UTFacultiesBMSDept HIBCOMResearchTheme 1: Digital SocietyAny Thing for Anyone? Digital inequality and the Internet-of-Things

Any Thing for Anyone? Digital inequality and the Internet-of-Things

To ensure more equal access to the Internet-of-Things, this 6 year research project aims to investigate inequalities in IoT skills among the general user population from an individual and social-contextual perspective. First, two large-scale performance tests are conducted in which subjects (sampled for gender, age and education) are asked to complete assignments. One tests concern the use of health wearables, the other a smart home lab environment. Second, three data-collection methods are employed to conduct a detailed investigation of how IoT skills are applied and learned in the home context: IoT log data, a diary study that captures data from participants as they live through certain experiences, and a series of semi-structured interviews to understand both how the participants resolved their IoT skill issues and the roles played by other members of the home environment in resolving those issues. The underlying idea of the project is that technologies offer more capital-enhancing opportunities for those of higher socioeconomic status, and that when technologies become more complex, comparative advantages further increase. Many of the possibilities enabled by IoT that are emphasized in popular media seem techno-utopian promises that stress the autonomous power of the technology. So far, behavioral factors that are necessary for understanding the impact of the IoT have been ignored.

Sponsors: NWO (VIDI Scheme)
Contact: Alexander van Deursen