Human Mobility and Technology
The evolution of mobile devices and their proliferation in society, the advancement of connectivity technologies and the trend toward creating hybrid spaces will trigger a radical change in the way persons involved in mobility, or ´visitors´ in operative terms, interact with their environment.
Visitors will demand services that meet their individual needs at a moment´s notice from any location. Therefore, context-based applications will not only shape the future of tourism services, but also provide us with the opportunity to better understand human behaviour. In this context, we have identified the following scientific challenges linked to tourism:
Tourism and Context Theory
The aim is to study and propose a model that will provide effective solutions to the challenges posed by a visitor´s contextual requirements in order to determine the variables that make up the context. The context is considered a primary entity, not a second-order ancillary variable. The difficulty lies in determining what information is needed to define a visitor´s context, what is the minimum amount of information needed to define the context, where it is found, and how it can be extracted.
Tourism and Semantic Technology
Advances in information and communication technologies will require new semantics-driven approaches to make information ´processable´ and ´understandable´ by both machines and people. Therefore, context applications will be characterised by using a large number of ontologies embedded in ontology networks, where their primary function will be to manage the life-cycle of context information. Activities in this area will include processing context information, defining rules and reasoning mechanisms to infer new context knowledge, generating knowledge databases and integrating information with heterogeneous distributed sources.
Technological infrastructure to support tourism applications
The general aim is to deliver the best possible support for services connected to context-aware computing systems. Our work in this area focuses on two facets: communication and integration. Communication technologies are vitally important for creating context-aware computing systems since they map out the possibilities. Communication technologies are the key to dynamic mobility management in context-aware computing systems. Given the distributed nature of context-aware computing systems, software integration is necessary. Integration-related knowledge can be grouped into three categories: architectures, frameworks and middleware.
User-centred design is an important design philosophy which seeks ease of use for the end user. In order to adapt an interface to human needs and capabilities, ergonomic concerns must be considered, including usability, accessibility, user experience and interaction between these aspects with the access device. The use of interfaces is not the only aspect which has implications for the acceptance of interactive applications. The term user experience refers to the study of aesthetic and emotional factors which have a positive impact on user behaviour, decision-making, or on the ergonomic aspects discussed above. By understanding and studying the correlation between these factors we can more accurately analyse user behaviour.