models,
    although still challenging, has been widely researched, the runtime
    processing and delivery of the derivable user interfaces has gained
    less attention. Delivering distributed user interfaces while maintaining
    their interdependencies and keeping them synchronized is not a trivial
    problem. In this paper we present an approach to realize a runtime
    environment, capable of distributing user interfaces to a varying
    set of devices to support multimodal interaction based on a user
    interface model and the management of interaction resources.},
    competencecenter = {Human Machine Interaction},
    file = {Blumendorf2007.pdf:Blumendorf2007.pdf:PDF},
    keywords = {multimodal distributed user interfaces, model-based user interfaces,
    human-computer interaction, smart environments},
    offisdivision = {Verkehr / Human Centered Design},
    owner = {blumendorf},
    timestamp = {2007.10.27}
  • [PDF] S. Feuerstack, M. Blumendorf, G. Lehmann, and S. Albayrak, “Seamless Home Services,” in Developing Ambient Intelligence, 2006.
    author = {Sebastian Feuerstack and Marco Blumendorf and Grzegorz Lehmann and
    Sahin Albayrak},
    title = {Seamless Home Services},
    booktitle = {Developing Ambient Intelligence},
    year = {2006},
    editor = {Antonio Maña and Volkmar Lotz},
    month = {September 2006},
    publisher = {Springer},
    note = {Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ambient Intelligence
    Developments (AmID'06)},
    abstract = {The growing number of smart devices providing services in peoples’
    homes and the increasing number of services available via the Internet
    creates two separate worlds that have not been successfully integrated
    yet. To bridge these two worlds, we propose a Home Service Platform
    supporting the seamless integration of home-based and net-centric
    services in a smart home environment. A common Service Engine supporting
    inter-service communication and aggregation provides human accessible
    user interfaces via a Service Portal and allows representing devices
    through a Home Device Controller. The integration of the two worlds
    allows us to create a new type of service: Seamless Home Services.},
    competencecenter = {Human Machine Interaction},
    file = {Feuerstack2006a.pdf:Feuerstack2006a.pdf:PDF},
    keywords = {Ambient intelligence, home environment, smart home services, home
    service platform, service engine, service portal},
    offisdivision = {Verkehr / Human Centered Design},
    owner = {sfeu},
    timestamp = {2006.10.12}
Last Updated 7:22 pm