A Bluetooth Wireless Network Infrastructure for a Multimedia Guidebook
Matthew D’Souza, Adam Postula, Neil Bergmann
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Montserrat Ros
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science
The University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Keywords: Multimedia Guide Book, Bluetooth Wireless Network, On Demand Context-Aware Multimedia
Abstract: This paper describes the implementation of a Bluetooth Village Guide Book (VGB) scenario for use in the
Kelvin Grove Urban Village located in Brisbane, Australia. An Information Point Station Network (IPSN)
was developed, along with software for two types of mobile computing devices. The implementation
consists of several Information Point Stations (IPSs) placed at locations of significance, with access to
information items on a centralized server. Once a user is registered on the network, he/she is given the
opportunity to experience context- (and eventually user-) aware information on demand and in various
multimedia formats. These information items are selected by the user, either by way of a menu system
appearing on their mobile computing device or a more intuitive pointer-tag system. Information items are
then ‘beamed’ to the user’s mobile computing device for the user to view. Bluetooth was selected as the
medium of choice due to its prevalence on most modern mobile computing devices such as Personal Digital
Assistants and mobile (cell) phones. This fact, coupled with the nature of Bluetooth communications
lacking the requirement for line-of-sight meant users could retrieve location-aware information at the
“locality” level. The implementation was found to be successful and was tested with multiple users
accessing information items from a given IPS as well as multiple IPSs attached to the centralized server.
Still, there is further work to be done on the VBG software, the user-registration system and on creating an
embedded solution for the individual Information Point Stations.
In recent years, the development of sophisticated
mobile computing technology has lead to the
widespread usage of mobile computing devices
(MCD) such as mobile phones and personal digital
assistants. This has lead to new ways in which
people can access and share information. The
sophistication of MCDs has also lead to the
development of mobile multimedia services and
communication features. Applications such as web
browsing and game playing are now common
features on mobile phones. The Connected
Communities Project associated with the Australian
Centre for Interactive Design aims to build an
information communications technology
infrastructure that allows residents in a community
to share general information about their environment
using MCDs.
This paper presents an application by the
Connected Communities Project to develop a
Multimedia Guidebook information system for use
in the Kelvin Grove Urban Village (Kelvin Grove
Urban Village Webpage), located in Brisbane
Australia. The Multimedia Guidebook information
system allows the user to access specific information
related to their immediate surroundings. Multimedia
Guidebooks are commonly used in museums and
other tourist facilities. The information accessed can
be images, audio or text. The guidebook also has
D’Souza M., Postula A., Bergmann N. and Ros M. (2005).
MOBILE LOCALITY-AWARE MULTIMEDIA ON MOBILE COMPUTING DEVICES - A Bluetooth Wireless Network Infrastr ucture for a Multimedia
In Proceedings of the Second International Conference on e-Business and Telecommunication Networks, pages 150-153
DOI: 10.5220/0001415201500153
authoring features which allow the user to leave text
comments related to their location. These comments
can be viewed by other users at that location.
The multimedia guidebook system
implementation consists of information point
stations (IPS) placed at specific locations of interest.
A point of interest can be a monument, a building or
any article of significance. Each information point
station contains media information relevant to its
location. The user can use their personal digital
assistant (PDA) or mobile phone to access media
information stored in an information point station.
The transfer of media information between the IPS
and the user’s MCD is facilitated using the
Bluetooth wireless communication protocol.
Bluetooth was chosen as the transfer medium due to
its availability on most MCDs. The type of media
material transferred includes text, images and audio
Another interactive method of selecting
information from the guidebook was also developed.
It consists of a pointer and tag system that allows the
user to select to view information without using their
mobile computing device. The user selects the
information to be accessed by aiming a pointer at a
This paper is organized into 6 sections. Section 2
presents a review of related work. Section 3
describes a typical user scenario. Section 4 discusses
the implementation of the multimedia guidebook
network infrastructure. Future areas of investigation
are discussed in section 5 and conclusions are drawn
in section 6.
Multimedia Guidebooks can be found in museums
and other tourist attractions. Usually guidebooks
support only audio information but there are projects
to develop more sophisticated guidebooks. An
Example is the Exploratorium (Hsi 2002) was
developed for an older PDA platform. No
guidebooks have yet been developed for the latest
smart mobile phones. Existing guidebooks tend to
use older short-range wireless protocols such
infrared communications. Infrared has been
surpassed by Bluetooth (Bluetooth SIG) in many
applications because it does not require line of sight,
supports ad-hoc networking and has more robust
data communications.
