Public Wifi hotspots in cafes and public places are based on wireless local area network technology (WLAN). In contrast to the common understanding of connecting directly to the internet when connecting to a Wifi hotspot, we are proposing to bring the original notion of connecting to a local network back to the fore. By hooking into the act of a user connecting to a local network, we see a design space emerge that allows us to spur various (off- and on-line) activities in a hyperlocal context. We propose to (re-)explore this notion of the locality of networks in the age of the ubiquitous Wifi hotspot in cafes, bars, community centers, and other (semi-)public places in order to facilitate co-located activities for such varied purposes as fostering local community, civic participation, sociality in general, and entertainment. We propose a network locality that builds on local infrastructure (WLAN) and combines personal devices (mobile phones) with stationary interactive surface technology (wall displays and tables) to facilitate social on- and off-line interactions in local settings. In this position paper, we outline technological opportunities associated with this idea as well as envisioned usage scenarios in different settings.
Ubicomp '12 : Proceedings of the 2012 Acm Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, 2012, p. 800-801
wireless local area networks; network locality; co-located sociality; participation
Main Research Area:
Workshop on Computer Mediated Social Offline Interactions at Ubicomp 2012