Sample IT Dissertation Chapter Paper on Factors Influencing Public Awareness on Internet of Everything in the UAE

Factors Influencing Public Awareness on Internet of Everything in the UAE

1.1        Research Objectives

This research aims to achieve the following objectives:

1.2        Research Questions

The research examines the key factors affecting public awareness of IoE in the city of Abu Dhabi. The researcher aims to answer the following questions:

2           Chapter Two: Literature Review

2.1        Evolution of Internet of Things (IoT)

As the number of things connected to the Internet is growing rapidly (Jara, Ladid & Gómez-Skarmeta, 2013), a new revolution of the Internet called “Internet of Things” has emerged (Jara, Ladid & Gómez-Skarmeta, 2013). Vermesan and Friess defined IoT as “A dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual “things” have identities, physical attributes, and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces, and are seamlessly integrated into the information network” (Jara, Ladid & Gómez-Skarmeta, 2013).

A 2011 report by Cisco indicated that there were around 500 million internet-connected devices in 2003. By 2010, the number of connected devices increased to 12.5 billion as a result of smartphone and tablet PC market rapid growth (Evans, 2012). Projections indicate that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion humans and objects connected to the Internet (Vermesan & Friess, 2013).

Figure 1 Growth of Internet-connected devices (Vermesan & Friess, 2013)

IoT can be deployed in several application domains such as health, science, industry, energy, transport, smart city, etc (Zieliński, 2015). It offers numerous benefits and new capabilities for developing smart and sustainable infrastructure of future cities (Zieliński, 2015). For instance, transportation management centers can use sensors connected to cars to provide what-if scenarios analysis using day-to-day traffic flow data (Clarke, 2013). This would not only make traveling easier but enjoyable as well since much of uncertain circumstances could have been dealt with (Clarke, 2013).

Cisco anticipates that the future of IoT is called “Internet of Everything (IoE)”. The IoE connects together people, data, things, and processes in gigantic networks of connections creating huge amounts of data, which can be intelligently used in developing endless opportunities (Clarke, 2013). These examples highlight some of the exciting ways the IoE will transform city life and help cities become Smart Cities. Since it is the dream and objective of every government to enhance its citizen’s way of life, such innovations and their importance cannot be underscored. The applications and potential benefits of IoT are limitless changing the way people interact and conduct daily activities. Its application is not only saving time but also resources in opening new opportunities for growth knowledge and innovation creation. The IoT allow private as well as public institutions to manage their assets, develop new business models and optimize their performance. For the success of IoT, ecosystem development will be essential supported by appropriate regulatory framework in climate of trust and environment which address issues like privacy, identification, security, trust, and semantic interoperability. Although IoT is a new phenomenon, the applications were long been used to connect devices for communication especially among security agents. However, the current status of IoT and the interconnectivity across the globe points a picture of robust growth and usage of IoT virtually on all spheres of life (Clarke, 2013).

The use of IoT on the globe scope is enormous with Cisco estimating that it will be worth a potential value of $14 trillion by 2020. For instance, UPS is one of the largest shipping company in the world. It has over the years used sensors fitted in vehicles to improve on efficiency, save money and lessen environmental impact. In addition, UPS has over the years used sensors on its delivery system of cars to monitor miles per gallon, motor speed, engine health, number of stops and mileage hence improving on costs and reducing cases of theft. Another widespread use of IoT in daily activities is found in Barcelona Spain (Chourabi, et al., 2012). The city has installed smart parking meter which provide residents with real time updates on parking slots available with provisions of paying via mobile phones. There is also a city wide sensor network which is used by residents to check temperature levels, pedestrian traffic, noise levels and air quality. Virtually, IoT is now widely used than anything else in the world in a directional heading to automation of all activities to save time, resources and improve efficiency of doing things. The current trend of IoT is just but a start of what is expected in the near future where everything from homes to offices and in general public will be running on IoT (Clarke, 2013).   

2.2        Smart City

The “2014 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects” report revealed that 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and is expected to grow up to 66 per cent by 2050s. The report indicates that the urban population has increased rapidly from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. This move from rural to urban areas is projected to continue specially in Asia and Africa where tremendous urban population is expected to be enormous hence constraining on the existing infrastructural facilities (UNDESA, 2015). This data is depicted in the table below that shows urban population surpassed rural population by 2010 and projected to hit 66 percent by 2050.  

