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Concept of Ubiquitous Media System


Discuss about the Use of Ubiquitous Media in Business Organizations. 

Ubiquitous media literally means that a medium or system that is present everywhere without having a physical existence. This kind of surveillance system involves technologies that are invisible to eyes but present everywhere virtually. This system stays active in day to day lives of common people and remains embedded in the environment, systems used in daily basis, transportation networks and so on. Ubiquitous surveillance helps to sense movements or reactions of people and help system to adapt according to those reactions. Though this type of computing system helps to mark out reactions of people and make profitable changes in the system, yet there are risks regarding privacy of information which make this system a threat towards legal acceptance of ubiquitous system.

  • To determine the concept as well as usage of ubiquitous media system in a business context
  • To discuss the potentiality of the implementation ubiquitous surveillance in a day to day basis
  • To discuss various theoretical frameworks associated with ubiquitous system
  • To critically analyze advantages and disadvantages of ubiquitous surveillance system

This project would be helpful to provide insight into the concept of ubiquitous media system and its importance in business organizations. It would also be helpful to provide an idea about different companies which use this system as a part of their business and also problematic aspects of using such system. Contrasting viewpoints on the implementation and use of this system in day to day life would be helpful for depicting current threats associated with this system too, which would in turn be helpful to prevent problems in future. Different theoretical frameworks and concepts associated with this process would be helpful to install such systems in future to sense activities of people and make changes for better adaptation.

Conceptual framework


Figure 1: Conceptual framework

(Source:  Self-created)

Main concept associated with ubiquitous surveillance is the use of computing techniques which can sense the movements of people and mark out their activities regarding a certain product. For an instance, people use certain applications as well as systems, in which activity tracking software is used. These software track activities such as number of times an app is opened or closed, searches made by an user and type of purchases or options selected by an user (Zhang et al. 2013, p.200).

As mentioned by McGuigan and Manzerolle (2015, p.1840) data analysis is an integral part of ubiquitous system and these data analysis procedures help to trace sensitivity, adaptivity and response of people and involve fundamental technologies to interact with users physically and virtually.

There are four main dimensions of ubiquitous media system that are mandatory for business firms to implement such practices. Pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, mobile computing and traditional business computing are the four main dimensions which remain associated with ubiquitous system and depends on situation or availability of resources for implementation techniques.

Uses and Applications of Ubiquitous Media in Business Organizations

Ubiquitous environment involve advertiser value, reader value and infrastructure needed for a certain purpose which has been explained by Khorakhun and Bhatti (2014, p.290);

Advertiser value includes exposure, coverage, targeting, relationships and tracking, whereas, reader value include utility, entertainment of customers, personalization, interactivity and content migration. 

Figure 2: Ubiquitous media environment

(Source:  Khorakhun and Bhatti, 2015, p.291)

Infrastructure includes identification of individuals, dynamic customization, intelligent integration, security and multiple distribution channels. This system is helpful to assess as well as analyze user profiles which help to gather relevant data about customers and customise products as per the will of interested group of people.

On the contrary Salim and Haque (2015, p.40) claimed that use of Ubiquitous surveillance system breaches security standards of people and also sometimes fail to detect human behavior. Smart cities thrive on the concept of ubiquitous system where everything stays under radar of ICT technologies made for 24*7 surveillance system. However, due to immense use of power and easy access users’ information have made this system somewhat uncomfortable for common people.

It has been countered by McMillan et al. (2015, p.12), that ubiquitous surveillance has been developed for beneficial aspects which may be useful for critical aspects too. For example London used live feed to deliver information about people; similarly business firms also use this system to monitor their customers by accessing their database to increase sustainability of products. It has also been mentioned that it is not mandatory to assess confidential information of customers to carry out ubiquitous surveillance, rather can be done by involving simple video surveillance too.

The fundamental process involved in ubiquitous media surveillance can be described with the help of environment psychology theory which is based on the interaction between customer purchase as well as transactions (Tham, 2015, p.799).

Figure 3: Environment psychology theory

(Source:  Tham, 2015, p.798)

This theory states the importance of ubiquitous system in a business context as it helps to analyze primary goals or intentions of a customer before purchase of products and the ultimate or final transaction. This process helps to assess the middle step that is the cognition or emotion associated with the change of mind before the buying process and helps to focus on that particular aspect for creating better products in future.

