FISE Conversation

SESERV aims to facilitate discussion and debate on Future Interent Socio-Economics (FISE) by bringing together those who study and those who build the Future Internet. The outcomes will be a multidiscplinary community of researchers who not only understand Europe's contribution to the Future Internet but also what research priorities need to be tackled to ensure increased European competitiveness.

In this channel, we present the results of the FISE conversation. You will find information on community events, reports, publications, analysis and how conceptual frameworks can be used to support effective discourse between both technical and social science disciplines.

End-users and their data in the Future Internet

posted 21 Aug 2013, 02:12 by Brian Pickering   [ updated 22 Aug 2013, 00:58 ]

The current case concerning Google's privacy policies(which is really about  those sending eMail to Google users) reminds us all that data protection and privacy as a concern is not going to go away any time soon.

Attitudes and discomfort about personal data and its protection have been the subject of survey and study for some time, not least as part of the European Commission’s periodic pulse surveys,  the Flash Eurobarometer studies. In 2008,
summaries were provided for the current as well as previous years’ responses. Reflecting the period 1991 to 2008, with surveys in ‘91, ’96, 2003 and 2008, this is a time, of course, when the Western World  moved through insecurities, the 09/11 attacks, and then the relative confidence and  stability of the early noughties, and into the beginnings of the financial crisis of 2008. Although direct comparison with the 2011 survey is not straight forward, there are nevertheless some interesting developments and results.

Responses vary over the survey period depending on industry. During 1991 and 2008, confidence across Europe that personal data would be protected by medical services increased from 75% at the start of that period to some 84% by 2008. Yet by 2011, this had dipped to 78%. The same trend could be seen for confidence in the treatment of personal data by banks and financial institutions had risen from 49% to 64%, and then down to 62%; and by public authorities (tax, social services, local authorities etc) rising from 47% to 75% before slipping back to 70%. During the period up to 2008, two-thirds (66%) were unaware that sensitive data require stricter control; and by 2011, in response to the question

Companies holding personal information about you may sometimes use it for a different purpose than the one it was collected for, without informing you (e.g. for direct marketing, targeted online advertising). How concerned are you about this use of your information?

seven out of ten EU citizens describe themselves as “Concerned”.

As we move towards the realisation of the Future Internet, with access to all via any device from anywhere, and in light of the current Google case and against the background of European and member state legislation on data protection, we should ask how FI application and service developers as well as data subjects (“end users”) should handle personal data and what the implications might be for users.

User Involvement in Future Internet Projects Paper Published

posted 2 May 2013, 04:36 by Michael Boniface

SESERV's paper "User Involvement in Future Internet Projects" has been recently published in 
The Future Internet Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 7858, 2013, pp 310-322. 

"To determine actual attitudes and practices of those in the Future Internet industry towards user involvement, delegates at the 2012 FIA participated in a focus group and a survey. Continuous user involvement is highly valued and expected to maximise the societal benefits of FI applications. However, just over half of the FI projects apply a user-centred approach, and a large number of survey respondents admitted to being not very knowledgeable about standard user-centred design tools or techniques."

Come and Share at FIA DUBLIN with EXPERIMEDIA and FI projects

posted 2 May 2013, 04:29 by Michael Boniface

Thurday 9th May 11h30

Following on from SESERV's work on user engagement we're please to announce an exciting FIA session on Scaling-up stakeholders’ engagement: ‘from the lab into the real world’

Many ‘Future Internet’ projects face the challenge of scaling-up the innovative internet services that they developed or experimented with in their projects. Such scaling-up requires large-scale adoption by stakeholders, especially by engaging (local) communities of users and engaging (local) businesses and entrepreneurs. In this workshop, we will address this challenge. We will share insights and practical experiences, regarding human-centred innovation and business modelling. As a participant, you will increase your understanding of possible approaches for successfully scaling-up innovative internet services: ‘from the lab into the real world’.

