Engineering context-aware systems and applications: A survey

Unai Alegre*, Juan Carlos Augusto, Tony Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context-awareness is an essential component of systems developed in areas like Intelligent Environments, Pervasive & Ubiquitous Computing and Ambient Intelligence. In these emerging fields, there is a need for computerized systems to have a higher understanding of the situations in which to provide services or functionalities, to adapt accordingly. The literature shows that researchers modify existing engineering methods in order to better fit the needs of context-aware computing. These efforts are typically disconnected from each other and generally focus on solving specific development issues. We encourage the creation of a more holistic and unified engineering process that is tailored for the demands of these systems. For this purpose, we study the state-of-the-art in the development of context-aware systems, focusing on: (A) Methodologies for developing context-aware systems, analyzing the reasons behind their lack of adoption and features that the community wish they can use; (B) Context-aware system engineering challenges and techniques applied during the most common development stages; (C) Context-aware systems conceptualization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-83
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Early online date23 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Ambient Intelligence
  • Context-aware computing
  • Context-Aware Systems Engineering
  • Context-awareness
  • Context-sensitive
  • Intelligent Environments
  • Pervasive & Ubiquitous Computing
  • Sentient computing
  • Software engineering


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