Securing the Mobile Enterprise

September 13, 2009

Context Aware Mobility -1

Context Aware  Computing is next big thing on the horizon.  It is alternatively known by the much more cooler moniker “Ambient Computing“. From an architectural standpoint context aware services (CAS) usually have a component-based design with basic constructs like components, connectors, contracts and interfaces. Components provide the core functionality of the application and use connectors to communicate with other components in the system. Contracts and interfaces ensure a specific behavior in a given situation. “Awareness” is programmed into the system by rewiring the interfaces and contracts when the context changes. The context could be changed by changing one or more of the following parameters – userID, activity, geospatial information (location, direction, speed etc.), Temporal Information (timeOfday, date), ServiceVicinity (presence of other devices or services) etc. A simple manifestation of this is the popular app “Locale“.

Major universities  are furiously researching and developing technologies to incorporate context awareness in SOA environments. Such applications benefit from technology that connects everyday objects and provides opportunities to collect and use context specific information from various sources and present them on increasingly sophisticated mobile platforms. Enterprises have only recently started looking into how CAS applications can provide real-time benefits. In fact Cisco has recently announced mobile context aware framework running on the 3300 MSE (Mobility Services Edge) that enterprises can incorporate   into their existing SOA framework.

That’s it for a high level overview of context aware mobility. In the next article I will talk about some of the unique security constraints that have to be addressed in CAS environments.

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