for more information about the workshop:
workshop title : Bringing users in

about the organisator

1st international conference on Internet Science

posted 18 Feb 2013, 07:33 by Michael Boniface

The “1st international conference on Internet Science”, will be organized from April 9 to 11, 2013 in Brussels, under the aegis of the European Commission, by the EINS FIRE project, the Network of Excellence in Internet Science (

Hosted by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (, the event will be a highly multidisciplinary conference fostering dialogue among scholars and practitioners belonging Computer Science, Sociology, Art, Mathematics, Physics, Complex systems analysis, Psychology, Economics, Law, Political Science, Epistemology and other relevant disciplines. It will also provide the EINS Network of Excellence with an opportunity to interact with external stakeholders, detail project objectives and methodological approach, and showcase its first results.

A Call for Papers has been launched, inviting papers shedding light on Internet Science from all involved disciplines and in particular papers crossing rigid disciplines boundaries, describing original research and innovative ideas (see for full details). A number of keynote and invited high-level speakers have been secured (

The conference is open to any organizations and individuals interested in the event topic. Pre-registration at is compulsory since registration may be closed prior to the event date due to room capacity constraints.

To contact the event organizers, please send an email to

The Tussle Analysis Cookbook is now available!

posted 9 Feb 2013, 10:19 by Costas Kalogiros

SESERV coordination project has defined a systematic approach for analyzing and assessing the importance of socio-economic tussles in the Internet. The main idea is to make sensible predictions about the behavior of major stakeholders in several scenarios, each scenario reflecting candidate implementations of the desired protocol function. We argue that selecting the features of a technology in a more holistic way, by taking into account all major socio-economic factors would lead to more attractive outcomes and increase the chances of that technology to be adopted in the long-term.

Having applied extensively the SESERV tussle analysis methodology into several projects during the previous 2 years, we have gained significant experience that we would like to share with the Future Internet Socio-Economics community. The Tussle Analysis cookbook, which can be found here, answers two important questions:
  1. Why use Tussle Analysis in the first place?
  2. How to perform the Tussle Analysis methodology when designing an Internet technology (such as a protocol, application, system)?
The answer to the first question describes the pros and cons of Tussle Analysis, for a wide set of Internet stakeholders.
SESERV believes that analyzing the anticipated tussles can help in better understanding major stakeholders' incentives. Furthermore, by following Clark's design principles, developers can tackle with conflicting incentives and increase their chances for building a long-term successful technology. However, it is true that taking into consideration the important socio-economic aspects of a technology can increase developers’ cost significantly. The main argument comes from Clark again; “fear and greed”. Developers compete with each other and thus will have the incentive to adopt tools and methodologies that make their technologies more attractive. In a similar line of thought, tussle analysis can be used as a strategic instrument for standardization bodies, research funding agencies and policy makers when selecting on which technologies to focus standardization efforts on, or to be funded (giving incentives to technology makers to deal with the most critical functions).

The second question explains the steps of the proposed methodology, providing methods and tools suitable for each step as well as taxonomies that can act as a starting point. Furthermore, the methodology is applied to a case study from a FP7 European research project, called ULOOP.

A Few Days Left to Propose Sessions for FIA Dublin 8-10 May 2013

posted 17 Jan 2013, 01:27 by Michael Boniface

The next FIA will take place in Dublin, Ireland, on 8-10 May 2013. The FIA Steering Committee launches an open call for the 12 FIA working sessions. The deadline for submission of working session proposals is 20th January 2013. Please follow the undefinedinstructionsor go directly to the site, which has been made available to mediate the collection of working session proposals. More information concerning the overall conference is being published at the dedicated pages for undefinedFIA Dublin.

