The Sixth International Symposium on Wireless Communication Systems 2009 (ISWCS’09)
Siena-Tuscany, University of Siena, Italy, September 7–10, 2009
Technical Co-Sponsorship by IEEE Communications Society
For information:

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Plenary Talks

"Mobile Sensing & Society -
The Future of Context-based Services"


With a myriad of ways to connect to other devices and networks, and an ever-growing number of built-in sensors, modern mobile phones are incredibly capable radio devices with a growing ability to detect their surroundings and full-blown computers at their core. A contemporary version of a watch, these devices are always with us, but unlike a passive watch, we frequently “activate” them to help us absorb and broadcast information. In addition, because of their incredible value these devices are in the hands of billions of people, not millions, and as a result almost half of humanity is connected in a pervasive way as never before in history.
As a result of this connectivity and location-awareness, combined with your mobile device’s ability to know you (who you are, where you’ve been, where you plan to go, who you know, your patterns of behavior, etc.), it can measure context information in ways that has not been possible ever before; not just any context but context of the life we live.
Due to the pervasiveness of these mobile sensing computers, and the law of large numbers, we can collect context data on the macrotrends of society and build services that help us to tap into the pulse of the activities surrounding us (such as traffic, weather, shopping, diseases, environmental changes). The ability to do this will not only enrich our understanding of ourselves and the cultures we dwell in, but will also allow our mobile devices to move beyond mere “objects” and morph into deeply personal assistants that cease to be something we activate. They will transform into purveyors of incredibly valuable information and insights that blend seamlessly with our lives. In this talk we will discuss the technology development for mobile sensing, the emerging future services that will benefit from (and be built upon) these technologies, and the challenges and opportunities they present for us all.


Dr. Henry Tirri is SVP and Head of Nokia Research Center (NRC). Nokia Research Center drives breakthroughs that reach far into the future, enabling new business opportunities for Nokia. As Head of Nokia Research Center, Henry is responsible for labs worldwide that pursue disruptive innovation. NRC works closely with all Nokia operating units and promotes open innovation, working on research projects in collaboration with leading universities and research institutes around the world. Henry joined Nokia in 2004 as a Research Fellow in the Software and Applications Laboratory.
Henry holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Helsinki, Finland. In addition to his Nokia role, he is also an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki and an Adjunct Professor of Computational Engineering at the Helsinki University of Technology. He has extensive experience in running research activities in the fields of intelligent systems and networking and his personal research interests span artificial intelligence, information theory, search technologies and wireless sensor networks.
Before joining Nokia, Henry was a Professor of Computer Science and Head of the Graduate School and the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Helsinki, leading a large, world-class research group in probabilistic modeling. Previous positions include working as a Research Scientist at Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), MTS at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Visiting Scientist at NASA AMES where he contributed to the Mars Rover technology for the 2003 mission.
In the academic world, Henry has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. He was also Vice President of Scientific Operations and Co-Founder of Ekahau. He is the author and co-author of more than 175 academic papers in various fields of computer science, social sciences and statistics and holds five patents.