CONVERGENCE: Extending the Media Concept to Include Representations of Real World Objects
The Information Society relies on an increasingly diverse mass of digital information, a trend accentuated by the Internet of Things in which Real World Objects (RWOs) have their own Resource Identifiers and related data. In this setting, the goals of the CONVERGENCE framework are to enhance current media handling with new functionality and extend the traditional concept of media to include digital representations of RWOs. The CONVERGENCE framework is based on the concept of Versatile Digital Item (VDI), a structured package of digital content and meta-information, inspired by the MPEG-21 standard but designed to address a broader range of application domains, including the management of RWOs in the Internet of Things. The VDI is supported by an innovative middleware and by tools and applications. The CONVERGENCE framework incorporates six innovations: (1) VDIs provide uniform mechanisms to handle different classes of information, including RWOs; (2) VDIs are intrinsically dynamic, allowing both providers and consumers to update content; (3) VDIs support “digital forgetting” (automatic “un-publishing,” automated garbage collection of VDIs after a user-defined expiry date); (4) VDIs meet security and privacy needs of both professional and nonprofessional consumers and providers; (5) VDIs support new modes of semantic search; (6) VDIs allow easy sharing of information across multiple, heterogeneous devices. In this chapter, we present the CONVERGENCE framework, its main concepts and ideas, some proposals to make it real, and some use cases and we show how our proposed concept can be a fundamental enabler for the Internet of Things.
This position paper is based on a project proposal. The author thanks all the partners that contributed to the proposal and acknowledges specific contributions and suggestions to this paper from the following individuals: Maria Teresa Andrade, Leonardo Chiariglione, Andrea de Polo, Heinrich Hussmann, Dimitra Kaklamani, Stelios Pantelopoulos, José Ribas, Carsten Rust, Peter Stockinger, Mihai Tanase, Richard Walker, Andrea Detti.
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