On another hand Hofacker and Belanche (2016, p.78) stated that even minute information about transaction of customers can be accessed with the help of ICT technologies as well as ubiquitous system and these information are extremely confidential for common masses. Moreover, it is not always possible for ICT technologies to evaluate human behavior every time and most of the time those are purely based on assumptions about the activity of people.

Controversies and Disadvantages of Ubiquitous Media in Business Organizations

Basic framework of ubiquitous system suggest that the there are three basic layers that are used in the implementation of ubiquitous computing in a business. Theory layer involves basic planning for the need of surveillance system. This layer is also associated with the integration of Information Communication Technology (ICT) with surveillance procedures in order to enhance monitoring process.

Figure 4: Three layers of ubiquitous monitoring

(Source: Aguado and Martínez, 2014, p.190)

Second layer focuses on integrating sensor controls as well as data synchronization which can help a business organization to gather data of common mass for a particular product (Aguado and Martínez, 2014, p.191). This is in turn helpful for organizations to design product or services that would be preferred by masses.

Third layer is the application layer that is directly related to the implementation process, is generally used to apply ubiquitous concepts in logistics, sales and transaction of customers (Markham, 2013, p.81). This layer is crucial for any business as it necessary to streamline ICT technologies in supply chain and transaction process to find out response or buying behavior of customers.

On another hand, integration of such sensors at each level of operations involves extra costs and also is not adequate to bring about expected results always. For example, after years of ubiquitous surveillance, Amazon, an E-commerce company finally designed a personal assistant named Alexa like Google and Apple but failed to meet certain satisfaction standards even after prolonged surveillance. It is therefore stated that it is not possible for a technological platform to understand human psychology merely by assessing their activities (Yousfi et al. 2016, p.630).

Many business ventures are associated with ubiquitous surveillance system and use a concept namely ubiquitous entertainment to implement the procedures in a fun way. This concept is mostly famous in digital music or video streaming industries, where it is practically possible for companies to assess the needs of customers with the help of their activities. For example Netflix, Google play, Amazon instant video and BBC iPlayer track playlists, ratings, duration of playtime of each music or video track and content aggregation methods to identify most preferable service for users. Mobile devices also enable users to share files via various platforms which help these companies even more to find most valuable services provided by them and set pricing standards as per the values of people (Martínez-Torres et al. p.158).

Uber uses ubiquitous media system to identify as well as block regulators for restricting illegal behavior. This technique has been termed as “eyeballing” which uses the concept of geo-fencing. Uber uses this method to demarcate an area or a city to be monitored and keep a close eye on people who frequently open and close the application (Yousfi et al. 2016, p.60). This method has been coined as eyeballing which signifies location and frequent destination of a user. Other techniques involved in their surveillance system are looking over credit card information, payments made and so on.

Theoretical Framework and Concepts of Ubiquitous Media in Business Organizations

Figure 5: Ubiquitous surveillance of Uber

(Source: Yousfi et al. 2016, p.61)

This technology helps Uber to find out its potential customers and also help to find out if there is any illegal process involved in the system. Credit card information and use of those cards by users help to rectify actual identity of a user which is a beneficial aspect as stated by (Rabari and Storper, 2014, p.40).

On another hand, Kitchin (2014, p.12) commented that it is illegal for business firms to access confidential information of users and if this tend to continue then business ventures associated with such an amount of surveillance can face ethical dilemmas in future. Moreover, engaging highly innovative technology can also pose as a risk to the business if an implementation process fails to meet expected outcome. Processes such as integration of developed software, cloud technologies and complex digital network may also face adaptation challenges at the early stage of their usage and also involve certain code of ethics to maintain the integrity of data gathered from users.

As shown by global research consulting group, the market for video surveillance will grow from $30.37 billion per year in 2016 to $75.64 billion a year in 2020, which accounts to a growth rate of 15.6%.

Figure 6: Estimated increase of ubiquitous surveillance

(Source: Sun et al. 2016, p.770)

This raise in surveillance procedures has been estimated to raise for two prime reasons namely terrorism and globalization of business. For business tycoons, ubiquitous surveillance is the easiest way to penetrate a new market and globalize their products, but raising cost for installation of complex ICT technologies is the prime concern for not only business ventures but also the government.

With every complex technology comes certain advantages and disadvantages and ubiquitous computing or surveillance is not any exception.

