Locating Family Values: A Field Trial of the Whereabouts Clock

(Nominated for the Best Paper Award)
  • Barry Brown
  • Alex S. Taylor
  • Shahram Izadi
  • Abigail Sellen
  • Joseph Jofish’ Kaye
  • Rachel Eardley
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4717)


We report the results of a long-term, multi-site field trial of a situated awareness device for families called the “Whereabouts Clock”. The Clock displayed family members’ current location as one of four privacy-preserving, deliberately coarse-grained categories (HOME , WORK , SCHOOL or ELSEWHERE) In use, the Clock supported not only family co-ordination but also more emotive aspects of family life such as reassurance, connectedness, identity and social touch. This emphasized aspects of family life frequently neglected in Ubicomp, such as the ways in which families’ awareness of each others’ activities contributes to a sense of a family’s identity. We draw further on the results to differentiate between location as a technical aspect of awareness systems and what we characterize as “location-in-interaction”. Location-in-interaction is revealed as an emotional, accountable and even moral part of family life.


Cell Phone Family Life Privacy Concern Smart Home Locate Family 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Brown
    • 1
  • Alex S. Taylor
    • 2
  • Shahram Izadi
    • 2
  • Abigail Sellen
    • 2
  • Joseph Jofish’ Kaye
    • 3
  • Rachel Eardley
    • 4
  1. 1.UC San Diego, Dept. of Communications, San Diego CAUSA
  2. 2.Microsoft Research Cambridge, CambridgeUK
  3. 3.Information Science, Cornell University, Ithaca NYUSA
  4. 4.Skype, 711 Lexington St., LondonUK

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