The Exploratorium guidebook provides the user
with information about exhibits in a museum. The
Exploratorium guidebook deploys Radio Frequency
ID (RFID) beacons, 802.11b wireless LAN and HP
Jornada PDAs. When a user with a PDA comes
within range of an exhibit that has a RFID beacon,
the beacon’s ID is sent to the PDA via infrared.
Information about the exhibit is requested by the
PDA and the result is returned via the 802.11b LAN.
Pointers more commonly known as remote
controls are used in everyday life to control devices
such as television sets. Pointers can be classified in
terms on the communication medium used. Most
commonly used pointers use infrared. There are
projects to develop pointers that use laser light. One
such project described in (Ringwald 2002)
developed a laser pointer linked to a PDA so that it
can control devices remotely. So far pointers have
not been used with guidebooks or other applications
that require the user to select information.
The scenario of a Multimedia Guidebook gives the
user the opportunity to experience context-aware
information on demand in various multimedia
formats. Typical interaction between a user’s
mobile computing device and the Information Point
Station Network (IPSN) involves 3 major processes:
a registration process; a connection and requesting
process; and an online-authoring process.
Before being given access to the IPSN, a user is
required to register and download the Village Guide
Book (VGB) software onto their mobile computing
device (MCD). The user is assigned a unique User
Identifier (UID) which is used to authenticate the
user when access to the IPSN is attempted. It is
envisaged that this registering process could also
involve the setting of personal viewing preferences
to further adapt the user’s experience of the
information available from Information Point
Stations (IPS).
As the user roams around the Kelvin Grove
Urban Village site, he/she may choose to access the
IPSN when approaching a point of interest near an
IPS, at which point, the user will run the VGB
software on their MCD. Once the software has
established a connection to the IPS, the user is able
to browse a menu of information items related to
that point of interest. An example of this menu
system is shown in Figure 1a). When the user selects
a menu item, the corresponding information is
downloaded wirelessly from the IPS and seamlessly
executed by the MCD. Information items can be
audio, text or image files. Once the user has finished
using the IPS, the VGB software will disconnect
from the IPSN.
Infrastructure for a Multimedia Guidebook
The other method that a user may employ to
access information from the IPSN is by way of a
pointer (Figure 1b) and tag (Figure 1c) system also
developed for the purposes of this scenario. This
pointer-and-tag system allows the user to point to
the specific information they require, without the
need of connecting to a particular IPS and searching
through a menu for the information they require.
The pointer is attached to the MCD, and the user
intuitively points this to the tag associated with the
information they would like to view. The user’s
experience of an information item once it is
downloaded via Bluetooth is the same regardless of
how the user selected it.
The final process in the user’s interaction with
the IPSN, is the process of online-authoring. This is
the process whereby a registered user can request
and view a piece of information and comment on it
for the benefit of the rest of the community for the
purpose of establishing a dynamic repository of
personal annotations and recommendations.
Currently, the VGB software offers the possibility
for the user to upload a textual comment for any
viewable item. This notion of online authoring
could be extended to accept photos or other
multimedia information from MCDs.
The goal of offering context-aware information
is achieved by ensuring that information retrievable
from a given IPS pertains to local sights, important
nearby artefacts, or tagged items located physically
near the IPS.
The Multimedia Guidebook system implementation
consists of information point stations (IPS) placed at
specific locations of interest. Each IPS forms part of
an Information Point Station Network (IPSN). The
IPSN is shown in Figure 2. The IPSN consists of a
central server, information point stations, mobile
computing devices and pointer-tag system.
The Bluetooth serial port and Object Exchange
File transfer (OBEX-FTP) profiles are used to
connect the MCD and the IPS. The serial port profile
(SPP) functions as a control channel. A specialized
control protocol was used to request information
from the IPS. The OBEX-FTP profile is used to
transfer files from the IPS to the MCD. An Ethernet
connection is used to connect the IPS to the Server.
The tag system is connected via conventional RS232
to the IPS.
The server controls the IPSN. It communicates
to each information point station (IPS) via Ethernet.
