Designing the Internet of Things for Workplace Realities

Posted on 13 juin 2008

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Virtuality is not the opposite of Reality, as says WebOL : to speak in -ism, idealism (images, abstraction, imagination) and materialism (objects, materials, instruments) are the spine of realism. Any image has to be incorporated. Just think of music.

Designing the Internet of Things for Workplace Realities : Social and Cultural Aspects in Design and Organisation is due soon: it’s a workshop of the Internet of Things, conference was held in Zürich (26th-28th March 2008). WebOL mentions the Virtual Society Program (seemingly finished), led by Steve Woolgar about the social science of electronic technologies.

The theme of the workshop is : The rise of the Internet of Things has important socio-technical implications for organisations. While ubiquitous and wireless technologies are developed to enable new ways of working, to increase safety and to facilitate coordination, they may interfere with established work practices, undermine productivity and individuals’ satisfaction, and have an unforeseen impact on relations of power and control. These issues, however, are rarely addressed in development and research projects for the Internet of Things and in the public discourses surrounding it. We are interested in research, that addresses a wide range of social and organisational issues, such as organisational flexibility, organisational alignment, working roles, practices and strategies, and power and control.

The workshop has the goal to increase awareness of organisational issues of the Internet of Things and to provide a forum for discussion of design approaches to manage critical organisational issues. Furthermore we would like to build a bridge between the various research communities exploring organisational, social and cultural aspects of the Internet of Things and ubiquitous computing. A multitude of methods and guidelines (e.g. participatory design, work place studies, ethnomethodology, resilience engineering, socio-technical system approach, scenario-based design, ANT) have been developed to address organisational, human and social issues in technology design, deployment and use. However, those methods have often not yet been adopted and tested for the Internet of Things or ubiquitous computing. We encourage submissions presenting a particular design method to address social, cultural and organisational perspectives or relating experiences from modeling these processes within research and development projects.

The Internet of Things is emerging as a powerful force for reshaping organisational and social realities, potentially affecting the (work)lives of millions of people. Current political agendas, a rising awareness of health and safety issues, security, and new legal requirements due to the European legislation often first cause the need for a new (ubiquitous) technological system and also have an impact on the role ubiquitous computing plays. We welcome especially attempts to gauge the wider implications of these developments on society and culture that then in turn have an impact on organisations and workplaces. We not only want to consider the impact of the Internet of Things but rather understand those technologies and the surrounding cultural and social logics in a co-constitutive process.

Posted in: IT, Work'OL