Supporting Heterogeneous Networks and Pervasive Storage in Mobile Content-Sharing Middleware

Daniel J. Dubois1,3         Yosuke Bando2,1         Konosuke Watanabe2,1         Arata Miyamoto2,1
Munehiko Sato1         William Papper4,1         V. Michael Bove, Jr.1

1MIT Media Lab         2TOSHIBA Corporation         3Imperial College London         4Washington University in St. Louis

Sharing digital content with others is now an important part of human social activities. Despite the increasing need to share, most sharing operations are not simple. Many applications are not interoperable with others, require an Internet connection, or require cumbersome configuration and coordination efforts. Our idea is to simplify digital content sharing on mobile devices by providing support for self-organizing heterogeneous networks and pervasive storage. That is, mobile devices can spontaneously connect to each other over a mixture of different available networks (e.g., 3G/4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) without requiring an explicit user action of network selection or mandatory Internet access. Moreover, indirect communication can be further augmented by pervasive storage. Mobile devices can store shared content on it, which can later be automatically downloaded by other devices in proximity, thus allowing location-based sharing with minimal coordination even when devices are not in the same location at the same time. This paper shows how these technologies can be incorporated into mobile content-sharing middleware to simplify sharing operations among mobile devices without any modification to commercially available devices or applications. In particular, (i) we provide an implementation of our approach as extension modules for existing content-sharing middleware, (ii) we present two example applications built on top of it, and (iii) we demonstrate our approach through experiments in representative situations.