Christopher Howson

Senior Engineer

Home Experience Lab Researchers

Short Bio:

I graduated initially from the Universities of Cambridge (BA-1981) and Durham (MSc-1982) before starting a career with Britoil in the oil industry. As an exploration geophysicist, I spent my time poring over seismic sections to map the geology beneath the North Sea and recommend potential drilling locations. Unfortunately, not even the discovery of gas on one of my prospects was enough to keep me in a job when the oil price plummeted in 1986, so I seized the opportunity to go back to school and learn something new. One year later, I left the University of Bradford (MSc-1987) armed with a degree in Radio Frequency and Microwave Engineering. I was taken on as a research scientist in the Telecommunications laboratory of the GEC Hirst Research Centre, where I developed innovative circuits for a range of wireless communication systems.

After a brief flirtation with military radars, I was attracted to more peaceful use of technology so I moved to Thomson Consumer Electronics’ R&D laboratory in Strasbourg in 1990. After initially working on satellite TV outdoor units, I was responsible for developing in-home wireless communication systems and for participating in ETSI standardization. When the Strasbourg center closed in 1996, I moved to what is now called Technicolor R&D France in Rennes. I spent a number of years managing a team of engineers developing state of the art radio frequency technology for both terrestrial and satellite media communication systems. I then moved on to research on mobile broadcast systems whilst still finding time to complete a technology-oriented business degree at the Angers Business School (MS-2007). More recently I have been leading activities covering hybrid broadcast/broadband networking and context-aware systems for digital life services.

Research interests:

My research interests focus on distributed media architecture and delivery to heterogeneous devices. Recent activities have addressed the problem of synchronizing media components from independent sources delivered separately over broadcast and broadband networks. Current research is focused on leveraging the smartphone as a sensor platform for detecting user activities, affinities and social interactions in order to offer context-aware digital life services.

Projects:

I have been involved in many national and European collaborative projects over the years, including key roles within the Eureka Commend, the ACTS Cabsinet, the FP6 Broadwan, the CELTIC Movies and the FP7 Figaro projects. Currently running projects include:

  • ICARE (Innovative Cloud Architecture for Real Entertainment) – an ITEA2 project