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Case Studies

 Mobile Computing

Gary Clynch, Lecturer, Computing at ITT Dublin One current Innovations Partnerships project is being led by Senior Researcher Gary Clynch, a Computing lecturer at ITT Dublin. The industrial partner is MobileAware Ltd., a mobile content management, manipulation and middleware manufacturer based in Citywest, Dublin 24. Entitled ‘A Client for Online/Offline Mobile Workflow’, this is the second Innovation Partnerships project which Gary has had with MobileAware in recent years. The current one is due to run until November 2007, the previous one having finished in 2004.

The earlier project involved the successful commercialisation of downloading software which was extensively sold to worldwide service providers. The project provided excellent ‘research references’ for Gary and his postgraduate student, and it directly led to the current project, which is going “extremely well” according to Gary. Prior to the Mobileaware partnership, he concluded a successful ARP (Applied Research Project- the predecessor to the IP scheme) with campus company CompuPharma Ltd. Pocket PC The project concerned the use of virtual reality and 3G graphics technologies for pharmaceutical technicians.

Much of the research being carried out in the current project (and much of Mobileaware’s work at present) involves addressing the nagging difficulties with web browsing on mobile phones, particularly the lack of bandwidth, high latency, and problems associated with the patchy roll-out of the 3G services in Ireland in particular. The aim of the research is to develop smart client software which sits on the mobile device and performs intelligent caching, pre-caching, and personalisation of web content, based on the user’s typical workflow. This type of smart client capability will hopefully iron out the underlying problems with the cellular network and give the illusion of a faster, constantly available service, an essential for mobile business users. This is a move back towards the traditional ‘thick client’ architecture in which the device capabilities are exploited to the full, motivated by the fact that the cellular network cannot be assumed to be always available and providing sufficient bandwidth.

Gary is keen to exploit the Innovation Partnerships scheme for the academic objective of training  postgraduate students. The scheme provides an ideal environment for developing a post-graduate student in Computing, given the applied nature of the discipline. It gives the student an exposure to research which is applied in nature in an industrial context. It is not essential that staff working on an Innovations Partnerships project should register for a postgraduate degree, but it is a highly desirable outcome for the Institute. Industrial partners are eager for projects to be as short as possible, whereas a postgraduate student needs a minimum of 18 months to complete their studies, but many industrial partners will in any case facilitate the academic development of the project staff, particularly when it is relevant training for the potential role they may fulfil in the company over time.

For more information on the work with MobileAware, contact Gary Clynch at 404 2898.

Global Security Devices 

The latest Innovation Partnerships project to be approved at ITT Dublin is the largest ever undertaken in the Institute, with funding of €218,000, despite the fact that the industrial partner is a start-up company. It is unusual for Enterprise Ireland to fund projects with start-ups to this level, but this is an indication of the quality of the research proposal.

The Department of Electronic Engineering and Global Security Devices Limited (GSD) have formed a collaboration to carry out applied research in the area of the Zigbee air interface for wireless communications. The focus of the project is on investigating state of the art methods that will lead to an extended operating range for Zigbee wireless devices. It is intended to recruit an experienced RF engineer and a supporting software engineer, for a period of 18 months.

The company is a start-up with a strong team, led by Peter O’Connor, formerly design engineer and product manager with a Dublin based access control company. GSD are also participants on the M50 Enterprise Programme, which is led by ITT Dublin, and were runners-up in the Irish Times / ITT Dublin competition for free office space for a year in the Institute’s new incubation centre, the Synergy Centre.  The company have since moved their operations to the Synergy Centre and as well as working with the Department of Electronic Engineering are also interacting with the Mechanical Engineering Department, using a rapid prototyping facility.

The Institute’s expertise in RF design and the availability of a well-equipped RF laboratory are highly complementary to the resources of the company. James Wright and Brian Keogh will lead the Institute team. The research is extensible to other wireless sensor applications and will contribute to a national competence in the area of RF design. Read more at http://www.globalsecurity.ie/

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