ApPoggiomarino: A Context Aware App for e-Citizenship
Giuseppe Annunziata
, Francesco Colace
, Massimo De Santo
, Saverio Lemma
and Marco Lombardi
DIIn, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, Fisciano (Sa), Italy
SIMASLab, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132, Fisciano (Sa), Italy
Keywords: Context-Aware Computing, e-Citizenship, Adaptive Systems.
Abstract: The diffusion of pervasive systems and the affirmation of the Internet network as technological glue among
the individuals have deeply modified the everyday life of our society. In fact, the spread of Smartphones and
Tablets has allowed the users to use contents and services everywhere. Among the environments that have
been mainly affected by this ‘technological’ wave, the ‘City’ stands out. Therefore, with these new paradigms,
the same concept of ‘City’ results altered and enriched with new potentialities. The City is able to talk to its
inhabitants offering, according to the contexts, services and contents able to adapt themselves to the needs of
the moment. In this paper, we intend to introduce a Context Aware methodology capable of giving contexts
and services to the citizens according to their interests and their position inside the city. This methodology
has been implemented in a ‘hybrid app’ and tested in a real context.
‘You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy-
seven wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question
of yours’. The great Italian writer Italo Calvino wrote
this in his novel ‘Invisible Cities’. As often happens,
a writer succeeds many times in looking forward in
the time and the raised issue is very topical. The
citizens look more and more for answers able to
satisfy their needs. Answers that often materialize in
services and contents to be used on mobile devices
that are widely spread now (Colace et al., 2015a).
Who has
not had the necessity to know the opening
hours of a
pharmacy or to find the nearest open
Therefore, it is understandable how it is
essential to
give the citizen adaptive services and
contents able to
transmit right information in the
right contexts
(Colace et al., 2015c). A fundamental
contribution to this
scenery has come from the
increasing diffusion of
mobile devices that
concretely have created pervasive
and context aware
computing approaches (Colace et al.,
Colace et al., 2015e). Exactly the context aware
computing seems to be the most important approach
to realize an adaptive approach to the distribution of
services and contents (Colace et al., 2015b). The
Awareness marks the systems capable of
the contexts where they and the user
act, and of
consequently modifying their behaviour
exchanged information. These opportunities
by the new pervasive technologies have
deeply affected the world of the services providers
(Colace et al.,
More recently, the literature has provided a
different and wider interpretation of service,
underlining its multidimensional, systemic nature in
a theoretical context that has implications not only for
marketing but also for organizational studies, public
administration, management, social sciences, and
ICT (Ciasullo and Troisi, 2013). According to
Dominant Logic (Vargo and Lusch, 2004;
Vargo and Lusch, 2006a; Vargo and Lusch, 2008),
is co-created through ongoing interactions
customers and service providers in the
context in
which the experience takes place
(Zomerdijk and Voss, 2010).
Thus, service
influences synergic relations
among the actors
(Vargo and Lusch, 2011) in order to enable
to participate in the value co-creation process
(Gummesson et al., 2010). It is clear that the
emphasis is
on interactions that lead to value co-
(Lambert and Garcia-Dastugue, 2006;
Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004; Vargo and Lusch,
2008). Value
co-creation is a process implying the
involvement of
multiple actors engaged in an
extensive network of
interactions. Prahalad and
Annunziata, G., Colace, F., Santo, M., Lemma, S. and Lombardi, M.
ApPoggiomarino: A Context Aware App for e-Citizenship.
In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems (ICEIS 2016) - Volume 2, pages 273-281
ISBN: 978-989-758-187-8
2016 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
Ramaswamy (2004) define
co-creation in the context
of experiential marketing as
a process that enables
the individual consumer to
determine the design of
future products and services,
marketing messages
and distribution channels where
the products will be
available. In this process of co-creation, service
users actively collaborate with
providers in the
design, implementation, use, and even promotion of
co-created products or services. In
this sense, the
service cannot be complete without
customer participation in the service creation
process (Bitner et al., 1997; Zeithaml et al., 2004;
Groth, 2005).
Consumers’ role is central in
requiring personal
services, quick responses and
high levels of service
The service used in a given context, encouraging
interaction among the parties, favors the integration
of resources, expertise, information and interests
(before, during and after use). Value is thus
determined through an integrated process of co-
production, involving various parties sharing
insights, needs and availability, on the basis of a
networking, systems logic.
