Our research considers what happens when technology starts to achieve wide scale adoption and hence impact on society, and, in turn, how society then influences technical advances and drives change back into the innovation cycle.
Many technologies that we work with have existed in labs for years, and research on advancing the technology has been carried out for some considerable time. Take for instance mixed reality gaming – my colleagues at Nottingham in the Mixed Reality Lab have been working on such technology for over fifteen years. However, this recently came to the public attention through the release of Pokémon GO, a game that achieved rapid growth because of availability and ubiquity of smartphones – and that rapid and widespread deployment raised issues of social acceptance and safety. However, even fifteen years ago, the idea that smartphones would be so widely available was science fiction for most people, so understanding back then how society at large would react was futurology, not science.
There are many technologies in the labs already that within the next ten years will be available at scale to society with the same scenario playing out – an apparently disruptive event that is underpinned by new uses of technology that has been enabled through the gradual introduction and acceptance our key platform technologies, like smartphones, into our everyday lives.
Our focus is on ongoing research to address the leading edge of this Digital Economy. We do this by working closely with a range of companies to investigate how the disruptions provide both opportunities and challenges to businesses – such work is intended to assist in driving productivity and competitiveness through the appropriate use of digital technology, and in turn support economic growth and impact.