The kick-off meeting of the project HELIOS A Context-aware Distributed Social Networking Framework (GA 825585) took place last week in Helsinki at the research institute VTT.
The project will last for 36 months and will Empower European Citizens with high level of trust and control by providing open source social media platforms, ensuring that each user in control of its own information. HELIOS concept is Facebook without Facebook. HELIOS will set us free from middlemen who control what you can and cannot do, and what you want to share, how and with whom. HELIOS is an open source platform which empowers anyone to create new social media services without limitations.
Current social media platforms focus on content distribution, not on empowering meaningful relationships with trust.
The participation of four Catalan organisations in this project reflects the leading role of Catalonia in this sector: ATOS, Worldline, Escola Massana, and UAB. The total number of partners in the project is 15 project following partners will also take part in the project: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) / Information Technologies Institute (ITI), Grassroots Arts and Research (GRA), Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Nagoon AB (NG), Swiss TXT AG (STXT), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University of Pisa (UNIPI), Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), Universität Passau (UP), University of Helsinki (UH).
The participation of UAB in the project is multidisciplinary. It is led by Pilar Orero, Pau Pamplona, and Estel·la Oncins (Department of Translation and Interpretation and East Asian Studies), with the collaboration of Olga Soler-Vilageliu (Department of Basic, Evolutionary and Educational Psychology).
HELIOS is a platform!
HELIOS will create a decentralized social media platform that will address the dynamic nature of human communications in three dimensions: contextual, spatial and temporal. This platform (based on Android OS) works as an extension for mobile devices, providing easy-to-apply peer-to-peer social media functionality for 3rd party developers. HELIOS will be built in a modular and extensible manner, by enabling all features characterizing social media today and growing beyond
Figure 1. HELIOS will be modular, extensible and built upon open source, ensuring that social media designers can easily create novel social media apps on top of HELIOS in the future, beyond the end of the project.
HELIOS will introduce novel concepts for social graph creation and management, which are grounded in trust. It will design, implement and validate a state-of-the-art, decentralized p2p social media platform which will:
• support the ad-hoc creation and management of social graphs within the context and proximity of the user;
• provide all necessary means and features which will entitle it to represent true trust-by-design, including among others novel decentralization, content creation and sharing;
• ensure the highest level of privacy complying with all the necessary ethical and legal requirements.
The concept will be validated in different open and closed environments with citizens across a range of demographics and within different contexts.
Egocentric contextual networks
We see our own networks from egocentric perspective: at work our social network comprises our colleagues and associates, and we seldom think any further than that. In HELIOS
terminology, we ourselves are ‘Egos’, while the people we are connected to are our ‘Alters’.
Each of us has more than one network, as we have different networks at work, at home and in hobbies. Hence, our social networks are contextual, while the contextual networks stack one
upon another. Figure 2 illustrates an Ego network, with three exemplary contexts: ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’. In HELIOS, the platform automatically maintains this context-social information, important for online communications (on the left). Data remains context-specific and does not leak to other conceptual networks
Figure 2. Contextual ego networks: ego and alters classified by context (left), contextual communication layers (right)
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825585.