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Book part
Publication date: 7 August 2019

Roser Pujadas and Daniel Curto-Millet

While digital platforms tend to be unproblematically presented as the infrastructure of the sharing economy – as matchmakers of supply and demand – the authors argue that…

Abstract

While digital platforms tend to be unproblematically presented as the infrastructure of the sharing economy – as matchmakers of supply and demand – the authors argue that constituting the boundaries of infrastructures is political and performative, that is, it is implicated in ontological politics, with consequences for the distribution of responsibilities (Latour, 2003; Mol, 1999, 2013; Woolgar & Lezaun, 2013). Drawing on an empirical case study of Uber, including an analysis of court cases, the authors investigate the material-discursive production of digital platforms and their participation in the reconfiguring of the world (Barad, 2007), and examine how the (in)visibility of the digital infrastructure is mobilized (Larkin, 2013) to this effect. The authors argue that the representation of Uber as a “digital platform,” as “just the technological infrastructure” connecting car drivers with clients, is a political act that attempts to redefine social responsibilities, while obscuring important dimensions of the algorithmic infrastructure that regulates this socioeconomic practice. The authors also show how some of these (in)visibilities become exposed in court, and some of the boundaries reshaped, with implications for the constitution of objects, subjects and their responsibilities. Thus, while thinking infrastructures do play a role in regulating and shaping practice through algorithms, it could be otherwise. Thinking infrastructures relationally decentre digital platforms and encourage us to study them as part of ongoing and contested entanglements in practice.

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Thinking Infrastructures
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-558-0

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Edward J. Oughton, Zoraida Frias, Mischa Dohler, Jason Whalley, Douglas Sicker, Jim W. Hall, Jon Crowcroft and David D. Cleevely

Public policy requires effective identification of the current and emerging issues being faced in industry and beyond. This paper aims to identify a set of key issues…

Abstract

Purpose

Public policy requires effective identification of the current and emerging issues being faced in industry and beyond. This paper aims to identify a set of key issues currently facing digital communications and reviews their relevance for the strategic provision of infrastructure, particularly within the UK context.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology focusses on taking a horizon-scanning approach to obtaining current information from a range of authoritative decision makers across industry, government and academia. After structuring the issues identified, these areas are explored by a multi-disciplinary research team covering engineering, economics and computer science.

Findings

Five key categories were identified including future demand; coverage and capacity; policy and regulation; economics and business models; and technology. The results are reported for both fixed and wireless networks. Shared issues affecting the wider digital ecosystem are also identified including Brexit, connecting remote areas and the degree to which the economics of infrastructure allows for building multiple overlapping infrastructures. The authors find that future demand uncertainty is one of the major issues affecting the digital communications sector driven by rigid willingness-to-pay, weak revenue and an increasing shift from fixed to wireless technologies. Policy must create the market conditions that encourage the entry of new competitors with innovative thinking and disruptive business models.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the analysis is that it is quite UK-focussed; hence, further research could broaden this analysis to assessing issues at a continental or global scale.

Originality/value

The value of this paper originates from the breadth of the expert elicitation exercise carried out to gather the initial set of issues, followed by the analysis of this data by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers. The results direct a future research agenda, as many issues are indicative of a lack of existing evidence to support effective decision-making.

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Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2020

Normaz Wana Ismail

Digital technology is gaining attention among many scholars as a way to facilitate trade. This study aims to investigate three important digital dimensions (DD), namely…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital technology is gaining attention among many scholars as a way to facilitate trade. This study aims to investigate three important digital dimensions (DD), namely, digital infrastructure, digital usage and digital security on trade using selected Asian countries and 20 selected trade partners. Digital infrastructure focussed on the availability and accessibility of digital infrastructure in exporting and importing countries. The second dimension, digital usage, highlights the importance of household usage of mobile phones, broadband data and the internet. Finally, the third dimension focusses on digital security as many online transactions occur across the globe.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses the gravity model to investigate the impact of DD as tools to facilitate trade in selected Asian countries with selected trading partners between 2003 and 2017. The Hausman test is used to determine whether to use the random effect model or fixed effect model. However, for robustness, the Hausman and Taylor estimation is used to allow the time-invariant model to be included and at the same time to remove correlations between the error terms.

Findings

The result of this study confirmed that having digital infrastructure is not sufficient for trade facilitation, but it must be supported with an intensity of use by businesses and consumers and be accompanied by strong internet security for trade. The study also revealed that a narrowing digital divide in terms internet users and security will be a benefit to both trade partners in a transaction through better and efficient trade facilitation.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the literature in three ways. First, the classification of DD is used to identify which dimensions need to be addressed for policymakers. Most studies focussed on the first two dimensions without including security dimensions. Second, the authors estimate digital trade facilitation variables for both exporters and importers to ensure unbiased results between two trade partners. Finally, this study introduces new variables in the analysis of the digital user gap and the digital security gap as indicators for the digital divide.

