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ITaaU Network+: May 2013: Issue 2
Understanding and exploiting the IT utilities behind the Digital Economy.


Steve Brewer


Welcome to the May edition of the ITaaU Network+ newsletter. It has been a very busy month for the network with multiple workshops which you can read about below, another funding call and much planning activity for the rest of the year and beyond.

The ITaaU website attracted over 1800 hits in April and continues to evolve as we pause to reflect on the twentieth anniversary of the World Wide Web reached this week. Where will we be in another twenty years?


Libraries of the Future workshop


The Libraries of the Future workshop provided a lively and stimulating forum for a cross-section of people from across the spectrum of those interested in library-related issues.

"Digital aura" was suggested as a new, broader term for what we tend to think of as mobile (the devices you bring with you and use to connect to your environment) as it can encompass new trends such as Google glasses and clothes as well as phones and tablets.


Emerging Economies: International Perspectives - workshop


On 23rd April a group of committed researchers met at the Association of Commonwealth Universities in London to explore key issues and innovations relating to the uptake and exploitation of IT Utilities in emerging economies. We explored how the adoption of IT utilities have fostered rapid economic development and are, at least, inextricably linked to its enablement. The next step for this strand of our investigations is to reach out to more experts in related projects around the world.


ITaaU Advisory Group meeting at ustwo


On the 24th April The ITaaU Network+ Advisory Group met at the Shoreditch Offices of Advisory Group member ustwo. Joe from Ustwo showed the visitors round the stimulating open plan offices and David kicked off the meeting with a presentation about the history and scope of the dynamic digital design studio.

Topics discussed by the Advisory Group ranged from how to stimulate further discussion and debate across the research community, to how to raise awareness of the risks associated with dependence on ICT networks for critical utilities.

Another proposal endorsed by the Group was the idea of developing a section of the ITaaU website to profile all members of the network and their interests. Ideally this would be an automated mechanism drawing information from a public site such as LinkedIn.


Adoption of ICT to improve security and trust in the UK food chain - workshop

This 2-day Residential workshop to be held in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on the 2nd and 3rd of September will explore best practice from around the UK and beyond and strive to identify tools and ICT systems that can be harnessed to improve food product security, traceability, nutritional benefits and consumer confidence with the social, health and economic benefits that can arise.

This workshop will bring together scientific experts, policy makers and technology practitioners from across the spectrum of government agencies and subject domains that are responsible for the adoption of technology innovations that aim to protect the interests of food producers, government, manufacturers, vendors, supermarkets and consumers from “field to fork”.

Registration details - see website

Pilot Projects - Call 2

The second call for Pilot Projects has been announced. The ITaaU Network+ will fund up to two projects in this call, aiming for wide coverage of the challenge area. Individual projects can request a maximum of £50,000 total funding (at FEC rates) and are expected to last for a maximum of 6 months.

The closing date for short Expressions of Interest is 7th June, 2013. Do get in touch if you have an idea for a proposal and would like to discuss it further.

Pilot Projects - Call 2 - see website

Rethinking the user experience: usability and IT utilities workshop, London

One of the key findings that has emerged from our work to date is the critical importance of design methods in terms of realising the ICT infrastructure that delivers the applications, services and utilities needed today. This has inspired us to organise a two day, split-site event in London which will review and compare a whole raft of best practices from different sectors.

Details will appear on the ITaaU website shortly.

Tangible Interfaces and other workshops

Keep an eye on the ITaaU website for details of other workshops that we are putting together. We are planning for larger event focussing on the diverse range of tangible interfaces that are rapidly becoming more mainstream as mechanisms with which to interact with the computer networks including the Internet.

Other specialist events will focus on broadcasting, fashion, architectural design, and security and trust.

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IT as a Utility Network+ One of four challenge areas under the Research Councils UK Digital Economy theme

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