Figure 3 Urban and rural populations worldwide, 1950-2050 (UNDESA, 2015)

Highly congested areas of people will certainly generate new kinds of problems such as scarcity of resources, difficulty in waste management, air pollution, human health concerns, traffic congestions, and inadequate infrastructures (Chourabi, et al., 2012). This triggers many cities worldwide to find smarter ways to manage these problems. These cities are described as “smart city”. The concept of a “smart city” is still evolving and a clear definition of smart city still lacks (Dameri, 2013). There are at least 120 different definitions of a smart city in practitioners and academic sources (Salem, 2016). However, these definitions agree that the main driver for smart city birth and development is utilization of ICTs (Gil-Garcia, Pardo & Nam, 2015). The UN adopted a universal definition of a smart city that is “an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects” (ITU, 2014b).

In ensuring there are livable conditions for everyone in such a fast urban population, the growth undertaken requires a deeper and thoroughly understanding of the smart city concept. The above challenges are triggering cities around the world to explore smarter ways of managing such challenges associated with growth (Chourabi, et al., 2012). Although there has been wide consideration of the concept of smart cities, it is fundamental for a smart city to fulfil certain fundamental elements; technology, natural environment, management and organization, governance, built infrastructure and the economy. These factors form an integrative framework which smart city concept ought to be envisioned. These factors are paramount in assessing the concept of smart city and considering the examinations of smart city initiatives. When all the eight components are considered, it defines how cities have envisioned the concept of smart city initiatives as well as implementing shared services with its consequent challenges (Chourabi, et al., 2012). The smart city initiative program is summarized in the figure below;

Source: (Chourabi, et al., 2012)

2.2.1        Smart city initiative framework

From the above diagram, it is important to note that the concept of smart city is a holistic approach that should encompass all stakeholders and account for all support from each quarter for its success. Although all factors are considered to have a two-way effect in the smart city initiative – each is influencing or influenced by the other — at various times in the implementation stage, there are factors that considered more important and essential than others. This differentiated category of factors in smart city initiative framework is important to guide the implementation and execution (Chourabi, et al., 2012).     

2.2.2  Dubai Smart City

The UAE has a projected population of more than 9.2 million, which is anticipated to grow at an average rate of 2 percent each year until 2020, reaching 10.6 million (UNDESA, 2015). Dubai city has grown rapidly in the past 35 years from 80 thousand to about 3.4 million people working on a daily basis (Dubai Statistics Center, 2015). According to the United Nation’s report on World’s Urbanization Prospect, more than 90 percent of the UAE’s population lives in urban areas. Dubai city was ranked among the fastest growing ten cities worldwide in terms of population growth over the past 25 years (UNDESA, 2015).

Figure 4 Proportions of urban and rural population of the total population, 1950-2050 (UNDESA, 2015)

With this growing pace, Dubai will be challenged to solve real lingering problems; achieving sustainable development, maintain economic competitiveness and providing high levels of quality of life for its inhabitant (Salem, 2016). Dubai smart city strategy was first announced on 5 March 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai (Barakat, N.;, 2014), to make Dubai the happiest city on Earth (Smart Dubai, 2016). The strategy includes 100 initiatives on transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services, and urban planning. It also includes a plan to transform 1000 government services into smart services (Barakat, 2014). The strategy (Smart Dubai) is comprised of six key pillars of thrusts; smart transportation; smart economy; smart life; smart society; smart environment and smart governance (Barakat, 2014). Besides developing the services, the strategy as well aims at transforming the way people live in Dubai. The strategy will be challenged with integrating all systems of public and private organizations and raising awareness of the people, changing their perception towards smart services, and launching more high-quality services to provide better life (Dubai crowned Mena Smart City of the Year, 2015). In Dubai, the transportation system is fully automated and can be used as a perfect example of a Smart City. The RTA Company which controls metro system, taxi and bus services has fully automated their services to the convenient of citizens. All these services are centrally controlled by fully automated computerized network where buses and metro system operate on timed basis. For instance, there are services offered at extra 7a.m, 8a.m and so on without a minute late in a predictable pattern. This makes citizen’s life easier and convenient in terms of planning (Dubai crowned Mena Smart City of the Year, 2015).

