Overview: Concept, Motivation and Benefits

Concept and Motivation

Who’s that?” is a pervasive application designed to facilitate social interaction between residents at the University of Michigan’s North Quad complex. The system uses interactive displays which feature attractive, high-quality personal profiles, and allows interaction with users through Bluetooth presence detection and scannable QR-codes.

The audience for ‘Who’s that?’ is undergraduate residents. They already have friends and social groups, but may not be familiar with all of their fellow residents. North Quad residents are often high-achievers, with a focus on their future or academic goals.

The ‘Who’s that?’ application will be placed in high-traffic, high-visibility areas, such as elevator lobbies. Based on observed wait times and user-testing, profiles will rotate every 40-60 seconds, with an option to pause the screen if necessary. The focus will be on-the-go situations as oppose to prolonged interactions. The system aims to create an atmosphere of familiar faces, with occasional interactions prompted by genuine interest.

Users will have the ability to create, update, and monitor their profile through a web application. Creating a profile will involve choosing a high-resolution image, entering one’s name and basic details, and filling out a list of “tags” which describe one’s personality. Based on user-feedback, common-interests that are unusual are the most likely to prompt interaction. Hence, tags are intended to avoid a rigid structure and prompt more creative input. Users will also choose a ‘call-to-action’ for others to access through QR-codes. A call to action can be a web-link, a prompt to send a message, or a simple game.

Our intention is that this system will not only promote familiarity with one’s community, but also provide opportunities to interact or collaborate. For example, imagine that a user sees a profile featuring a call-to-action about forming a group for an upcoming student competition. The user is very interested in taking part in this competition, and decides to use the call-to-action to express their interested. The profile owner will see this message a respond with meeting a time.

In conclusion, ‘Who’s that?’ is a new type of social application that leverages pervasive computing and the environment to promote social interaction. “‘Who’s that?’ aims to break down social barriers to meeting new people, and transform residents from a group of people simply sharing a building into a community.

Excepted User Benefits

  • promote social interaction
  • ‪break down social barriers to meeting new people‬
  • ‪transform residents from a group of people simply sharing a building into a community‬
  • offer users a way to connect in a safe and comfortable manner  • increase opportunities for collaboration
  •  increase opportunities for collaboration
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