Special Issue "Networking, Computing and Immersive Technologies for Smart Environments"

A special issue of Technologies (ISSN 2227-7080). This special issue belongs to the section "Information and Communication Technologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Konstantinos Oikonomou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Informatics, Faculty of Information Science and Informatics, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece
Interests: medium access control in ad hoc networks; performance issues in wireless networks; information dissemination; service discovery; facility location; energy consumption in wireless sensor networks; network cost reduction in cloud computing environments
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Vasileios Komianos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Audio and Visual Arts, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece
Interests: virtual reality; augmented/mixed/extended reality; fog/ubiquitous computing; smart cities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Smart environments encompass a large set of technologies including computer networking, wireless communication, computational infrastructures, sensors’ design, sensors’ networks, and algorithm design aimed to provide information-related services in diverse environments ranging from cities, industrial facilities, and agricultural and farming units, to cultural heritage sites and homes. Services in such environments have often to be provided on-site and present user-friendly interfaces, thus making immersive technologies (virtual, augmented, mixed, and cross reality) a suitable option. In addition, immersive applications can be further integrated in a smart environment using ubiquitous user interfaces and wearable equipment.

In this context, emerging high-performance technologies such as cloud computing, 5G, and network functions virtualization co-exist with low-cost computational services and networking approaches including fog computing, wireless networks, and sensor devices. Both sets of technologies and approaches are employed to provide, combined or independently, (i) real-time response and reliable communication in delay-sensitive applications and mission-critical applications and (ii) dispersed network access, distributed data collection, and distributed computational offloading for varying, conventional or immersive, applications from industrial automation and agriculture to art performances, video games, and home entertainment.

This Special Issue is devoted to works identifying challenges in the described field as well as theoretical and experimental approaches to tackle them. Researchers and practitioners are invited to share their research experiences and works.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Immersive technologies
  • Ubiquitous user interfaces
  • Cloud/fog computing
  • Network protocols
  • Wireless communication
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Algorithm design
  • Distributed applications
  • Multilayered hardware/software architecture
  • Low‐cost IoT/IoE implementations
  • Smart Tourism/Smart City applications

Dr. Konstantinos Oikonomou
Dr. Vasileios Komianos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Technologies is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Immersive technologies
  • Virtual/augmented/mixed reality
  • Ubiquitous user interfaces
  • Computer networks
  • Cloud computing
  • Fog computing
  • Cloud/fog gaming
  • Pervasive computing
  • Internet of Things
  • Network protocols
  • Algorithms
  • Smart environments
  • Smart tourism
  • Smart city