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Studies in Economics and Finance, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1086-7376

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2018

Lloyd Levine

Access to high-speed Internet is essential for full and consequential participation in the civic, economic, and education systems of modern life. Yet 30% of Californians…

Abstract

Access to high-speed Internet is essential for full and consequential participation in the civic, economic, and education systems of modern life. Yet 30% of Californians continue to lack “meaningful Internet access” at home. This digital divide is worse among already disadvantaged communities and prevents rural, lower-income, and disabled individuals from fully participating in the civic, economic, and education systems of life in 2018. This chapter establishes the magnitude of the digital divide, examines the factors that contribute to the Divide, and looks at which groups are most affected. Successful government programs that invested in utility infrastructure and adoption, such as the Rural Electrification Act, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the California Advanced Services Fund, are examined to provide a foundation for broadband specific policy recommendations. The chapter sets up a framework for policy recommendations by segmenting the population based upon the concepts of material and motivational access and establishing meaningful Internet access as the goal for policy-makers. The chapter puts forth a number of specific policy recommendations to address the technological disparity and prevent it from furthering the economic and educational divides.

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The M in CITAMS@30
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-669-3

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2015

Julie Freeman and Sora Park

This article explores challenges for rural Australian local governments during the transition to high-speed broadband infrastructure. Despite the National Broadband…

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores challenges for rural Australian local governments during the transition to high-speed broadband infrastructure. Despite the National Broadband Network’s promised ubiquitous connectivity, significant access discrepancies remain between rural and urban areas.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical findings are drawn from a full-day workshop on digital connectivity, which included participants from seven rural local governments in New South Wales, Australia. Thematic analysis of the workshop transcript was undertaken to extrapolate recurring nuances of rural digital exclusion.

Findings

Rural communities face inequitable prospects for digital inclusion, and authorities confront dual issues of accommodating connected and unconnected citizens. Many areas have no or poor broadband access, and different digital engagement expectations are held by citizens and local governments. Citizens seek interactive opportunities, but rural authorities often lack the necessary resources to offer advanced participatory practices.

Research limitations/implications

While this research draws from a small sample of government officials, their insights are, nonetheless, heuristically valuable in identifying connectivity issues faced in rural Australia. These issues can guide further research into other regions as well as civic experiences of digital inclusion.

Practical implications

There is a need to reconceive Australia’s current policy approach to broadband. Greater rural digital inclusion may be achieved by focusing on connectivity as a public interest goal, targeting infrastructure developments to suit local contexts and implementing participatory digital government practices.

Originality/value

The actions suggested would help ensure equity of digital inclusion across Australian municipal areas. Without such changes, there is a risk of rural citizens facing further marginalisation through digital exclusion.

Details

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6166

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Georgios I. Zekos

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination…

Abstract

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination of some legal aspects concerning MNEs, cyberspace and e‐commerce as the means of expression of the digital economy. The whole effort of the author is focused on the examination of various aspects of MNEs and their impact upon globalisation and vice versa and how and if we are moving towards a global digital economy.

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Managerial Law, vol. 45 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2019

Erika A. Parn and David Edwards

Smart cities provide fully integrated and networked connectivity between virtual/digital assets and physical building/infrastructure assets to form digital economies…

Abstract

Purpose

Smart cities provide fully integrated and networked connectivity between virtual/digital assets and physical building/infrastructure assets to form digital economies. However, industrial espionage, cyber-crime and deplorable politically driven cyber-interventions threaten to disrupt and/or physically damage the critical infrastructure that supports national wealth generation and preserves the health, safety and welfare of the populous. The purpose of this paper is to present a comprehensive review of cyber-threats confronting critical infrastructure asset management reliant upon a common data environment to augment building information modelling (BIM) implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretivist, methodological approach to reviewing pertinent literature (that contained elements of positivism) was adopted. The ensuing mixed methods analysis: reports upon case studies of cyber-physical attacks; reveals distinct categories of hackers; identifies and reports upon the various motivations for the perpetrators/actors; and explains the varied reconnaissance techniques adopted.

Findings

The paper concludes with direction for future research work and a recommendation to utilize innovative block chain technology as a potential risk mitigation measure for digital built environment vulnerabilities.

