Group-Context-Aware Mobile Applications

The SEI seeks to improve information capture and display for warfighters and first responders using new generations of handheld devices (e.g., smartphones) at the tactical edge, for example, in Afghanistan, in Haiti after the earthquake, or in Japan after the tsunami. We will do this by

  • extending the use of contextual data from individual context (e.g., an individual's location) to group context, leveraging information such as missions, tasks, and roles
  • making the display of information adaptive to the user's and the group's context, such as displaying friend/foe location data when warfighters are on a combat mission, or food and water availability data when first responders helping survivors of a natural disaster
  • using individual and group context to optimize resources—including battery, CPU, and bandwidth—by distributing tasks performed on the group's devices in an intelligent way. For example, in a squad of 10 warfighters in close proximity, not everyone will need to use GPS for positioning, thus saving the batteries on other mobile devices with GPS turned off.
  • reducing the cognitive load on warfighters. Interviews with troops who have been in the field and in combat have made clear that operating a mobile device is easy in normal conditions but difficult and rarely done while under fire. Using sensors—including vibration, audio, video, and heart rate and blood pressure monitors—mobile devices can sense environmental conditions with little or no interaction by the warfighters and first responders, allowing them to focus on the task of staying alive and completing their missions.


Lewis, Grace; Novakouski, Marc; & Enrique Sánchez. "Extensibility as a Collaboration Enabler: A Case Study for Group-Context-Aware Mobile Applications." Presented at the Software Engineering Institute Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, May 2012.

Lewis, Grace; Novakouski, Marc; & Sánchez, Enrique. “A Reference Architecture for Group-Context-Aware Mobile Applications.” Presented at the 4th International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications, and Services (MobiCASE), Seattle, WA, Oct. 2012. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 110 (2013): 44–63.

Novakouski, Marc. "Group-Context-Aware Mobile Applications" [blog post]. Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 2012.