What Does Ubicomp Mean?

Ubicomp is an abbreviation for the term "ubiquitous computing." Ubiquitous computing is an idea related to expanding an interface to make it seem "pervasive" in a given environment.


Ubicomp is also the name of an annual conference on ubiquitous computing.

Techopedia Explains Ubicomp

Much of the progress around ubiquitous computing involves the new ways that developers and engineers have been able to distribute computing systems across wireless technologies and sets of hardware pieces that are wirelessly connected to each other. Wireless sensor networks and radio frequency technology have enabled the emergence of "body area network systems" that track behavior in motion across the human body, and other kinds of comprehensive interfaces that make computing seem, in a word, ubiquitous.

An easy way to think about ubiquitous computing is by contrasting it to traditional technologies. As computing systems emerged, they were always linked to very specific interfaces—the computer screen and computer hardware. There was one screen that disseminated information. There was one motherboard or tower that computed processes. Various peripherals facilitated human response.

By contrast, ubiquitous computing involves moving that interface to a wider variety of points. Some people think of ubiquitous computing as the ability to use different devices to access the same information, in much the same way that modern cable-television carriers offer the ability to view shows or movies from any TV in a house. But that is only part of the enormous potential of ubiquitous computing systems to broaden our horizons when it comes to how we interact with computers.

Ubiquitous computing has been linked to ideas like the "Internet of Things," which posits a greater array of hardware pieces linked to local or global wireless networks.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…