User location is crucial context information for future smart homes where many location based services will be proposed. This location necessarily means that User Location Discovery (ULD) will play an important role in future smart homes. Concerns about privacy and the need to carry a mobile or a tag device within a smart home currently make conventional ULD systems uncomfortable for users. Future smart homes will need a ULD system to consider these challenges. This paper addresses the design of such a ULD system for context-aware services in future smart homes stressing the following challenges: (i) users’ privacy; (ii) device-/tag-free; and (iii) fault tolerance and accuracy. On the other hand, emerging new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, embedded systems, intelligent devices and machine-to-machine communication, are penetrating into our daily life with more and more sensors available for use in our homes. Considering this opportunity, we propose a ULD system that is capitalizing on the prevalence of sensors for the home while satisfying the aforementioned challenges. The proposed sensor network-based and user-friendly ULD system relies on different types of inexpensive sensors, as well as a context broker with a fuzzy-based decision-maker. The context broker receives context information from different types of sensors and evaluates that data using the fuzzy set theory. We demonstrate the performance of the proposed system by illustrating a use case, utilizing both an analytical model and simulation.
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