Digital Economy IT as a Utility Network+

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Chemistry

Abstract

Smart phone apps have shown that there is a demand for easy-to-use IT functions, yet the potential scope and impact of easy to use IT is much greater. This network will promote research into providing access to a wider range of IT facilities that are simple to use, while users need know only that these services are available and safe to use, not where they come from and how they are provided. However, it is not enough to provide the services and the means of using them securely. The network will develop the understanding of the human aspects of such services: the barriers, perceived as well as real, that inhibit new users of the services. We rely implicitly on other things, such as our cars and our electricity supply, so a major Network facet will be in the area of "how can we encourage the same level of trust in IT services"; the network will tackle the the issues from a user perspective.

An analogy with the traditional utilities of Power and Water is interesting. With Water we do care about the actual product as we do in part consume it directly! We also use it to drive a range of other processes. With electricity, while we do measure the amount we consume, most people don't actually think in terms of the current flowing though their mains circuits but in terms of boiling the kettle or switch on the TV - it is the service that the power enables that we focus on (at least until the power goes out). For IT this is even more true; for almost all the time we are not concerned with the infrastructure but with the services that this infrastructure can provide. Therefore there will be a strong focus in the network on such the provision of such services and also their operational management protocols.

IT drives and is driven by technology, inescapably hardware is also IT and that it is now commoditised and therefore utilitarian and has the capability to alter dramatically the way people interact with the space around them by merging physical and digital spaces in a cost effective manner. Smart spaces, responsive environments, and location dependent services can fundamentally alter interactions between people as well as the space around them.

These services depend at their heart on information and data. The ITaaU Network+ will therefore interact closely with governmental and research council initiatives on Open Data, and more generally on use and re-use of data, made feasible by the adoption of open and linked data standards, and new services which can be developed as more data becomes available.

Planned Impact

The DE Challenge Area IT as a Utility Network+ will have direct impact with the wider public, media and education. It lies at the heart of the way the all of us will predominately interact with IT systems. In some ways the greatest success of the research in the network area will be to make the explicit notion of IT almost invisible and certainly transparent. As such it will transform many aspects of the Digital Economy theme.

The proposed range of activities will bring different research communities and researchers with different skills together in a targeted manner as well as providing the wider community forum for the coordination with other related activities. Taken together with the research opportunities afforded by the Network funding, this will create a beacon for how users and researchers can interact to set an agenda for IT to have an even more wide ranging impact on society than that affected by the provision of the traditional utilities of water and power.

The impact strategy for the ITaaU Network+ is embedded into the network activities themselves: every activity within the network will have demonstrable outputs and impact. The project is designed to impact in a way that best fits the digital environment to which it responds. By brining together not only the researchers but also representatives of many existing projects and groups, we have the potential to create a powerful information and policy group that will inform future developments in for example government and research council policy on funding.

Our network will contribute towards evidence based policy-making and influencing public policies and legislation at a local, regional, national and international level in their requirements and use of Utility IT and Computing for the provision of applications and services to business, government and the consumer. We will pay attention to the needs of bridging the urban rural divide in the design and deployment of novel solutions (e.g. on demand services for e.gov applications in the cloud) to ensure that the marginalised and vulnerable in society do not become disenfranchised from the digital economy. Another important community will be those involved in receiving and delivering education and training (at all levels) an area in which ITaaU has significant potential to make radical changes and for which the usability challenges of the network research will be very significant.

The pilot projects arm of the network activities will act a demonstrators to show the public and government what is possible and inspire the developments in this area, both with academic and industrial concerns, placing the users at the centre of activities and showing that the science fiction is now (or can be) very much science fact, when it comes to IT.

The ITaaU Network has the potential to become the face of the Open Data movement, after all, while the public can appreciate that having data might be useful, it is actually the applications and services built on such data that they will really consume - with out usable, safe and trusted IT utilities much of the potential of open data will never be achieved. The ITaaU network will deliver considerable impact in this area.
 
Title Social Life of I.T. 
Description Exploring the social and environmental impact of three projects, Uplands Rescue Resilience, Cloudmaker and Blupoint, supported by the RCUK Digital Economy IT as a Utility Network+. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Shown at ITaau Confernece and other events 
URL https://vimeo.com/102601182
 