Customers cocreate unique experiences through
their interaction with service providers across several
touch points, responding to the various designed
elements, along with others that are outside
organizational control, such as the social environment
(Verhoef et al., 2009). In this context, customer’s
experiences cannot be designed by the organization,
but services can be designed for the customer
experience (Patrício et al., 2011). Thus, customers
can co-
construct and personalize the service
integrate the inputs of firms into their
practices with
value interpreted through the social
meaning of such
practices (Holttinen, 2010).
In particular, the use of services by consumers
generates experiences for the other involved actors, in
terms of performance, feedback, knowledge and
emotions. In short, the customer is no longer
conceived as a consumer or destroyer of value
(consumer) but as a participant in the production
process (prosumer) (Vargo and Lusch, 2006b).
The active involvement of customers pivots on
acquiring in depth knowledge of experience,
perceptions and opinions about the service as a whole.
While the customers are using services, ideas are
exchanged, potentially creating an effect that enables
them to develop new lines of thought, which may not
have occurred independently (Ulwick, 2002).
On the basis of what has been previously
described, this work will be organized in this way: in
the following paragraph, we will describe the concept
of context and how it can be declined in a modern way
thanks to the use of new technologies. Then, we will
introduce a context-based approach able to give,
inside a little town, services and contents useful for
the user. Some experimental results will be presented
in the last part of the paper.
The human being has always used the concept of
context, which belongs to that kind of concepts
known by the majority of people, but that are difficult
to describe with words. In (Schilit et al., 1994), there
is the
first attempt to describe the relation between
context and the context-awareness in the field
information technologies. The three main aspects
the context are: ‘where you are’, ‘who you are
and ‘what resources are nearby’. If we put
the three just mentioned sentences, we
realize that
they can be seen as a first definition of
context based
on some observable characteristics.
definition of context has been proposed
in (Ryan et al.,
1997) where the context is
defined as a series of
environmental features
(environment), such as, for
example, the place,
the temperature and the
considered user’s identity.
The definition of context
that usually is taken into
account is that proposed by
(Dey and Abowd,
1999): ‘Context is any information that can be
to characterize the situation of an entity. An
entity is a person, place, or object that is considered
relevant to the interaction between a user and an
application, including the user and applications
themselves.’ Directly linked to the definition of
context, there is that of context-awareness
applications: applications that in some way are aware
of the context where the user is and the capability to
detect and react to the changes in the environment
where it is located (Colace et al., 2015f). Again in
(Dey and Abowd,
1999), there is a definition of the
system: ‘A system is context-aware if
it uses context
to provide relevant information and/or
services to the
user, where relevancy depends on the
user’s task.’ In
practice, a system can be defined
context aware when
it takes advantage of the
context to give important
information and/or
services to the user, where the
depends on the user’s request and
features. If we
wanted to classify the context-aware
we could consider that presented in
(Schilit et al.,
Proximate Selection, which literally means
‘selection of proximity’, is an interfacing technique
ICEIS 2016 - 18th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
that considers that the user gets close to a particular
place to receive some relevant information and/or to
make elaborations, both on request and automatically.
Automatic contextual reconfiguration is the
process of addition of new components, removal of
already existing components or alteration of the
connection among the components of a system. In
actual fact, there is the change of the system
according to the context. Typically, the components
can include: driver modules directly downloadable
by the user, modules of programmes.
Contextual information and commands: often
the operations that people make can be predicted. In
fact, usually, there are some recurring operations
made in particular places (e.g. universities, libraries,
offices, etc.). The applications that use this kind of
‘contextual information’ are made to accomplish
certain orders (contextual commands) in place of the
user according to the context.
Context-triggered actions are those
applications that automatically carry out an operation
when there is a particular condition (trigger) in the
Although as time goes by new classifications
have been introduced, the previous ones are still
valid. It is important to precise that a context-aware
application has not to necessarily belong to one of the
listed categories, but it is possible to have some
‘hybrid’ applications that have features belonging to
more categories.