Certain advantages has been stated by Sun et al. (2016, p.771);

Ubiquitous system helps to aggregate choices of customers under certain criteria which in turn help companies to design products as per the choice of customers. Most beneficial aspect of this process is that it involves big data analysis to track intention and final decision of a customer. For an instance, e-commerce companies track products viewed by customers the most and final purchase. Amazon uses this technique to monitor customer purchase and set up prices as per the popularity of a product (McGuigan and Manzerolle, 2015, p.1841).

Big data analysis associated with ubiquitous monitoring helps to detect any illegal entity involved in operations.

On another hand disadvantages has been stated by Salim and Haque (2015, p.42);

Involvement of complex ICT technologies involves high costs and also requires huge financial funding.

Sometimes surveillance procedures outsmart the limits of privacy and ethical standards which may cause moral dilemmas for organizations (McMillan et al. 2015, p.10).

Theories based on ubiquitous media do not properly depict the process of proper implementation of such ideas. Researcher found it difficult to access statistical data associated with this concept. There have also been lacks of data regarding companies that use virtual monitoring, which made it difficult for organizations to draw out evaluations from theoretical concepts as well as gathered data.


Ubiquitous monitoring involves innovative yet complex technologies to monitor every action of people. While this type of monitoring helps a lot to develop a business by studying consumer behavior, this process also involve certain risk or threats too. The main risk of this kind of surveillance system is the investment as well as engagement of monetary resources as if a plan regarding virtual monitoring fails, it will damage the company revenue structure. On another hand, if ubiquitous monitoring gets implemented in a proper format it can lead towards plethora of opportunities. However, in order to consider practical impact of these kind of surveillance procedures, it can be stated that this option is not completely reliable but can be used as a supportive option.

Reference list

Aguado, J.M. and Martínez, I., (2014). Feeding digital omnivores: The impact of mobile media in digital entertainment. The Routledge companion to mobile media, 3(21), pp.181-194.

Hofacker, C.F. and Belanche, D., (2016). Eight social media challenges for marketing managers. Spanish Journal of Marketing-ESIC, 20(2), pp.73-80.

Khorakhun, C. and Bhatti, S.N., (2014), Using online social media platforms for ubiquitous, personal health monitoring. e-Health Networking, Applications and Services (Healthcom), 2014 IEEE 16th International Conference on, 7(2), pp. 287-292.

Kitchin, R., (2014). The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism. GeoJournal, 79(1), pp.1-14.

Markham, A., (2013). Remix cultures, remix methods: Reframing qualitative inquiry for social media contexts. Global dimensions of qualitative inquiry, 1(3), pp.63-81.

Martínez-Torres, M.D.R., Díaz-Fernández, M.D.C., Toral, S.L. and Barrero, F., (2015). The moderating role of prior experience in technological acceptance models for ubiquitous computing services in urban environments. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 91(1), pp.146-160.

McGuigan, L. and Manzerolle, V., (2015). “All the world’sa shopping cart”: Theorizing the political economy of ubiquitous media and markets. new media & society, 17(11), pp.1830-1848.

McMillan, D., Brown, B., Sellen, A., Lindley, S. and Martens, R., (2015), Pick up and play: understanding tangibility for cloud media. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, 7(1), pp. 1-13.

Rabari, C. and Storper, M., (2014). The digital skin of cities: urban theory and research in the age of the sensored and metered city, ubiquitous computing and big data. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), pp.27-42.

Salim, F. and Haque, U., (2015). Urban computing in the wild: A survey on large scale participation and citizen engagement with ubiquitous computing, cyber physical systems, and Internet of Things. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 81(6), pp.31-48.

Sun, Y., Song, H., Jara, A.J. and Bie, R., (2016). Internet of things and big data analytics for smart and connected communities. IEEE Access, 4(1), pp.766-773.

Tham, A., (2015). The ubiquitous tide of uber: Disruptive innovation in tourism and hospitality. CAUTHE 2015: Rising Tides and Sea Changes: Adaptation and Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality, 4(1), pp.729-800.

Yousfi, A., Bauer, C., Saidi, R. and Dey, A.K., (2016). uBPMN: A BPMN extension for modeling ubiquitous business processes. Information and Software Technology, 74(2), pp.55-68.

Yousfi, A., de Freitas, A., Dey, A.K. and Saidi, R., (2016). The use of ubiquitous computing for business process improvement. Transactions on Services Computing, 9(4), pp.621-632.

Zhang, D., Huang, H., Lai, C.F., Liang, X., Zou, Q. and Guo, M., (2013). Survey on context-awareness in ubiquitous media. Multimedia tools and applications, 67(1), pp.179-211.

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