Originality/value

While cyber security and digitization of the built environment have been widely covered within the extant literature in isolation, scant research has hitherto conducted an holistic review of the perceived threats, deterrence applications and future developments in a digitized Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations (AECO) sector. This review presents concise and lucid reference guidance that will intellectually challenge, and better inform, both practitioners and researchers in the AECO field of enquiry.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 22 December 2020

Jari Salo, Teck Ming Tan and Hannu Makkonen

The purpose of this paper is to cast light on the nature of the digitalization process that occurs when digital technologies are adopted in buyer–seller relationships.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to cast light on the nature of the digitalization process that occurs when digital technologies are adopted in buyer–seller relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The study features a case study from the steel processing industry.

Findings

The present research builds on and extends the interaction approach to the context of buyer–seller relationship digitalization process. The study explicates the interrelated elements of digital infrastructure, digital communication and degree of digitalization of the buyer–seller relationship.

Research limitations/implications

The study aims at theoretical generalization and thus produces conceptual understanding that is to some extent applicable to various contexts. The generalization of the empirical insights to other process-focused industries is to some extent possible. However, further research in versatile empirical contexts is needed to validate the results.

Practical implications

For managers, the study presents a success case of digital technologies use for improving a buyer–seller relationship.

Originality/value

The originality of the present research is in the way it depicts how a buyer–seller relationship is gradually digitalized in successive digital technology adoptions, that is, a virtuous cycle of digitalization, that creates and alters the digital infrastructure and digital communication processes between the buyer and the seller resulting in different outcomes (degrees of digitalization in the buyer–seller relationship).

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Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

A. Alemna and M. Cobblah

To share with a global readership the progress made and the infrastructure in the making to create digital resources and utilize digital resources in libraries in Africa.

Abstract

Purpose

To share with a global readership the progress made and the infrastructure in the making to create digital resources and utilize digital resources in libraries in Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Comparisons of how digital libraries evolved or transitioned in more developed parts of the world with Africa. Issues of intellectual property are key interests that need to be reinforced in Africa as the digital library movement matures.

Findings

Africa is ready to pursue developing digital libraries in a more earnest way but lacks some basic resources. Information technology is expanding throughout Africa but at a slower pace, yet with intense efforts directed towards training and implementing more automation.

Research limitations/implications

A more serious infrastructure needs to be established to see the launch of more digital library components in African libraries. The understanding is there but the resources remain undependable and costly to implement on any serious scale.

Practical implications

Serious infrastructure issues need to be resolved in addition to working out the economic and commercial limitations, the legal situation and creating a digital rights roadmap for seeing the digital library provision in place.

Originality/value

The need to catch up with trends in libraries worldwide is sincere and efforts are well underway to create more electronic resources and make digital libraries more of a reality in already information deprived regions of the world.

Details

Library Hi Tech News, vol. 22 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0741-9058

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2014

Paolo Manghi, Michele Artini, Claudio Atzori, Alessia Bardi, Andrea Mannocci, Sandro La Bruzzo, Leonardo Candela, Donatella Castelli and Pasquale Pagano

The purpose of this paper is to present the architectural principles and the services of the D-NET software toolkit. D-NET is a framework where designers and developers…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the architectural principles and the services of the D-NET software toolkit. D-NET is a framework where designers and developers find the tools for constructing and operating aggregative infrastructures (systems for aggregating data sources with heterogeneous data models and technologies) in a cost-effective way. Designers and developers can select from a variety of D-NET data management services, can configure them to handle data according to given data models, and can construct autonomic workflows to obtain personalized aggregative infrastructures.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a definition of aggregative infrastructures, sketching architecture, and components, as inspired by real-case examples. It then describes the limits of current solutions, which find their lacks in the realization and maintenance costs of such complex software. Finally, it proposes D-NET as an optimal solution for designers and developers willing to realize aggregative infrastructures. The D-NET architecture and services are presented, drawing a parallel with the ones of aggregative infrastructures. Finally, real-cases of D-NET are presented, to show-case the statement above.

Findings

The D-NET software toolkit is a general-purpose service-oriented framework where designers can construct customized, robust, scalable, autonomic aggregative infrastructures in a cost-effective way. D-NET is today adopted by several EC projects, national consortia and communities to create customized infrastructures under diverse application domains, and other organizations are enquiring for or are experimenting its adoption. Its customizability and extendibility make D-NET a suitable candidate for creating aggregative infrastructures mediating between different scientific domains and therefore supporting multi-disciplinary research.

Originality/value

D-NET is the first general-purpose framework of this kind. Other solutions are available in the literature but focus on specific use-cases and therefore suffer from the limited re-use in different contexts. Due to its maturity, D-NET can also be used by third-party organizations, not necessarily involved in the software design and maintenance.

Details

Program, vol. 48 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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