2.3         Factors influence public awareness of Internet of Everything

In ensuring the public awareness of Internet of Everything, a collaborative approach will require to be undertaken for the success and its adoption. The key thrusts of IoE have envisioned public and private sector collaboration aimed at achieving the set targets within the timelines (Chourabi, et al., 2012).

2.3.1        Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations

There are various studies which have been undertaken on how technologies and new ideas spread among people. Various models to explain how a technology is adapted or rejected have also been studied including the Lazy User Model (Tetard & Collan, 2009) and the Technology Acceptance Model (Venkatesh & Bala, 2008). However, the most appealing and leading model in explaining technology adoption is the Everett Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovations (2003). In his study of agricultural and rural sociology in his doctoral dissertation, he examined the usage patterns among Iowan farmers on new weed spray. He found a commonality among various fields like medicine and agriculture of how new technology was adopted (Rogers, 2003).

Rogers defined an innovation as any new technology, object, practice or an idea. His definition of technology effectively dissolved any possible existing barriers between disciplines which considered adoption of technology from multiple disciplines (Rogers, 2003).

2.3.2        Technology Adoption

(Source: Rodger, 2003)

Rogers’s first step involved and innovation-decision process which an entity or an individual undergoes before deciding on whether to adopt a new technology/innovation or not (Rogers, 2003). Knowledge stage is the first in the innovation decision process. For an individual to initiate the adoption procedure, he has to understand what the innovation is all about. This is the process where an individual sees the innovation being used in real life, advertised on media or even informed about it by a friend. After awareness, the individual becomes interested and inquires more concerning the innovation like its features, the cost implications, and user reviews (Rogers, 2003). At this point, thorough consideration is conceived as a potential user of the technology or innovation and actively considers to make the decision of whether to incorporate it in the daily and regular activities (Rogers, 2003).

It is at the decision stage that an individual makes the choice of either reject or adopt the technology. This is informed by individual’s assessment of cost, advantages, disadvantages, trade-offs and benefits. When the rejection option is the best alternative, the person never uses the technology, otherwise the process of daily life integration of the technology begins at this stage (Rogers, 2003). The implementation stage involves the wholesome integration of the technology to daily life which in most cases is slow and time consuming. It involves changes to daily routines, practices and habits while evaluating the technology to access whether it meets the expectations or not. At later stages, an individual may request further information concerning the technology to enhance its usability and usefulness (Rogers, 2003). It also at this stage where re-innovations may be necessary to fit a certain responsibility designed to increase its usefulness. The confirmation of technology is reached once the integration and re-innovation processes have been completed (Rogers, 2003). It is at this point a person confirms the decision to fully adopt the technology in daily activities. After confirmation of use of the technology, there is discontinuance where after some time the innovation is completely abandoned especially if faces obsolescence where their working capacity is greatly reduced and produces below expectations. This process may be followed by replacement of the technology altogether (Rogers, 2003).

2.3.3        Influence of Adoption

Rodgers pointed out five factors that make one technology adoption more likely than another. First is relative advantage where the adopted technology must provide some form of benefits to the tasks intended for. Secondly, the innovation and technology should be compatible with the users’ daily practices and lifestyle. If not, it should provide some relative space and duration for readjustment. Third, the technology adopted should not present high levels of complexity. This refers to difficulties in which a user experiences while operating and using the technology (Rogers, 2003). Fourth is the trialability of the technology where the user ought to have an opportunity for the potential user to personal experience how the technology work. For instance, test drives, simulations and demonstrations. The fifth and final stage which is critical in technology and innovation diffusion is observability which refers to how visible is the technology to those around it (Rogers, 2003). An individual’s adoption of technology will greatly be influenced by seeing and hearing about its operations as well as knowing other people are using it (Rogers, 2003).

