Padoc: Enabling social networking in proximity
Apps supporting social networking in proximity are gaining momentum as they enable both augmenting face-to-face interaction with a digital channel (e.g. classroom interaction systems) and augmenting digital interaction by providing a local real life feeling to it (e.g. nearby friends app in Facebook). Such apps effectively provide a cyber-physical space interweaving digital and face-to-face interaction. Currently such applications are mainly relying on Internet connection to the cloud, which makes them inaccessible in parts of the world with scarce Internet connection. Since many of their interactions happen locally, they could theoretically rely on Mobile Networking in Proximity (MNP), where data could be exchanged among devices without the need to rely on the availability of an Internet connection. Unfortunately, there is a lack of off-the-shelf programing support for MNP. This paper addresses this issue and presents Padoc, a middleware for social networking in proximity that provides multi-hop MNP support when cloud connection is unavailable. Furthermore the paper evaluates three MNP message diffusion strategies and presents Heya, a novel classroom interaction app running on iOS devices as a proof-of-concept built on top of Padoc.