SESERV Assessed Successful by European Commission

posted 3 Dec 2012, 02:36 by Patrick Poullie   [ updated 3 Dec 2012, 02:38 ]

After two years of effectively fertilizing the communication between specialists from diverse disciplines, that share an interest in the Future Internet, the SESERV project has been credited for this valuable contribution in that it was assessed as successful by the European Commission during its final project review. Although this officially ends the working period of SESERV, the insights into the socio-economics of the Future Internet and the stimulation and thereby densification of highly interdisciplinary liaisons throughout the Future Internet community, motivate project partners to partially continue their efforts. You are very welcome to become part of this post project community work.

Using Focus Groups and Tussle Analysis Methodology for Understanding Socio-Economic Aspects of the Future Internet

posted 14 Nov 2012, 01:05 by Costas Kalogiros   [ updated 1 Dec 2012, 01:45 ]

This whitepaper summarises the general approach as adopted by WP2 and WP3 in organising andanalysing focus group discussions on a range of socio-economic topics. Specific conclusions from the various groups are reported in individual, targeted documents (D2.2 and D3.2). Furthermore, the SESERV framework (called Tussle Analysis) is described and demonstrated, which helps technology developers and policy makers to understand the complex interplay of technology and economics in the Internet.

The rationale behind running focus groups as opposed to any other method arose from the observation at the SESERV Oxford workshop that there was an urgent need to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to discussion. Focus groups are specifically geared towards an examination of how ideas and concepts develop in a given context. A focus group approach was an ideal method to encourage such cross-disciplinary discussion.

As described in the preceding sections, the focus group methodology found in the literature was reviewed and either applied directly to the SESERV focus groups, or modified in some small detail as outlined to suit the topics and group composition available to SESERV. WP2, focusing on economic issues, adopted a structured approach, seeding discussion on the basis of a Challenge 1 project presentation to describe one possible solution to the specific issues under debate. WP3 by contrast used a less formal approach, using the occasional question to spark off discussion. In both cases, conversations were lively and generated a significant set of concepts and ideas which would be worthwhile pursuing and which are developed in the corresponding deliverables in the respective work packages.

The Tussle Analysis framework is composed of a methodology for evaluating Internet technologies (called “tussle analysis”) and a set of taxonomies. The latter include:

a)  An extensive taxonomy of Internet functionalities, which covers both aspects of how services are being hosted (cloud-related functionalities) and their actual delivery (network-related functionalities).

b)     A generic classification of Internet stakeholder into seven high-level stakeholder roles, where each one is further decomposed into more detailed instances.

This methodology encourages and guides technology developers in identifying the stakeholders of the technologies under development/investigation, their interests and assessing whether these would be met with a particular implementation of each such technology. The idea is that designing a technology in a more holistic way, by taking into account the interests of major stakeholders early in the process, would lead to more sustainable socio-economic outcomes and increase the chances of that technology being adopted in the long-term. The outcomes of all bilateral discussions, wider focus groups and meetings resulted in a set of 6 economic SESERV recommendations to research projects, providers and policy makers for successfully redesigning and configuring Future Internet technologies. These are:

1.     Technology makers should understand major stakeholders' interests.

2.     Technology makers should be neutral.

3.     Technology makers should explore consequences and dependencies on complementary technologies.

4.     Technology makers and Providers should align conflicting interests through incentive mechanisms.

5.     Technology makers should increase transparency.

6.     Policy makers should encourage knowledge exchange and joint commitments.

The project also had a set of 22 social SESERV recommendations, detailed above, which fall into six broad categories:

1.     Research Project Design / Project Development

2.     Users/Participants Experiences and Perspectives

3.     Internet Data

4.     Regulation and Public Policy

5.     Transparency and Trust

6.     Citizenship, Awareness, and Education


Look Who's Talking!

posted 7 Nov 2012, 07:20 by Brian Pickering

One effective way of bringing stakeholders together was using a focus group methodology. As an approach, it has been used many times, especially in the social sciences, to explore ideas and their formation about topics ranging from proposed new brands (marketing) to personal and sexual health (in nursing and paramedical social care). As adopted by SESERV during the second year of the project to explore both economic issues around network services and resource provision as well as more generic societal and socio-economic concerns like user-centricity and the need to involve all stakeholders, the methodology as described in the literature suggested we needed to think carefully about the following issues: 

* the adaptability of the method (flexibility): could it be used for our purposes?