In innovation diffusion as discussed above by Rodgers (2003), the role of social systems in the holistic process is essential and of paramount importance. The end result of the whole diffusion system rest with people as part of the social system and how they adapt a product, technology, a new idea and the behavior. Adoption of an innovation is not a simultaneous process happening in a social system but rather some people are usually more apt to adopt the innovation more easily than others (Rogers, 2003). The promoters of an innovation ought to study the segment of population they are targeting with the innovation to understand more the characteristics which are likely to hinder or encourage the adoption. The theory of diffusion of innovation has been instrumental in various fields including criminal justice, public health, agriculture, communication, marketing and social work (Rogers, 2003). When the relevant authorities intends to change the behaviors of a social system especially in public health, they heavily rely on the theory of diffusion of innovation. Therefore, the nature and characteristics of any social system is essential in determining the rate of technology diffusion at any stage (Rogers, 2003).     

2.4        Relationship between IoE and Smart city

The concept of smart city development is that of when as opposed to if while considering how and not what? This is necessitated by the current city situations where aging population, economic turmoil, rapid urbanization, and climate change are the order of the day. However, all these scenarios are witnessed amidst tremendous technological advancement, growth and innovations capable of addressing such issues globally across cities (Clarke, 2013). Smart city concept is the future of every municipality across the globe that will utilize the power of permeating communication networks, intelligent management systems, and highly disseminated wireless radar technology to solve both current and future challenges through creation of new exciting services. The problems witnessed in cities will be solved by smart city technologies scrutinized and incorporated in massive amount of data to mitigate, anticipate, and prevent numerous city challenges. For instance, smart cities can use IoE to intelligent reroute traffic, which would significantly reduce accidents, target resources for crime reduction, identification of crime hotspots and connection of its citizens both at work and out of town. Smart cities will proactively provide services integrated in IoE as well as information and notifications to citizens like available parking slots, monitoring of air pollution, areas congested with traffic or even a new local shop for convenient of city residents. This will be essential as noted above; over 66 percent of citizens would be residing in towns (UNDESA, 2015). Smart cities connects and interacts with citizens with issues regarding public participation, collaboration and interaction all enhanced by IoE (UNDESA, 2015).

In the near future, big data and analytics, as well as social media while providing a foundational start shall meet smart city strategies and goals.  This can be demonstrated in the diagram below;

Source:  (Vermesan & Friess, 2013)

The figure illustrates the vision for a smart city with an inescapable connection of communication technologies and information (ICT) that connects people, thing, and organizations to a common platform. In the current state, the things that can be connected or should be connected to IoE (internet and intelligent systems) are less than one percent. When a proportionate number of people and things will be connected, huge amount of data will be generated to a tune of 40 trillion gigabytes; this in all facets produces significant impacts to how people live and interact (Clarke, 2013). Therefore, there will be faster response times to public safety emergencies, medical cases that consequently save lives which could have otherwise been lost. This brings to front the importance of interdependence of IoE and the smart city integrated initiative. In addition, this faster access to information and quick responses to fundamental services will improve the quality of life of citizens through provision of personal and direct services from municipalities and other government departments (Clarke, 2013).

These processes will greatly assist in uncovering of city operations which enables leaders in their prudent use of resources while saving money and providing superior services to the citizens. The use of IoE in complimenting the smart city integrated initiative will enable connections enhancing faster communications and decision making while uncovering new information. From the above illustration, it is evident how IoE will be used in various exciting ways to transform the city life as well as helping cities to achieve the smart city status (Clarke, 2013).       

2.5        Summary Paragraph

The above discussion and literature review has considered the concept of smart city evolving from challenges experienced by the current cities and efforts to manage them. The concept has not been clear among academicians and practitioners with a limited number of studies attempting to investigate the concept and place it in to perspective (Chourabi, et al., 2012). Therefore, the paper shall be concerned by bridging this gap through identification of important and essential trends. In addition, it shall suggest and offer alternative strategies and projects concerning cities as they strive to adapt to new ways of becoming smarter and livable. Through exploration and extensive study of available research and literature, such as urban studies, e-government, public administration and information science, the study will identify and discuss, success factors, challenges associated with government-driven initiatives in ambition of achieving smart city. In conducting the survey, the connection between IoE to smart cities will also be explored in details and how if any such initiatives have been used in improving citizen’s life (Chourabi, et al., 2012).     


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