Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lisbon, at Nova University

Visiting Lisbon at times of financial crisis - well it looked like the "last" visited the one before the end.  But Lisbon   was a pleasure both from the artistic and sociological side of things.  As a city lying in two coasts, it kept being interesting and innovative while also easy to find your way within, apart from one issue: the crossing of the bridges to get from one side of Tago river to the opposite.

The impressive Vasca de Gama bridge, at left, with a length exceeding 15 Km over the river must have been an engineering challenge, when built a few years ago.

Visiting Nova University Lisbon and especially the UNINOVA research centre within FCT (Technical Sciences Faculty) was also a pleasure, joining together NTUA, CNR, Intrasoft International and Uninova teams to work on Interoperablity Scientific Approaches and Future Internet Researcch Roadmapping.

At Nova University Lisbon with friends and colleagues from Italy, Greece, Portugal

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AEGEAN Startups - A Greek startups competition

The final phase of the first National eBusiness Entrepreneurship Competition - AEGEAN Startups - was held in Karlovasi, Samos, on 5th and 6th November 2011. The final phase involved the presentation of 9 proposals that were selected from a total of 35 originally submitted. The presentation of proposals and the final selection and award of the teams were held at the Ceremonial Hall of the Municipality of Samos, in Karlovassi.

The three proposals that were selected at the final stage and will be awarded with 15,000 euros each, are:

Empires At War 1805
An original, international online strategy game

Parking Defenders
Application for sharing public parking space via mobile devices

Personalization-as-a-service, Infolytics
Consumer Behaviour analysis and recommendation system  

The Agean Startups Finalists in Karlovassi, Samos

The Aegean Startups competition is co-organised by the University of Aegean, the Athens University of Economics and Business and the National Technical University of Athens, under the exclusive sponsorship of TANEO fund.

The PADGETS project: Google engagement in Social Media based policy campaigns

It was a great pleasure to have a plenary meeting of the PADGETS research project at Google premises in Zurich, Switzerland. The PADGETS project develops a revolutionary platform for politicians and policy makers, allowing them to publish information, interact with citizens, monitor and analyse citizen opinion.

The padgets project is being implemented by a consortium of leading research centres (University of the Aegean, National Technical University of Athens, Fraunhofer FOKUS, ISMB, University Regensburg)  enterprises (Google, Whitehall Srl, ATC SA, Tech4i2) and administrations from Greece, Italy and Slovenia.

The PADGETS team at Google Zurich

Within the project, several new technologies are for the first time combined, tested and optimised in the electronic governace context, incuding:

  • Web and Mobile Dashboards for implementing policy campaigns on-line, allowing for automatic communication with multiple Social Media platforms
  • Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis of citizen interactions in blogs and social media, such as facebook, twitter, youtube. 
  • Modelling and Simulation of citizen awareness, interest or involvement in public policy
  • Visualisation of policy discussions, citizen interaction and trending.
PADGETS project includes one of the first applications of Google Chart Tools in policy visualisation.

Left: visualising tweets concernign a specific policy campaign using Google Map gadget.

Right: visualising different group interactions in Facebook, on a specific subject

A new book from IGI Global on social and semantic web. The PADGETS project presented

A new book has recently been published by IGI Global, in the area of customer relationship managent (CRM).  Titled "Customer Relationship Management and the Social and Semantic Web: Enabling Cliens Conexus" the book provides an overview of the field of the Semantic Web, the social Web, and CRM through a careful collection of various research studies from different subfields.

Edited by Ricardo Colomo-Palacios (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain), João Varajão (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal) and Pedro Soto-Acosta (University of Murcia, Spain), the book provides a forum for the exchange of research ideas and practices, while being a reference point for professionals, managers, and researchers in the CRM, ICT and management fields.  The book also aims to explore the opportunities and challenges for organizations in the light of citizens having augmented presence in Web 2.0, by utilising new technologies, including those of the semantic web. 

Within this framework, together with colleagues from University of Aegean and Fraunhofer FOKUS, we present the recent developments and propositions for utilisation of Social Media within the governance context.  Our chapter "Systematically Exploiting Web 2.0 Social Media in Government for Extending Communication with Citizens" presents the perspective and offerings of the PADGETS project - an innovative attempt to combine Social Media, Text Analytics and Simulation in collaborative public policy making.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

An Interview on Interoperability Standards and Digital Agenda 2020

It was a great pleasure to have a film-making team from the oncoming Danish EU presidency, in the Greek Interoperability Centre premises at NTUA, to record a small interview on interoperability and standardisation issues of the EU Digital Agenda.

The interview revolved around ICT standardisation in the Public Sector and respectice challenges for the ICT industry, especially SME's, touching upon:

- The need for timely evolution and adoption of ICT standards by the public sector
- The innovative nature of ICT SME's and how they can be of use to a legacy-based public sector
- The evolving standardisation at EU and National levels.

The final edited video clip will be available in a couple of months.

With Rasmus (director) and Ralf (cameraman) at the GIC premises

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Book on Organisation Interoperability from Springer

I had the pleasure to read the newly published Springer book on "Organisational Interoperability in e-Government", by esteemed colleagues Herbert Kubicek, Ralf Cimander and Hans Jochen Scholl.

This authored book contains draws many important practices from the MODINIS study on eGovernment Interoperability, giving a plethora of ideas and methods pm how to tackle organisational and operational issues in the public sector, with the use of interoperable systems and services.  The book is a well written, coprehensive approach to classify critical shortcomings and respective succesful solution paths, delivering real value to the reader.  Excellent for public policy makers, e-government consultants and innovative researchers, this is also a worthy companion in the university class, especially at post-graduate lessons on information systems.