The server monitors each IPS and controls its user
database. Each user database contains the user
Identifiers (UID) and preferences of all registered
users. The server consists of a Linux computer with
an Ethernet hub.
Each IPS contains a wireless Bluetooth
transceiver and may also connect to tag devices. The
Bluetooth transceiver is used to communicate to the
mobile computing devices. The IPS will authenticate
the user and supply the requested information items
via Bluetooth. The current implementation of the
IPS is a Linux computer with a wireless Bluetooth
USB Adapter. The open source Linux Bluez
Bluetooth stack (Bluetooth Z Webpage) is used to
facilitate the Bluetooth connectivity to the mobile
computing device.
The mobile computing device can be a PDA or a
mobile phone. The MCD software allows the user to
browse for information items and initiates the
connection to the IPSN. The user’s experience of
media information such as images, text or audio is
achieved by using the corresponding viewers or
audio players on the MCD. For example, if an image
Figure 1: a) Menu Browser on the IPAQ – b) Pointer
prototype – c) Tag prototype
Figure 2: IP Station Network. (M = Mobile Device,
P = Pointer, T = Tag, IPS = IP Station)
was to be viewed, it would be opened using the
onboard software image viewer. All viewers were
either integral to the MCD, or freely downloadable.
The MCD software was implemented on a HP
IPAQ 5550 PDA running Pocket PC 2003 and a
SonyEricsson P910i SmartPhone running Java 2
Microedition (J2ME) (MicroSystems). The IPAQ
MCD software was also integrated with the pointer-
tag system by connecting the pointer to the MCD
through an RS232 serial port in order to set the UID
used by the pointer to request tagged items.
The pointer was implemented as an embedded
solution using a microcontroller and a custom laser
transmitter. The pointer was designed to a have a
low physical profile in order to make it less
obtrusive to the user. The tag was also implemented
in a similar manner to the pointer except that it
employed a laser detector to determine when the
user had selected the tag. The pointer transmits the
user’s Identifier (UID) to the tag. Once the UID has
been received, the tag transmits a request for
information instruction using a specialized control
protocol, to the IPS via RS232.
Although functional prototypes were created of all
components of the IPSN system, some areas were
highlighted for further work. Registration (both on-
line and on-location) needs to be implemented,
taking note of security and privacy issues. Further
capabilities for public commenting, like adding
photos and other multimedia as comments, are yet to
be implemented.
Other areas where further work can be
concentrated are with the user preferences and thus
user-aware information. For the hardware, the
information point stations (IPS) are yet to be
converted to an embedded processor platform. An
embedded IPS platform could be housed in a special
casing that makes it less susceptible to
environmental conditions.
A Multimedia Guidebook information system was
created to allow users to access specific information
related to their immediate surroundings using their
mobile computing devices. The guidebook was
designed to provide information about the Kelvin
Grove Urban Village in Brisbane Australia. This
village guidebook (VGB) allowed the user to view
images, listen to audio and read textual information
at a specific location. The VGB also allowed the
user comment on a specific piece of information.
Commentary could be viewed by other users that are
in specific location. Another interactive method of
selecting information from the guidebook was
developed. It consists of a pointer-tag system that
allows the user to select to view information aiming
a pointer at a tag. The requested information is then
viewed on their mobile computing device.
The infrastructure created consisted of
information point stations (IPS) placed at locations
of significance. A network of IPS units was created.
Each IPS communicated to the user’s mobile
computing device using Bluetooth communications.
The types of mobile computing devices that could be
used are PDA and mobile phone platforms. The
future work of this project includes developing user
registration, creating embedded information point
platform and improving the VGB software.
This work is supported by the ACID CRC
Connected Communities Project and is also a part of
the EU Project RUNES.
Bluetooth Z - Official Linux Bluetooth Protocol Stack
Kelvin Grove Urban Village
Bluetooth SIG - Bluetooth Specification Documents
Hsi, S. (2002). The Electronic Guidebook: A study of user
experiences using mobile web content in a museum
setting. IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and
Mobile Technologies in Education.
MicroSystems, S. Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition
Ringwald, M. (2002). Spontaneous Interaction with
Everyday Devices Using a PDA. Workshop on
Supporting Spontaneous Interaction in Ubiquitous
Computing Settings at Ubicomp 2002, Gothenburg, ,
Infrastructure for a Multimedia Guidebook