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execute remote applications. In other words, a mobile terminal is required to
be an element of a distributed system.
Portability relies on both hardware and software mobility. Hardware
devices have to be mobile and have to operate in any environmental condition;
on the other side, mobile software can be executed on heterogeneous mobile
hardware [17].
6.2 Some issues about portability
Mobile devices are very dissimilar from classical computers. Computers use
the screen as their interface and can enrich information through visualization.
On the contrary, mobile devices own very small displays that have to
visualize a huge amount of information.
Information visualization is one of the most crucial issues related to
portability. The same information has to be visualized by very different
displays, so the designers have to keep this in mind when they devise
visualization techniques. Diversity influences both the structure and the format
of information.
At design time, the designer cannot know the features of all computing
platforms. The only consideration to keep in mind is that visualization has to
be designed for the user and not for the publisher. The final user is the
reference for information portability.
One can design for portability according to two approaches. The former is
the design completely adaptive applications that change their appearance as a
function of the hardware they are running on. This leads to hardware and
software independence. The latter technique is to develop a set of discrete
levels of adaptation to be selected on the basis of the hardware.
Regardless the design approach, users with different mobile platform will
have a different interface for the same application that will be suitable for
their hardware. At the same time, each interface will be compliant to the most
widely accepted standards [18].
An UC system can be defined as a computing system that can be located in
any building (house, office and so on) that is able to process and exchange
information with other systems. Users inside the building are continuously
monitored by a sensor network to capture their movements and their
Even if this is very interesting for computer scientists and engineers,
several criticisms come from non-technical people about all the problems
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