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May 27, 2008

Fresh perspectives on the future of mobile life

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Next Thursday 5 June sees the launch of the new Nokia Research Center (NRC) program in Lausanne. Fusing the talents of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and NRC, this collaborative research venture is already promising to explore some of the most exciting and unchartered paths on the mobile development landscape, including contextually aware interaction, environment sensors and bold new visions for sustainability.

To celebrate the launch, Nokia Research Center is holding a scientific workshop of sorts, where leading minds in these and other exciting development fields will be speaking about concepts and ideas related to these themes.

Echoing the core research agenda of NRC in Lausanne, a talk touching on the “Internet of Things” – the way people can benefit from exploring their physical environment with mobile devices – will kick-start the event. Pertti Huuskonen, Principal Scientist at the Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland, is first-up exploring this topic and the challenges of deploying real-world mobile solutions for contextually aware mobile interaction.

Continuing this thread, a talk on environment sensors is being presented by Marc Parlange, Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering. This is being followed by a talk dubbed “Sustainable energy – without the hot air”, by David McKay, Professor in the Department of Physics, University of Cambridge. His speech promises to pose and explore a bunch of interesting questions including, “How easily can we (the `developed’ world) get off our fossil fuel habit? Could a European country live on its own renewables? Assuming no economic constraints, assuming we cover the country with windmills and the coast with wave-machines, every roof with solar panels and every field with energy crops, could we get enough power from renewables to continue with our current consumption?” His website goes into some depth of this topic, and is definitely worth a look.

A number of other talks are lined up to celebrate the launch, and it’s clear that the Nokia Research Center continues to see huge value in collaboration with world leading academic bodies. But where do you think NRC should be pointing it’s research efforts? Do you think contextually aware mobile interaction and “Internet of Things” is important? Are there any other areas of research that NRC currently isn’t investigating that you think it should pursue? Let us know in the comments section below.

Photo ‘Lausanne by night’ from Les photos de Nico