What are the context-aware applications for? For
some years, more and more often we hear talking
about smart environments aimed to the improvement
of the quality of life, both in domestic environment
(domotics) and in city environment. In particular,
there is an expression that recurs a lot in the several
mass media: ‘smart city’. The smart cities are the so-
called intelligent cities. This subject is
interdisciplinary and encompasses all the fields: from
the energy saving, to the improvement of life and the
fastest and more natural access to information. It is
exactly in these two latest fields that the context-
aware applications insert themselves. In fact, in the
future cities, there will be more and more smart
spaces (domestic and not), which will take care of the
users making easier and more immediate their access
to information and, under determined conditions, will
be able to foresee the user’s desires and therefore to
anticipate some operations on behalf of the user. As
an example of smart environment, we can think of a
room that has the capability of automatically
regulating the temperature of the environment
according to the user’s preferences, or, through a
centralized stereo system, can change music
according to the user’s tastes. And moreover, we
could think to a public park where people, by tagging,
can leave their own messages on a virtual wall, so that
in the future the users of this same park can take
advantage of the advices of who has been previously
in that place. A further example could be that of a
smart shopping centre, where when a user enters in a
shop directly receive information about the products
on sale that he/she could be interested in. This
processing can be made on the basis of the previous
purchases and/or of a series of indications given by
the same user (for example, through an electronic
questionnaire made available by the shopping centre).
This kind of applications can become very important
also in the field of the improvement of disabled
people’s life. In fact, it is possible to study some areas
that change according to the specific need. For
example, let us consider a blind person that enters a
smart public building, this environment, after having
received context information about the user, has to be
able to guide him/her towards his/her destination
using audio messages.
In the following paragraph, we will present an
approach to the management of the context and its
associated services to make the previously introduced
approaches concrete.
A key element in the design of a contextual
application and a Context Aware System is the
representation and management of the context itself.
To better understand formal concepts, it has been
carried out in the paper an example based on a
simplified citizen domain, on which it is now being
developed a Context Aware System that assists
residents and tourists in their activities.
The goal is to provide a mechanism of dynamic
and automatic invocation of services considering the
context through the Context Dimension Tree (Tanca
et al.,
CDT is a tree composed of a triad <r; N; A> where
r indicates its root, N is the set of nodes of which it is
made of and A is the set of arcs joining these nodes.
CDT is used to be able to represent, in a graphic
form, all possible contexts that you may have within
an application.
Nodes present within CDT are divided into two
categories, namely dimension nodes and concept
ApPoggiomarino: A Context Aware App for e-Citizenship
nodes. A dimension node, which is graphically
represented by the color black, is a node that
describes a possible dimension of the application
domain; a concept node, on the other hand, is depicted
by the color white and represents one of the possible
values that a dimension may assume. Each node is
identified through its type and a label.
The children of the root node r are all dimension
nodes, they are called top dimension and for each of
them there may be a sub-tree. Leaf nodes, instead, must
be concept nodes. A dimension node can have, as
children, only concept nodes and, similarly, a concept
node can have, as children, only dimension
In addition to nodes, you can use other elements:
the parameters, which may arise both from a
dimension node (graphically represented by a white
square) and from a concept node (white triangle),
submitting them to particular constraints. In fact, a
concept node can have more than one parameter,
while a dimension node can have only a parameter
and only in case it has not already children nodes. The
introduction of parameters is due to their usefulness
in shaping the characteristics that can have an infinite
or very high number of attributes. For example, a
node representing Cost dimension risks having a high
number of values that should be specified by as many
concept children nodes. In a similar case, it is
therefore preferred to use only one parameter, whose
value will be specified in each case. Leaf nodes, in
addition to concept nodes, can also be parameters.
In general, each node has a parameter
corresponding to a domain, dom(nP). For parameter
nodes connected to concept nodes, the domain can be
a set of key values from a relational database, while
in case of parameter nodes connected to dimension
nodes, the domain is a set of possible concept nodes
of dimension.
In figure 1, it is shown a general designed CDT,
called Meta CDT, which is the starting point for the
design of a specific CDT that can be exploited in
contextual applications.
You may note six top dimensions, which
correspond to the questions of the 5W1H method:
Location (WHERE), Role (WHO), Time (WHEN),
Situation (HOW), Interests (WHAT) and Utilization
In particular, there are two types of users and
eleven categories of interests.
A context element is defined as an assignment
= value, where d_name
indicates a possible
size or undersize of CDT (it is the label of a
dimension node), while value may represent the label
of one of the concept nodes that are children of the
considered dimension node or the value of a
parameter referring to one of these concept nodes or
the value of a parameter referring to the considered
dimension node.
