UbiComp 2013 Social Media ChairAnother week(end), another interview write-up! Last week I managed to have a brief Skype call with this year’s Demo chairs, Antonio Krüger from DFKI in Germany and Yoshito Tobe from Aoyama Gakuin University in Japan. Scheduling was much easier than with my last interview, as Antonio is currently spending his sabbatical in Down Under, thus putting him in pretty much the same time zone as Yoshito.

Yoshito, Antonio, thanks for getting this organized at such a short notice. So what are your thoughts on the UbiComp demo track?

UbiComp 2013 Demo Co-ChairAntonio: Demos have always been vital to Ubicomp and Pervasive. In my view, this has actually been one of the best parts of the two conferences — ok, so I might be a bit biased here (laughs). But seriously: over the years, many significant contributions have been delivered as demos at those conferences. We are definitely planning to continue this tradition and do everything we can to have a cool and exciting, and of course inspiring demo session this year! Let’s say that our goal is it to make sure that every novel and significant practical piece of work will be on display in Zurich this September.

An ambitious plan indeed! So how do you think you can motivate potential demo authors to consider submitting?

UbiComp 2013 Demos Co-ChairYoshito: Demos are a great way for authors to show work in progress – something that isn’t just a concept or idea anymore, but which is not yet fully evaluated. Having a demo can demonstrate to the community that the authors’ idea is actually working. It is a great way to “prepare” next year’s reviewers! But it is not just for early work: it also gives you this opportunity to discuss your mature work in an interactive setting with ubicomp experts world-wide.

UbiComp 2013 Demo Co-ChairAntonio: The demo session is the heart of every UbiComp conference. Given the merger of UbiComp and Pervasive, we expect the demo session to be even bigger then it was in the past! We are working with the General Chairs to make sure that the demo session is getting adequate exposure in the conference program – it is so central to the whole experience! There really is no better way to showcase what the community is doing!

I could not agree more with you! I still remember the great demo by Nicholas Villar and colleagues for the Gadgeteer-Toolkit at last year’s Pervasive and ISWC. Do you have any favorite demo moments from previous conferences?

UbiComp 2013 Demo Co-ChairAntonio: We sure had legendary demo sessions in the past – don’t get me started! For example the great demos during UbiComp 2002 from the “Disappearing Computing” European Project, like the Pin´n´Play from Lancaster University — also by Nicholas Villar, by the way. Or one year later the great demo of an RFID-based playful participant recognition system during the conference in Seattle 2003 – the “Proactive Displays“!

UbiComp 2013 Demos Co-ChairYoshito: At UbiComp 2005 in Tokyo we had a huge demo session, also with much industry participation. There must have been over 30 demos altogether!! I still remember seeing a very sophisticated demo of the seminal u-texture system from Tokuda-labs.  We surely will do our best to have almost as many (laughs)! And we must not forget that this year, we join forces again with ISWC: we have a single adjunct program track for both UbiComp and ISWC, so I expect that we will see a lot of exciting wearable demos as well.

Great memories, and a great outlook! Can you maybe say a few words about the “multi-presentation format” that we are having again at UbiComp this year?

UbiComp 2013 Demo Co-ChairAntonio: Sure, so we will continue something that was started, I believe, at UbiComp 2010, where authors of accepted papers were encouraged to also present their work as a poster, video, or demo. Once you have your paper in, you basically get to present your work at these other venues if you want to. I think this is a great opportunity to further engage with the community, beyond your 20 minutes of presentation and the Q&A session. And what better way to engage than by showing a demo of your work!

UbiComp 2013 Demos Co-ChairYoshito: If at all possible, we encourage full paper and notes authors to already submit a preliminary demo description along with their paper submission. It will not give a negative score if you do not do this, but it can help with building a better case for your submission if you can already describe the demo you are able to give, or offer a simple video that shows your work in action. A “multi-format submission” if you want.

Thanks Yoshito, this is some great advice for authors, and everybody should make sure to read the call for papers (under “Multi-Presentation Format”) carefully.

UbiComp 2013 Demos Co-ChairYoshito: And of course watch for our demo call! It will be out early March, with submission deadline around the end of May.


Yoshito, Antonio – thanks for the interview!