Incentive Mechanisms for Crowdsensing: Crowdsourcing with Smartphones

Dejun Yang, Guoliang Xue, Xi Fang, Jian Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

353 Scopus citations


Smartphones are programmable and equipped with a set of cheap but powerful embedded sensors, such as accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, and camera. These sensors can collectively monitor a diverse range of human activities and the surrounding environment. Crowdsensing is a new paradigm which takes advantage of the pervasive smartphones to sense, collect, and analyze data beyond the scale of what was previously possible. With the crowdsensing system, a crowdsourcer can recruit smartphone users to provide sensing service. Existing crowdsensing applications and systems lack good incentive mechanisms that can attract more user participation. To address this issue, we design incentive mechanisms for crowdsensing. We consider two system models: the crowdsourcer-centric model where the crowdsourcer provides a reward shared by participating users, and the user-centric model where users have more control over the payment they will receive. For the crowdsourcer-centric model, we design an incentive mechanism using a Stackelberg game, where the crowdsourcer is the leader while the users are the followers. We show how to compute the unique Stackelberg Equilibrium, at which the utility of the crowdsourcer is maximized, and none of the users can improve its utility by unilaterally deviating from its current strategy. For the user-centric model, we design an auction-based incentive mechanism, which is computationally efficient, individually rational, profitable, and truthful. Through extensive simulations, we evaluate the performance and validate the theoretical properties of our incentive mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7101300
Pages (from-to)1732-1744
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Crowdsensing
  • Stackelberg game
  • crowdsourcing
  • incentive mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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