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Article
A Framework for Exploring Churches/Monuments/Museums of Byzantine Cultural Influence Exploiting Immersive Technologies in Real-Time Networked Environments
Technologies 2021, 9(3), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies9030057 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 489
Abstract
The unique art that was developed in Byzantine times is widely accepted as a precursor to the Renaissance and is still evident in monuments either from or influenced by the Byzantium. Visiting such a site is a unique experience due to the lavishly [...] Read more.
The unique art that was developed in Byzantine times is widely accepted as a precursor to the Renaissance and is still evident in monuments either from or influenced by the Byzantium. Visiting such a site is a unique experience due to the lavishly painted interior for both tourists and scholars. Taking advantage of the emerging 5G technologies, cloud/fog computing, and Augmented/Mixed Reality mechanisms, a common smart device (e.g., smartphone, tablet) could be employed to give a better experience to the end-users. The proposed framework is intended to provide visitors with interpretative information regarding the visited monuments and their paintings. Under the framework introduced in this paper, camera input is uploaded to a cloud/fog computing infrastructure where appropriate algorithms and services provide monument and painting recognition and the mobile application retrieves and projects the related information. In addition, the designed immersive user interfaces assist visitors in contributing in cases of monuments and paintings for which no available information exists. This paper presents the state of the art in approaches for immersive experiences in Digital Culture, reviews the current image recognition approaches and their suitability for Byzantine paintings, proposes interaction techniques appropriately designed for observation and interaction of paintings, and discusses the overall framework architecture that is needed to support the described functionality while stressing the challenging issues of the above aspects thus paving the road for future work and providing guidelines for a test-bed implementation. Full article
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Article
Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning Framework in SDN-IoT for Transient Load Detection and Prevention
Technologies 2021, 9(3), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies9030044 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 631
Abstract
The fast emergence of IoT devices and its accompanying big and complex data has necessitated a shift from the traditional networking architecture to software-defined networks (SDNs) in recent times. Routing optimization and DDoS protection in the network has become a necessity for mobile [...] Read more.
The fast emergence of IoT devices and its accompanying big and complex data has necessitated a shift from the traditional networking architecture to software-defined networks (SDNs) in recent times. Routing optimization and DDoS protection in the network has become a necessity for mobile network operators in maintaining a good QoS and QoE for customers. Inspired by the recent advancement in Machine Learning and Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL), we propose a novel MADDPG integrated Multiagent framework in SDN for efficient multipath routing optimization and malicious DDoS traffic detection and prevention in the network. The two MARL agents cooperate within the same environment to accomplish network optimization task within a shorter time. The state, action, and reward of the proposed framework were further modelled mathematically using the Markov Decision Process (MDP) and later integrated into the MADDPG algorithm. We compared the proposed MADDPG-based framework to DDPG for network metrics: delay, jitter, packet loss rate, bandwidth usage, and intrusion detection. The results show a significant improvement in network metrics with the two agents. Full article
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Article
Intelligent System for Vehicles Number Plate Detection and Recognition Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Technologies 2021, 9(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies9010009 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
Vehicles on the road are rising in extensive numbers, particularly in proportion to the industrial revolution and growing economy. The significant use of vehicles has increased the probability of traffic rules violation, causing unexpected accidents, and triggering traffic crimes. In order to overcome [...] Read more.
Vehicles on the road are rising in extensive numbers, particularly in proportion to the industrial revolution and growing economy. The significant use of vehicles has increased the probability of traffic rules violation, causing unexpected accidents, and triggering traffic crimes. In order to overcome these problems, an intelligent traffic monitoring system is required. The intelligent system can play a vital role in traffic control through the number plate detection of the vehicles. In this research work, a system is developed for detecting and recognizing of vehicle number plates using a convolutional neural network (CNN), a deep learning technique. This system comprises of two parts: number plate detection and number plate recognition. In the detection part, a vehicle’s image is captured through a digital camera. Then the system segments the number plate region from the image frame. After extracting the number plate region, a super resolution method is applied to convert the low-resolution image into a high-resolution image. The super resolution technique is used with the convolutional layer of CNN to reconstruct the pixel quality of the input image. Each character of the number plate is segmented using a bounding box method. In the recognition part, features are extracted and classified using the CNN technique. The novelty of this research is the development of an intelligent system employing CNN to recognize number plates, which have less resolution, and are written in the Bengali language. Full article
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Article
An Authorship Protection Technology for Electronic Documents Based on Image Watermarking
Technologies 2020, 8(4), 79; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies8040079 - 20 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1022
Abstract
In the field of information technology, information security technologies hold a special place. They ensure the security of the use of information technology. One of the urgent tasks is the protection of electronic documents during their transfer in information systems, including smart systems. [...] Read more.
In the field of information technology, information security technologies hold a special place. They ensure the security of the use of information technology. One of the urgent tasks is the protection of electronic documents during their transfer in information systems, including smart systems. This paper proposes a technology for protecting electronic documents containing digital images. The main idea is that the electronic document authorship can be protected by embedding digital watermarks in the images that are contained in this document. The paper considers three cases of using the proposed technology: full copying of an electronic document, copying of images contained in the document, and copying of text. It is shown that in all three cases, the authorship confirmation can be successfully implemented. Some areas of the proposed technology application are described, including augmented reality applications. Computational experiments are conducted with robust watermarking algorithms that can be used within the technology. A scenario of technology implementation is proposed which provides for the joint use of different class algorithms. Full article
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Article
CognitOS Board: A Wall-Sized Board to Support Presentations in Intelligent Environments
Technologies 2020, 8(4), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies8040066 - 08 Nov 2020
Viewed by 944
Abstract
The proliferation of Internet of Things devices and services and their integration in everyday environments led to the emergence of intelligent offices, classrooms, conference, and meeting rooms that adhere to the paradigm of Ambient Intelligence. Usually, the type of activities performed in such [...] Read more.
The proliferation of Internet of Things devices and services and their integration in everyday environments led to the emergence of intelligent offices, classrooms, conference, and meeting rooms that adhere to the paradigm of Ambient Intelligence. Usually, the type of activities performed in such environments (i.e., presentations and lectures) can be enhanced by the use of large Interactive Boards that—among others—allow access to digital content, promote collaboration, enhance the process of exchanging ideas, and increase the engagement of the audience. Additionally, the board contents are expected to be plenty, in terms of quantity, and diverse, in terms of type (e.g., textual data, pictorial data, multimedia, figures, and charts), which unavoidably makes their manipulation over a large display tiring and cumbersome, especially when the interaction lasts for a considerable amount of time (e.g., during a class hour). Acknowledging both the shortcomings and potentials of Interactive Boards in intelligent conference rooms, meeting rooms, and classrooms, this work introduces a sophisticated framework named CognitOS Board, which takes advantage of (i) the intelligent facilities offered by the environment and (ii) the amenities offered by wall-to-wall displays, in order to enhance presentation-related activities. In this article, we describe the design process of CognitOS Board, elaborate on the available functionality, and discuss the results of a user-based evaluation study. Full article
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Conference Report
Waking Up In the Morning (WUIM): A Smart Learning Environment for Students with Learning Difficulties
Technologies 2021, 9(3), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies9030050 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Effectiveness, efficiency, scalability, autonomy, engagement, flexibility, adaptiveness, personalization, conversationality, reflectiveness, innovation, and self-organization are some of the fundamental features of smart environments. Smart environments are considered a good learning practice for formal and informal education; however, it is important to point out the [...] Read more.
Effectiveness, efficiency, scalability, autonomy, engagement, flexibility, adaptiveness, personalization, conversationality, reflectiveness, innovation, and self-organization are some of the fundamental features of smart environments. Smart environments are considered a good learning practice for formal and informal education; however, it is important to point out the pedagogical approaches on which they are based. Smart learning environments (SLEs) underline the flexibility of eclectic pedagogy that places students at the center of any educational process and takes into account the diversity in classrooms. Thus, SLEs incorporate pedagogical principles derived from (1) traditional learning theories, e.g., behaviorism and constructivism, (2) contemporary pedagogical philosophy, e.g., differentiated teaching and universal design for learning, (3) theories that provide specific instructions for educational design, e.g., cognitive theory of multimedia learning and gamification of learning. The innovative concept of transmedia learning is an eclectic pedagogical approach, which in addition to learning principles, blends all available media so far. WUIM is a transmedia program for training independent living skills aimed primarily at children with learning disabilities, which emerged from the composition of pedagogical theories, traditional educational materials and cutting-edge technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, and art-based production methodologies. This paper outlines the development of WUIM, from the prototyping presented at the 4th International Conference in Creative Writing (2019) to the Alpha and Beta stages, including user and expert evaluations. Full article
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