A Mobile Web 2.0 community service based on near-field communication

Similar to the adoption of the Internet during the ‘90s‘, consumer demand is influencing companies to adopt mobile as a new channel for communications, marketing, service delivery and payment. Internet adoption started with companies providing basic information, which quickly evolved into service delivery, marketing and e-commerce. The same phenomenon and adoption curve is unfolding in the mobile world today, as consumers are demanding information and media whenever and wherever they need it. As a result, companies are looking for new ways to satisfy this increasingly mobile consumer base. Moreover, the arrival of Web 2.0 has led to radical changes as regards not only technical specifications of the net, but in the ways both software developers and end-users use the Web. The next step is now to have Web 2.0 technology implemented on mobile platforms, since it will lead to a further development of them, and will make group communication systems accessible for almost everyone and everywhere, opening at the same time the door for a huge new upcoming market. This thesis focuses on the idea of extending social relationships created in the Web to portable devices, thus making it able for the people to communicate and interact with each other regardless of where they are. These tasks can be carried out by platforms that give support and services to mobile devices through the net. They will also allow people to meet and share experience in new ways, even though they are not always easy to use, especially not with mobile terminals that have limited capabilities. In this aspect, it is important to minimize set up time, since it is always the bottleneck of a communication process. Regarding that, one communication technology which a lot of research is being done in nowadays is NFC (Near Field Communication). It has limited range, but on the other hand its set up time is much faster than other existent technologies, such as Bluetooth. Since NFC enables quick connection establishment it could be a suitable technology to be applied in Social Network building and extending purposes. As a proof of concept, a mobile Social Network platform has been developed with the purpose of providing Social-Network-related services to cell phone common users, such as profiles and users management, storage of relationships between users, privileges and privacy control, multimedia sharing services, etc. In addition of using NFC for building social networks, the platform also takes advantage of third-party APIs offered by external social networks to access them. As for Near Field Communication technology, it has been used in the service maybe where it suited the most, provided its fast connection capabilities, that is friends adding. Finally a solid, modular, and easily extensible prototype has been built. The user can enjoy common social network services, at least in a basic way. Some other services considered to be interesting were added as well. As for future work, next step could be adding innovative features taking advantage of the Web 2.0 possibilities, since the platform base is already implemented.

Author: Alvarez Garcia-Bobia, Luis; Garcia Cesa, Victor Jose

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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