Description The ITaaU Network Plus was funded as one of the challenge area forming part of the RCUK Digital Economy Programme. The network undertook both community building networking activities as well as funding a series of pilot projects. The network activities have highlighted 6 key aspects: (1) Collaborate - the need to collaborate across disciplines, sectors, and to involve the whole range of disparate communities in co-creation to deliver innovation and novelty in the digital and physical space; (2) Design - As we evolve from the digital to the data-driven economy the roel of design will be paramount; m we need "Data by Design" not just Digital by Default"; (3) Embed - Embed researchers both physically and virtually deep into he living world, citizen science enable the wider community to become a research community but this needs to be a two way process; (4) Grasp the circular economy; weather from the field to the fork, or the molecule to medicine, utilities and services will replace ownership of things; (5) Pervasive, interactive, and supportive services are essential and all around us, technology becomes a social context and humans and computer work together for real; Share - think open source, open data, open standards, open idea, to build a secure, usable and trustworthy system.
Exploitation Route IT as a Utility specifically covers the interaction between academic, industrial, commercial and governmental sectors. We have been able to continue some of these activities as part of the funning provided with the Food Standards Agency, and as part of an EU H2020 funded support action in Data Science (the EDISON project). We are now seeking other H202 funding in tree Science in and for Society theme. We are looking to continue the ITaaU Network meetings in a self sustaining manner. Regionally we have been building a smaller scale network in Physical and Digital Science South (PDSS) and working with the commercial contacts generated within ITaaU Network to sustain a series of interdisciplinary and corse-sector meetings.
Sectors Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk
 
Description The Digital Economy activity under the IT as a Utility Network have contributed to commercial, industrial, and regulatory activities across a range of areas from health, food, education, planning, libraries, to creative and manufacturing. The interaction with the Food Standards Agency was particularly significant we we continue to build on this. The contribution of BluePoint which we help fund at the start and then has attracted Innovate UK and Development funds extends the the developing regions of the world. One of the people we help fund now advised the Gates Foundation.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Economic
 
Description H2020-ICT-2014-2
Amount € 553,375 (EUR)
Funding ID 671562 
Organisation European Commission (EC) 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2015 
End 10/2017
 
Description H2020-ICT-2015
Amount € 218,698 (EUR)
Funding ID 688221 
Organisation European Commission (EC) 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2017
 
Description Heritage Lottery Fund
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Robert Gordon University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2017
 
Description InterDigita funding
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Interdigita 
Sector Private
Country Mexico, United Mexican States
Start 03/2015 
End 06/2015
 
Description KTP
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Department Innovate UK
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2014 
End 04/2015
 
Description Orbit Housing Funding
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation Orbit Housing Group 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start  
 
Description Web Science Institute Research Collaboration Stimulus Fund
Amount £1,193 (GBP)
Funding ID WSI RCSF 
Organisation University of Southampton 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start  
 
Description Internet of Food Things 
Organisation Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The ITaaU Network brought the ideas of the Digital Economy and in particular the potential role of digital and IT utilities to all aspects of the food network
Collaborator Contribution The FSA brought the concerns, data and information about the Food safety and security
Impact We have held several joint workshops and have produced a report on IoT and Food
Start Year 2014
 
Description Cloud Computing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Cloud Computing : Industry and Academia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/08/IT-as-a-Utility-Network-cloud-computing-report.pdf
 
Description Cloud Computing and Big Data 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This 1-day workshop brought together the activities of the IT as a Utility Network+ and the Digital Institute at Newcastle University. The aim of the day is to share the experiences of the two initiatives in understanding and developing cloud platforms for the delivery of social and health services.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/event/itaau-cloud-computing-workshop-delivering-platforms-and-services/
 
Description Creative Digital 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop explored various models for supporting and championing the interdisciplinary creative, digital and IT sector in different locations. We will compare Tech City, Soho, Brighton, Media City, Bristol and Bournemouth amongst others in the UK and abroad.

The event targets policy makers, practitioners, researchers and others interested in the future of the creative digital sector.

Following on from the successful Brighton Fuse project, a scoping study was funded by the ESRC to investigate the viability of a similar study in the Bournemouth area. The two Universities in Bournemouth have fostered a cluster of graduates, research groups and studios that are making significant inroads into the creative digital sector. A fact that has been recognised by the Prime Minister in Prime Minster's Questions in a question about the recent British successes in the Oscars.

We plan to have a larger network meeting looking into the UK Creative, Digital and IT sector and the digital platforms that support media production in the autumn. In the meantime, we will run a forward-looking scoping workshop to set the agenda for this meeting.

In the meantime this event will act as a useful networking event for those in the Creative, Digital and IT sector seeking to glean new ideas and inspiration from others in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/event/creative-digital-and-it-industries-digital-platforms-for-media-prod...
 
Description Golden Lane residents meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk to golden lane residents meeting entitled "technology to support residential communities) by Tom Lodge
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Human Data Interaction 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Human-Data Interaction: big data gets personal, 2 Oct 2013 Open Data Institute, London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk
 
Description IT as a Utility Booklet II 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Second network booklet as a short impactful glossy magazine distributed round the UK and online
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/11/ITaaU-brochure-web-version.pdf
 
Description IT as aUtility: Network+ community conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This was a two-day presentation and reflection on the achievements so far and the future plans of the RCUK-funded IT as a Utility Network+. The event will be an opportunitiy to further examine the role of IT utilities in the digital economy both now and in the future.

