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UK Digital Economy Research Presentation

On February 15, 2011, Derek McAuly of the Horizon’s Digital Economy Hub (UK) and the University of Nottingham spoke about the Digital Economy, which he defined as “the novel design or use of information and communication technologies to help transform the lives of individuals, society, or business” (

A key point from McAuley’s talk was that the lessons from technology implementation need to be organic and iterative as SESERV explore the issues around the Future Internet. For instance, an example from Derek McAuley gave was a quick little project in the Digital Economy Hub at Nottingham (UK) called “A Day in the Park”. The project involved context-aware devices being used by people in an amusement park to enhance their visitor experience and provide personalized mementoes of their visit, such as photographs printed onto tourist items. Technically and socially from the point of view of the users, it was a pretty straightforward project. However, the developers had not realized the complex rights chain attached to items all over the park. One example he gave involved images of Sonic the Hedgehog, which was a mascot of the park in question, had complex IP agreements governing not only the placement of the images in the park, but the sale of photographs which in turn contained those images of Sonic. This forced the developers to confront a much more complex ecosystem than they had ever imagined, and shows the tension that often arises for SMEs that do not have the hoards of lawyers available to large multi-national companies as they attempt to implement technology in areas with often unforeseen legal implications.

The topic helped formed the position papers in work package 3, and also formed potential liaisons with the UK Digital Economy programme.