Report Number: CSL-TR-99-777
Institution: Stanford University, Computer Systems Laboratory
Title: The Mobile People Architecture
Author: Appenzeller, Guido
Author: Lai, Kevin
Author: Maniatis, Petros
Author: Roussopoulos, Mema
Author: Swierk, Edward
Author: Z hao, Xinhua
Author: Baker, Mary
Date: January 1999
Abstract: People are the outsiders in the current communications revolution. Computer hosts, pager terminals, and telephones are addressable entities throughout the Internet and telephony systems. Human beings, however, still need application-specific tricks to be identified, like email addresses, telephone numbers, and ICQ IDs. The key challenge today is to find people and communicate with them personally, as opposed to communicating merely with their possibly inaccessible machines---cell phones that are turned off, or PCs on faraway desktops. We introduce the Mobile People Architecture, designed to meet this challenge. The main goal of this effort is to put the person, rather than the devices that the person uses, at the endpoints of a communication session. This architecture introduces the concept of routing between people. To that effect, we define the Personal Proxy, which has a dual role: as a Tracking Agent, the proxy maintains the list of devices or applications through which a person is currently accessible; as a Dispatcher, the proxy directs communications and uses Application Drivers to massage communication bits into a format that the recipient can see immediately. It does all this while protecting the location privacy of the recipient from the message sender. Finally, we substantiate our architecture with ideas about a future prototype that allows the easy integration of new application protocols.