For example, these assignments are possible
context elements: Interest = tourism, Location =
LocationID (ID = 3), Role = user, Utilization =
Figure 1: Meta CDT for contextual applications.
ICEIS 2016 - 18th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
A context is specified as: ˄ (d_name
= value).
It is defined as an “and” among different context
Several context elements, combined with each
other by means of an “and”, damage, therefore, the
origin of a context.
For example, a possible framework that can be
obtained from the previously seen CDT, through the
context element that we have listed, is:
C= (Location = locationID (ID=3)) ˄ (Role= user (ID=15))
˄ (Time = now) ˄ (Situation = routine) ˄ (Interest = tourism) ˄
(Utilization = holiday)
The context is defined as a user, interested in
tourism, who uses the contextual app on vacation, in
a called place.
Therefore, through the Context Dimension Tree,
it is possible, after analyzing the domain of
application, to express the size characteristics and
values they can take in a graphical way by,
respectively, dimension nodes and concept nodes or
parameters. The assignment to a dimension of one of
its possible values is a context element. The context
element can be considered the main feature of the
application, by which a context can be decomposed.
The moment you make the formulation of the context,
you must specify all the context elements that are part
of it and that enable its creation. Any context is
expressible by an “and” combination of the context
elements to which they are peculiar.
By definition, you can begin to understand how
you will create views based on data relating to each
context; in fact, they will be built starting from the
portions of the database and then from the partial
views, associated to the context element that takes
part into context information.
Methodologies and Phases to
Obtain Contextual Service
The methodology, shown in figure 2, has been
realized in order to manage the database and to carry
out reductions of their content based on the context.
The purpose is to help the designer in the
definition of all contexts relevant to the considered
application and, later, in the association to each
context of the portion of the database containing the
relevant data about the context.
The methodology consists of three main phases,
which we will see in detail later: design phase of the
Context Dimension Tree (CDT), definition phase of
partial views and composition phase of global views.
Figure 2: Phases to obtain contextual service.
ApPoggiomarino: A Context Aware App for e-Citizenship
Design phase of the Context Tree: in this
the Context Dimension Tree is
designed to
identify significant context
elements for the
considered application. In
fact, it focuses on the
definition of contexts
and on the elements that
compose them.
These contexts must be identified
shaped, indicating particular elements that
characterize each of them. As it has been
said, it
is available a special tool called
Dimension Tree (CDT) to make
context design.
Three CDT were made for specific
environments in order to represent and
manage a multitude of different contexts and
order to identify, represent, preserve and
available cultural points for each type
of user.
Definition phase of partial views: after the
definition of all the contexts and their
elements, in this step a different
portion of the
database is associated to each
context element,
containing the relevant data
for it.
In practice, the goal is to find the appropriate
value for a given dimension, in order to
obtain, by means of the values of all the
dimensions, a valid query and specific to the
context in which the user is located.
A partial view could be related to dimension
“Role”: once logged in, the application is
able to recognize the user and to know more
precisely whether he/she is, for example in
tourist areas, a resident or a tourist. Thus, the
value “tourist” of dimension “Role” is a
view for the current context: using this
knowledge, you can exclude certain services,
not suitable or useful to the tourist role.
Composition phase of global views: this is
phase where you have the automatic
generation of
views associated with each
context, which is
made starting from partial
views associated with
context elements.
After the creation of the global
views of the
contexts, the answers to questions
that will
be asked to the system will be developed
from these views and, in particular, from the
associated with the context in which
you are
located when the query is
In particular, once defined the values for
dimension, you can use all the
obtained in order to identify the
right context and
offer data and services
customized for the user.
It is assumed the example of a tourist who is
walking near a beach who gets initially a
notification of his/her proximity. Later,
needs to deepen such notification.
Therefore, it
will propose him/her services
that they might be
interested in, such as the
site of the nearest
beach, where he/she can
get the price list.
The System Architecture
We have made a Context Aware System, whose
architecture is shown in figure 3, able to adapt
useful data and services to users based on the
context. Context awareness of interaction is
particularly important in ubiquitous systems and
mobile applications for groups of users.
In fact, given the ever-increasing variety of
interaction devices (fixed and mobile) and application
use contexts, it becomes increasingly necessary to
develop Context Aware systems that manage
information that make unique and distinguish each
human-machine interaction.
