Human-Centered Network Services for Coordinated Participatory Sensing

Mani Srivatsava




Cellular and Wi-Fi networks now form a global substrate that provides billions of mobile phone users with consistent, location-aware communication and multimedia data access. On this substrate is emerging a new class of mobile phone applications that use the phone's location, image and acoustic sensors, and enable people to choose what to sense and when to share data about themselves and their surroundings. Peoples' natural movement through and among living, work, and "third" spaces, provides spatial and temporal coverage for these modalities, the character of which is impossible to achieve through traditional embedded sensor networks alone. If successfully coordinated, the data capture possibilities can be uniquely relevant to the interests of individuals, groups, and communities as they seek to understand the social and physical processes of the world around them. These personal data streams are particularly meaningful when they are analyzed in real-time using external data sources and models.

This talk will describe research at UCLA's Center for Embedded Networked Sensing on realizing this vision of participatory sensing of urban, social, and personal spaces by turning the global cellular and Wi-Fi network into a fluid substrate for hosting widespread but coordinated participatory sensing applications. In addition to describing our initial experience with creating and deploying the first generation of such systems, the talk will describe the critical technology challenges that are posed in responsibly realizing sensing that is widespread and participatory. Such challenges include network coordination services enabling applications to efficiently select, incentivize and task mobile users based on measures of coverage, capabilities and interests; attestation mechanisms to enable data consumers to know how much to trust the data they access; and participatory privacy regulation mechanisms used by data contributors to control what data they share. Common to many of these challenges are the human factors that arise not only because the data being sensed is about the people, but also because the data is being sensed by the people.



Mani Srivastava is on the faculty at UCLA where he is a Professor and Vice Chair in the Electrical Engineering Department, and is also affiliated with the Computer Science Department and the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. Prior to joining UCLA in 1992, he received is PhD from UC Berkeley in 1992, and worked at Bell Labs Research for a few years. He currently serves at the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and is a Fellow of the IEEE. His research interests are in embedded wireless systems, power-aware systems, wireless networks, and pervasive sensing, more details on which can be found on the web site of UCLA's Networked and Embedded Systems Laboratory (