Researchers at the University of Zagreb, Crotia, are developing a new approach to social networking for mobile devices that is based on the context and preferences of users. The approach would provide a richer and faster experience for users, boost mobile battery life by up to 70 percent, and reduce the bandwidth burden of telecommunications providers.
The researchers have developed middleware to sit between telecommunications providers and users. The system works through serendipitous cooperation, via more energy-efficient Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, between users close to each other in an urban environment. The MAgNet middleware enables telecommunication companies to create an overlay network, or social network, on top of the network of users physically situated in a mobile network environment and using mobile devices.
"The system identifies mobile users near each other who are interested in the same multimedia content," says Zagreb Podobnik. "Each mobile user would download only a part of the requested content from the mobile network and then share it with other users in their locale via an ad hoc Bluetooth or Wi-Fi network." The researchers say that three proof-of-concept services prove that software agents would provide an adequate solution for implementing the middleware.
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