The architecture of our model is composed of: the
Context Aware Module (CAM), which is the main
engine and considers the context in reference to the
obtained data (contextual information), in particular
position (GPS location), interests and role (obtained
during registration) of each user; the Knowledge Base
Module, a special type of database for the
management of knowledge and information: in
particular “Users”, representing all users of the
Figure 3: The System Architecture.
ICEIS 2016 - 18th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
application, “Services”, which describes all the
services of every possible application context,
“Resources”, which forms all the points of interest
and “Events”, which describes all events; and finally
the Management Module (MM), used both by the
administrators of the app and the users themselves.
This module deals with some important issues,
including: POIs management, where the insertion can
be done directly from map, manually or by search of
interests, interacting in the last two cases with Google
Maps; services, comments and events management,
interacting with TripAdvisor and Facebook/Twitter
In figure 4, for a greater immediacy, it is shown a
deepening of the architecture realized: the set of user
profile, such as preferences and interests, of user
context, such as his/her GPS location, of CDT, which
provides the rules and allows the representation of the
specific context in which he/she is located, of data,
including the points of interest and services, allows
obtaining the contextual resources tailored for the
through the use of a contextual application.
Figure 4: Contextual resources as final result of App.
On this subject, for the different environments
described, we have realized hybrid mobile
both in Android and iOS, with many
features, some of
which are shown in figure 8:
contents, including
descriptions, images and services,
tailored to interests,
profile and location users,
planning a route based on
user’s interests and his/her
preferences of travel,
exploration of the surroundings
from the current
position, custom QR Code reader,
weather and news on
the site, search and insertion of
events, the comments
section, display position and
points of interest on the
map, with integration of the
navigator on the
smartphone to reach specific ones.
ApPoggiomarino: A
In this section, we will present ApPoggiomarino,
contextual app designed and implemented
according to what was described previously. In
particular, we have thought to apply the approach in
the context of the little town of Poggiomarino, a
municipality in Campania (Italy) of about 21,000
inhabitants and with an extension of 13 square km.
Along with the Municipality of Poggiomarino, a
reference CDT has been designed. In this phase, we
have collected the services and contents potentially
useful for the citizens and situate them on the map
defining the activation zones (fig. 5).
Figure 5: Definition of the activation areas of services and
Moreover, we have defined the different
typologies of
citizens (elementary school’s students,
users with
kids at school, university students, …)
them to a previously established set of
services and
contents. Having the town a series of
artistic contents,
we have developed services and
contents in support
of them too. A series of
services and contents
considered transversal, such
as the opening hours of
the City Hall, the Library,
the Cemetery, the
pharmacies, have been made
available to all the
typologies of users.
All information about places of worship and
shops has been uploaded, for any building or area of
The App has been developed with hybrid
technologies (Cordova and PhoneGap) to allow an
easier publication both in Android and Apple
environment (figure 6).
Figure 6: Screenshots with some features of contextual
The App has been presented to the population in
September 2015 and has been installed by about 500
ApPoggiomarino: A Context Aware App for e-Citizenship
Therefore, by the installations we can infer that
the App has had a remarkable success among people
aged under 20 and over 50. This is not surprising
because exactly these ranges are mainly interested in
services and contents of the town, living it for more
time. In figure 7, it is presented the use, in terms of
daily requests of the several services, of the app.
Figure 7: Service Requests in the period 15/09/2015-
From a more detailed analysis, we can deduce that
generally the most popular services are those linked
to the request of opening hours of shops and public
offices. Instead, during weekends, the requests of
services and contents concerning activities linked to
free time become more substantial.
In this paper, we have presented an app able to
offer services and contents personalized for the needs
of the user according to the context where he/she is.
The app bases its ‘contextual’ functioning on the
adoption of the CDT that is able to shape the context
and the actions to implement. The app has been
developed for the needs of a little Italian town and the
first results have been satisfying. The following
activities have as purpose the application of the
proposed methodology to more complex
environments, for dimension and number of potential
points of interest to manage.
We would like to thank the Municipality of
Poggiomarino, represented by Doctor Pantaleone
Annunziata for the support given in the phase of
definition of the services. Thanks also to the Public
Library ‘S. Boccia Montefusco’, represented by
Doctor Monica D’Ambrosio, for the contents and the
suggestions. The research reported in this paper has
been supported by the Project Cultural Heritage
Information System (CHIS) PON03PE_00099_1
CUP E66J140000 70007 – D46J1400000 0007 and
the Databenc District.
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