eSPACE: End-User Authoring for the design of Cross-Device and Internet of Things Applications

Over the last two decades we have witnessed a proliferation of smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. In addition to smart devices, we also observe a rise of Internet of Things (IoT) objects or things, comprising smart light bulbs, thermostats and speakers. The plethora of smart devices and things lead to challenges to support interaction across these new smart technologies.

On the one hand, research is being conducted on cross-device interaction (XDI) to facilitate interactions across smart devices, while on the other hand research in the IoT domain aims at improving the interaction with IoT objects. However, there is a lack of a unification of these two related research domains, resulting in solutions designed either for smart devices or IoT objects only. Given the various smart technologies that users have to deal with daily, they need solutions that can communicate, manage, and control all these smart technologies. Further, these solutions should be flexible enough to adapt to the users’ evolving needs. Therefore, we see emerging end-user development solutions, allowing so-called end users without programming experience to modify or create new software artefacts according to their specific needs.

With eSPACE, we aim to improve end users' control over their smart technologies, by providing a solution that unifies the advantages of both the XDI and IoT research domains, and provides the appropriate abstractions based on the users' mental models of cross-device and IoT interaction. Thereby, we enable end users to create and modify their own XDI and IoT applications based on their existing knowledge. The unification of XDI and IoT further allows users to manage all their devices in a single place rather than having the control fragmented over multiple applications, while the appropriate abstractions will help them to more easily become familiar with our solution.