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Smart Space as a Utility

When Sep 11, 2012
from 11:00 AM to 04:30 PM
Where JCR
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Our workshop Plenary Speaker is Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Chair of Creative Technology Innovation and founder director of the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute and the MAGIC Multimedia & Games Innovation Centre, at University College Dublin in Dublin.

The Smart Spaces workshop at Digital Research 2012 will be the 4th in a sequence on Smart Spaces initiated under an E-Science Institute grant (Edinburgh and Southampton) and followed by an e-Research South Workshop in Bournemouth. The purpose of the series was examining the ‘smart’ meme and the exploitation of smart environments.

Our initial motivation was to improve knowledge exchange in learning and research, but we have come to appreciate the wider relevance of what we have learned. That has led us to plan a fourth workshop with its theme the future for smart environments as utilities designed to provide for the needs of the people in the smart spaces. For the first two workshops we put a strong emphasis on facilitated discussion, using several complementary recording methods to document the proceedings. The third workshop comprised a wide-ranging set of talks, with much less general discussion. Although the day was very interesting, we believe we learned more with the collaborative format, so envisage returning to that approach for the fourth workshop. We might still have one or two main speakers, to prime the discussion.  We would expect between 10 and 20 attendees, with each person giving a maximum 5 minute introduction rather than a talk. The main part of the workshop would be the facilitated and documented discussion.

We capture our key question in our theme, accepting that it might become a multifaceted question: How can we provide for the needs of people in smart environments? Our previous workshops have raised numerous points about the meaning of ‘smart’, so we hope to refine our understanding of those aspects. Towards that aim, we have outlined the following set of topical questions, which are liable to change until such time as we announce the workshop:

  • While complementary recording methods can preserve the data and information generated within a space ascribed as smart, what are the roles for curation in adding value?
  • To what extent should the space itself (be it open, closed, or distributed) be allowed to influence the activities taking place in the space?
  • In what ways might it be feasible to build user focus into knowledge exchange processes? Could we establish a set of best practices in this area?
  • What lessons might we be able to draw from the research context that we could then apply to the activities of ordinary citizens?
  • What does the term ‘smart’ mean to people who are not technology-oriented?
  • What might the adjectives “calm” and “non-intrusive” when applied to the technologies deployed in smart environments?
  • How can users be smart about capturing their thoughts and how important is it for them to do so?

Please follow this link in order to submit your answers to the questions above:


You can get some more background and see some details of the previous workshops as we have now published the monograph that presents the proceedings of the Smarter Research Workshop at Bournemouth University on 18th April and also places that workshop in context with the two Smart Spaces workshops that preceded it. You can download a copy of the monograph from ePrints: Monograph: Diverse Perceptions of Smart Spaces