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Working at Nokia on Context, Content and Community

We recently posted an external web page for the Context, Content and Community project I'm working on (and playing with) in collaboration with some of my new colleagues here at Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto. This is, by definition (or at least by name), a rather broad and ambitious undertaking. As we summarize it on the site:

Our project is dedicated to the design, development and deployment of systems to connect individuals with relevant resources in ways that create value for all stakeholders.

As we continue to explore this space, the distinctions between context, content and community seem increasingly blurred (to me). For example, as more aspects of our physical world context(s) can be captured and represented digitally, this becomes yet another dimension of content. As the people formerly-known-as consumers are empowered to [co-]create, organize and share digital content more effectively, communities of shared interests (and shared differences) emerge and grow more naturally. And as these communities form and flourish, they offer a new perspective that can, in turn, affect the contexts within which future content may be collected, shared ...  and, one hopes, better understood.

[Slightly] more detail about the project can be found on our web page (the project only officially started this month). While I am interested -- and will likely, at varying levels, be involved -- in all aspects of the project, I am particularly interested in the part that represents a continuation of a decade-long exploration:

Demonstrate new applications with compelling value propositions for bridging the gaps between people by bridging the gaps between the physical and digital worlds

Although our plans along this dimension are still incubating, the basic idea is to extend the work we [well, different we's at different times and places] have done with using technology to help people relate to and connect with one another by showing elements of people's online representations of self in the physical spaces they share with others (e.g., the Intel proactive display deployment at UbiComp 2003 and in subsequent Interrelativity deployments). The profiles we will be creating and utilizing as part of the Context, Content and Community project will be far richer, and more useful (and hopefully usable) than the special-purpose profiles that were incorporated into the earlier systems, and using mobile phones as digital proxies -- rather than special-purpose RFID tags -- offers a more natural and convenient way of enabling people to reveal more about themselves in an ambient manner.

I'll be writing more about this project as our thoughts, plans and [other] actions evolve. For now, I simply wanted to note that we have "gone public" ... and that we are hiring -- interns and post-docs, as well as full-time research scientists / engineers -- in case anyone reading this has skills, experience and passion for the design, development and deployment of sociotechnical systems that will redefine our perspectives on, and approaches to, connecting people.

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