All funded pilot projects and secondees will present their achievements and findings and participants from the comprehensive workshop programme will report on the outcomes and follow-on actions.

Topics covered :

emerging economies
libraries of the future
trust and security
design approaches for IT utilities
human data interaction
smart spaces and diversity
3D printing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/event/it-as-autility-network-community-conference/?instance_id
 
Description ITaaU Network Booklet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Booklet highlighting work of the network was produced and widely distributed to various sectors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Internet Sound and Audio Things 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As the Internet of Things becomes normalised by our acceptance of automated communication between interconnected devices we would like to take a peek into a future where sound plays an integral role in the mode of communication. This of course is ironic as we might recall the early modems that facilitated for many thier connection to the brave new world of the Internet.

The IT as a Utility Network+ (ITaaU N+) is running a scoping workshop for interested parties to examine the research to date and future opportunities for the Internet of Sound and Audio. The event will be limited to 20 people with talks, discussions, demonstrations and perhaps even performances. By Internet of Audio Things, we can perhaps think of the devices at the edge of networks that interact with humans by playing, speaking, alerting, listening or even monitoring. By Internet of Sound Things we can widen our investigation to examine devices and services that are linked through audio channels. This can encompass a variety of techniques: descriptive, where music can be identified; additive, in the form of audio watermarking; and coded, where systems such as Google's Tone deliver documents locally encoded as audio. This presents interesting challenges and opportunities for security and accessability when sharing information in plain hearing. Of course using sound as a platform introduces a whole raft of issues around aesthetics, health and safety for humans as well as other animals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/event/the-internet-of-sound-and-audio-things-isat-wheres-the-noise/
 
Description Libraries for the Future 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Libraries of the Future - 3 workshops held in 2013 discussion the future roles of libraries and librarians in the digital world, both research libraries and community libraries, looking at how to bring these together and how libraries are potentially returning to places or research not just archives.
• Libraries of the Future: 4, 5 Dec, 2013 - OERC, Oxford - workshop report http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/08/ITaaULibrariesReport4OERCv1.pdf
• Libraries of the Future: 3, 13 Nov, 2013 - British Library, London - workshop report http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/08/ITaaULibrariesReport3BLv2.pdf
• Libraries of the Future: 2 - scoping meeting, 18 Sept Southampton
• Libraries of the Future: 1, 17 April, 2013 Bodleian Lib, Oxford - workshop report http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/08/ITaaU-Libraries-of-the-Future-1-report.pdf
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk/files/2013/08/ITaaULibrariesReport4OERCv1.pdf
 
Description Research Cafe Seminar Derby 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 2015, Research Café Seminar, December 02, 2015 at University of Derby, UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description The 2nd weM2M Workshop: Enabling IoT/M2M Solutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Radical changes in the way we interact with things are happening right now. Intelligent, connected devices offer almost real-time information, but to become the foundation for more accurate predictions and recommendations, we need to interconnect billions of devices and integrate data streams from multiple sectors and geographies.
The second WeM2M workshop will bring together leading academics, software developers, innovators, opportunity creators and public authorities to share ideas, opportunities and solutions to make possible the evolution from simple connectivity (M2M) to the real internet of things (IoT).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-2nd-wem2m-workshop-enabling-iotm2m-solutions-tickets-15270443307#
 
Description Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshops on Trust
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.itutility.ac.uk
 
Description Weightless Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Internet-of-Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications have attracted significant interests in both academia and industry. Billions of M2M devices are expected to be connected, and a major portion of them are through wireless connections. Research activities are ongoing in academia, and industry. M2M communication standards have been actively developed in standard bodies, particular the Weightless SIG. It provides the scope to realise tens of billions of connected devices worldwide overcoming the traditional problems associated with current wireless standards - capacity, cost, power consumption and coverage. Weightless currently has over 1,400 industry members in three categories: Associate Members, Core Members and Promoters. This one-day workshop will provide good opportunities to learn the first-hand development and demonstration of the Weightless M2M via a number of keynote speakers from both industry and academia to address application layer, physical layer, security and regulations. A panel discussion will be held to discuss how to enable real benefits to build strong partnerships between academics and companies to tackle the future challenge of M2M and IoT research and development. To create more interactions between industry and academic, a poster and demo session will be held during the coffee break and lunchtime. The overall objective of this workshop is to bring various state-of-the-art research activities in academia and industry together and understand the future M2M communication requirements and potentials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://antennas.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/weM2M/programme.html