Appear Networks Systems AB, is a software company specializing in enterprise mobility. Its suite of products is a mobile middleware platform designed to power mobile applications and services based on context awareness.
Context awareness is the use of situational information aiming at reducing information overload and ensuring users have the information when and where they need it. WLAN is used for sending and receiving data, as well as positioning the user. Other context information such as user profile, network bandwidth, device type can be collected in order to refine the services presented to the user.

A recent research by IDC has shown that companies in travel and transportation, the public sector and telecommunications — including Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Rail), RATP (Paris subway), SNCF (French railway), Connex (Groupe Veolia Environnement), SL (Stockholm subway), the University of Geneva, the city of Kista, Sweden and Orange Business Services have started to deploy context-aware services for their employees, and are considering deploying similar services for their public users, leveraging the launch of the new generation of GSM/WLAN dualphones.

The company is privately held and headquartered in Kista, Sweden and is one of the new generation of telecom startups created after the IT market downturn of 2001.


Appear's foundation is the result of the cooperation between 3 universities: Harvard Business School (HBS), M.I.T. MediaLab (MIT) and Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH). In 2000, initial research was conducted on context-aware services and local wireless broadband networks both at KTH and HBS, under the project name "Bluesolid". In Stockholm, a team of KTH engineers designed the first prototype of the mobile middleware platform. In 2001, Bluesolid was renamed Appear Networks and established its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.


The Appear Platform (AppearIQ) adds a layer of context-aware technology to existing enterprise WLAN infrastructure or wide-area networks. It gathers context of use data and builds a model based on the information needs of end-users. Available services are filtered against this profile to determine what data is relevant, and this information is then proactively pushed to the wireless device.

The solution is IP based and compatible with PDAs, smartphones, TabletPCs, UMPCs and laptops.

The Appear Context Engine (ACE) gathers all known information about the device, the user and his context including physical location, date/time, device type, user roles, network IP address range, user locale and other customized context providers, e.g. temperature, available battery, etc. The context engine derives a description of the services that should be available on the device and passes it to the modules deployed on top of the ACE.

Appear provides several context-aware modules such as push/provisioning, synchronization and device management.

The modules compare the current state of the device with the context-aware services set out for the device and order the adaptive client to update the corresponding services on the device. Context information is used throughout the entire life-cycle of the service: selection based on context, filtering of individual services and enhancement of services at boot or runtime.

Referenced projects

  • Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Rail) Railpocket project : 10 000 Wi-Fi/GPRS enabled handheld devices for NS staff.
  • SL (Stockholm subway) Uppkopplade Medarbetare project : SL mobile workforce equipped with Wi-Fi enabled PDAs for customer information.
  • RATP (Paris Subway & Buses) Wireless employee project : customer information applications on mobile devices.
  • SNCF (French Rail): Appear IQ technology component for the multimedia portal and Internet access on SNCF’s TGV high-speed train services.

European projects

  • MIDAS is a STReP (Specific Targeted Research Project) project under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme, focussing on "Mobile and Wireless Systems and Platforms beyond 3G".
  • SIMS is a STReP project under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme. SIMS aims to provide tools for design and validation of service components with semantic interfaces.
  • MUSIC is an Integrated Project under the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme. MUSIC aims to provide an open platform that makes it technically and commercially feasible for the wider IT industry to develop innovative mobile applications.


  • Appear and Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Rail) win the 2007 Cisco Networkers Award as Best Mobility and Wireless Project of the Year .
  • Kista Science City, using Appear’s context-aware software infrastructure, awarded best-practice for Technology Innovation at Digital Cities Convention 2006 .
  • Appear Awarded Gold and Silver in 2006 Mobile Star Awards .
  • Appear wins Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Product award at the Wireless Broadband Innovation Awards 2006 .
  • Appear wins Best Enterprise Solution awards at Syntec Informatique/France Telecom Innovation Awards for the RATP (Paris subway & buses) employee project .


External links

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