Innovation: How To Reduce Mobile Costs By Sharing Resources

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 20 November 2017

What we love about our new sharing economy is that it makes everything cheaper. Now, the University of Sydney’s researchers say we can even share our mobile phone’s resources to cut costs.

Here’s how it works: a new cloud computing approach uses the idle resources of one or more mobile devices in a particular area – such as mobile phones, tablet devices and smart watches – to run applications on another mobile device.

Clever huh! Well, that’s the work of a team of researchers from Sydney University’s School of Information Technologies  along with experts from Zhejiang University, led by Professor Zhaohui Wu and in collaboration with Professors Shuiguang Deng and Jianwei Yin.

Chair Professor of High Performance Computing and Networking Albert Y. Zomaya said the new approach – named RESP (REvenue-driven Service Provision for mobile devices) – has the potential to eliminate mobile devices’ unstable and costly internet connections.

“Traditionally, powerful remote cloud servers are used to accommodate service requests as they have much higher computational ability than individual mobile devices. However, these remote solutions are associated with high overhead costs,” he said.

“Our solution utilises the ubiquitous presence of mobile devices to provide on-demand services anytime, anywhere, and at a fraction of the cost.”

The RESP framework is composed of multiple mobile devices and a trusted broker – such as a telecommunications provider – who serves as an intermediary responsible for communication among the devices.

RESP mobile cloud computing architecture
Image: An illustration of the RESP mobile cloud computing architecture.

As RESP relies on the willingness of mobile device owners to participate, there is a need to employ a proper incentive to motivate people.

“Resource sharing could be encouraged by offering mobile device owners rewards – such as discounts on their monthly phone bill or credit points,” said Dr Wei Li, Research Associate in the School of Information Technologies.

To evaluate the performance of RESP, the researchers have conducted a set of experiments.

“We implemented the algorithm in Python and conducted several experiments. Our experiments demonstrated that our algorithm outperforms standard benchmarks and provides the best overall performance for mobile device users,” said Dr Li.

In the near future, the researchers plan to undertake real-world testing of RESP and fine tune its parameters to improve performance.

A paper outlining the RESP framework won the prestigious Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Service-Oriented Computing (ICSOC 2017), held in Spain last week. This was the only Best Paper Award for this year’s event.

Well done, Sydney Uni and its award winning team!

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