* venue: where should we host the groups?

* participants: who could we get to take part?

* dominant voice: would anyone try to take over and control the discussion?

* thematic focus/seeding: would it help to set the scene?

* recruitment: how would we get participants?

This post briefly summarises the way we implemented focus groups; all issues and considerations are discussed in detail in [D1.5]. Topic selection was reported in elsewhereOur experience can be summarised as follows:
  • Flexibility the overall methodology lends itself well to adaptation. It is based on a guided discussion amongst a number of participants with more or less control exerted by any facilitator. The WP2 (economic) focus groups involved more explicit stakeholder role-assignment and thematic seeding than those (societally focused) in WP3.
  • Venue we took advantage of other related events, organised by SESERV, the FIA or other external bodies. This provided access to potential participants who were by definition interested; and to a setting familiar to them (being part of the umbrella event). 
  • Participation as above, exploiting a related event meant that participants would more likely be knowledgeable and motivated in the area. After all, they had chosen to attend the umbrella event. 
  • Dominant voice this is a recognised issue in focus groups or indeed any group discussions. The facilitators in the SESERV focus groups were asked to look out for this, and take whatever action may be necessary to manage the problem. It turned out that this was not so much of an issue: perhaps because all participants were equally motivated and knowledgeable, as well as knowing each other in many cases professionally.
  • Thematic seeding/focusing again, delegates at the umbrella events would be expected to be knowledgeable and experienced in the areas under discussion. In each case, there was a formal (WP2 introduced sessions with a technical project presentation) and informal (WP3) scene-setting to help bound the discussion.
  • Recruitment within the constraints of other project and professional commitments, the channel for recruitment was obvious in connection with the umbrella event. A balance did need to be struck though: sometimes delegates were leaving straight after an event and could not spare the time; at other times, other ad hoc project meetings might interfere. WP2 did make an attempt to mitigate these factors to some degree by assigning stakeholder roles that the participants would recognise if not typically represent.

The overall experience with the methodology was very positive and allowed us to explore the issues highlighted in the first year, especially at Oxford, and move forward to make the recommendations we have in the various deliverables [D2.2D3.2]. By way of conclusion, SESERV was flexible in its approach to focus group methodology: we were dealing with motivated participants who had significant experience and interest in what we were discussing, but who were time- and resource-constrained; we chose to exploit associated events organised by FIA and the like, as well as the second workshop we organised, since this meant participants would be on site and more likely to attend. Nonetheless, recruitment proved the main challenge. Ultimately, this led to a one shot approach: whereas focus groups are often repeated with the same or different participants, reconvening with the same participants was avoided for pragmatic reasons. 

The focus groups turned out to be very successful though in moving the FISE Conversation forward.

FLAMINGO - EU NoE on "Management of the Future Internet"

posted 5 Nov 2012, 07:13 by Patrick Poullie

The new NoE FLAMINGO started on Nov 1, 2012 and integrates the research of leading European research groups in the area of network and service management, including their economic, legal, and regulatory aspects, to strengthen the European and worldwide research in this area and to bridge the gap between scientific research and industrial application.

To achieve these goals FLAMINGO performs a broad range of activities, such as the development of open source software, the establishment of joint labs, the exchange of researchers as well as jointly supervised Ph.D. students, the development of educational and training material, and the interaction with academia and industry to organize events and to contribute to (IETF, IRTF, and ITU-T) standardization.

UZH will be a NoE partner and leader of WP7 on "Economic, Legal, and Regulative Constraints", thus, in a great position to leverage SESERV results and outcomes in those domains.

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