ABSTRACT Ubiquitous computing plays an increasing role in our lives. Typically, applications in ubiquitous computing environ-ments are context aware, namely, they react to the situations of their users at a given moment in time. One example for such environment is visitor’s guides in cultural heritage sites, supporting visits of individuals or small groups, such as families or friends. In such environments, it is well known that interaction among visitors enhances the overall visit experience. Recently, some research prototypes of visitor’s guides have started supporting such interaction through textual communication services embedded in them. However, these applications have so far been developed separately in an ad-hoc manner, despite common features and infrastructures they share. The research described here generalizes communication services offered by different visitor’s guides and suggests a systematic and generic framework for developing context-aware communication services for visitor’s guides. The specific communication services are abstracted into a domain model, later used in practice for adapting and tailoring the different concepts to the specific requirements of the applications. The framework is demonstrated in the specific setting of a multi-agent museum visitor’s guide system. We also show that the suggested framework is not limited to the specific museum visitor’s guide system but may facilitate the development of context-aware communication applications in general.
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