Not least, the book provides a carefully made selection of the core references in this domain  - I was happy to see our work on National Interoperability Frameworks and Interoperability Science Base, among cited methods and guidelines of almost 20 well known e-Government scientists.

A must read for the period.

Find more on the book here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Greek Tax Offices productivity visualisation

Tax offices productivity in Greece during summer 2011: Aegean Islands productivity rises during summer

Continuing the visualisation of Greek Tax Offices productivity a new map is provided below, depicting the number of cases handled during the summer period. Each spot indicates the percentage of cases processed  by the tax office of the specific location in the interval between June and September of 2011, in relation with the total pending ones in the beginning of summer.

Three different colors displayed on the map represent the three levels of completion:
  • Red (153 Tax Offices): minimum productivity (less than 20% of open cases were processed within summer). 
  • Yellow (111 Tax Offices) : medium productivity (between 20% and 40%) 
  • Green (23 Tax Offices): higher productivity (more than 40% of all open cases)

The visualisation shows that certain touristic destinations (e.g. Aegean Islands or Crete) tend to be more productive during summer period.  See the before summer status here.

The global average for the efficiency of Tax Offices in the summer period is 22% in terms of completion of cases. What is remarkable is that there are still tax offices that have not resolved a single case since the beginning of the year. The last update of data taken into consideration was published by the Ministry of Finance / General Secretary of Information Systems (http://www.gsis.gr/doyaudit/) on September 30, 2011.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The EU Digital Agenda discussion on Interoperability, Cloud and eID

My colleague David Osimo asked me, an assistant professor of eGovernance Systems in Aegean University, in Samos, to moderate an on-line discussion on Digital Agenda 2020 issues around Interoperability, Cloud and eID. This on-line group of experts and citizens will produce a  report on findings and actions proposed, including on-line contributions.

When I accepted the task, the first suggestion was to list a few sources of relevant background material and gather some existing on-line discussion forums.

So here we are:

Area I : Online material

Area 2: On-line forums and communities

 Also, check some more interoperability and cloud related sites: http://bit.ly/oE1S65 

Area 3: On-line discussion initiation
By looking at the main topics of the online discussion, we could depict Interoperablity (as a framework) and
e-Invoicing (as a specific interoperability and organisational challenge for enterprises). A classification of topics would yield:

- standards
- frameworks
- national status
- approaches for eBus and eGov
- Break-through approaches

e - invoicing
status, barriers,technical implementations
- feedback form practice
- Break-through ideas

Then, on a more national level at local events in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, the discussion will evolve around cloud, eID and internet of things, to be integrated at a later stage:
  • e - Identity (frameworks, technical implementations, barriers, best practices)
  • Cloud Computing (typology, status for public, private and hybrid, PaaS-SaaS orientation, cloud interoperability)
  • Internet of things (standards, status of adoption, outlook)
It is easy to join the discussions at: http://linkd.in/n1rdIP 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greek - Ukrainian delegation meeting on FP7 Research

A meeting of a Greek and Ukrainan delegation on research and development projects and initiatives was held on  9th September 2011, at NTUA premises in Athens.  Several Ukrainian State University and the Ukrainian Academy of Science were represented in this high-level meeting.

Projects presented in detail include:

- The PADGETS FP7 project on social-media based policy making

- The ENGAGE eInfrastructures project on Open Data

- The Greek National Interoperability Framework and the initiatives of the Greek Interoperability Centre

The two delegations agreed to proceed in strengthening the scientific collaboration between Greece and Ukraine in the areas of ICT, electronic Government and Interoperability.

View of the Greek - Ukrainian delegations meeting

Monday, September 12, 2011

Call for Papers: Special Issue on eParticipation - ISM Journal (ISI)

An ISI-Indexed Journal / Taylor & Francis Group

Special Issue on:
European Research on Electronic Citizen Participation and Engagement in Public Policy Making

Guest  Editors

Euripidis Loukis
Assistant Professor
University of the Aegean
email: eloukis@aegean.gr
Yannis Charalabidis
Assistant Professor
University of the Aegean
email: yannisx@aegean.gr
Jeremy Millard
Senior Consultant
Danish Technological Institute
email: jrm@teknologisk.dk

Aims and Scope
The rapid development and the growing penetration of digital technologies provide rich opportunities for more extensive participation and engagement of citizens in public policy and decision making and in general for increasing the influence of society on government. They offer possibilities for strengthening political deliberation and establishing new participatory models of governance through electronic means which reduce existing limitations associated with time, location, cost and physical presence.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential to support the provision of information concerning government activities, decisions and public policies, and also to increase both the quantity and quality of consultation with the citizens. Also, ICT has the potential to support both top-down government initiatives and ground-up civil society ones, both aiming at enhancing public participation in the decision processes and improving interaction between society and government. ICT enable the collection of huge amounts of citizens’ knowledge on the problems and needs that public policies attempt to address, and on proposed courses of government action and legislation. At the same time ICT also enable the exploitation of this knowledge for the assessment of the impact of various policy options on society, so that governments can make better and more informed decisions.
However, it is necessary investigate to what extent this potential is actually exploited, what is the impact of the existing exploitation, and which contextual factors affect positively or negatively this impact. Furthermore, it is important to discover new ways of exploiting this huge potential and using ICT for increasing citizens’ participation and engagement in public policy making, and to proceed to pilot applications of them in ‘real-life’ cases and conditions in order to assess their value, and if necessary improve and optimize them.
Especially in Europe, due to its long tradition of social state characterized by strong interaction with the society and intervention in order to secure social welfare and support of weak groups (European Social Model), there is a strong interest in the above ideas. For this reason in the last ten years there has been extensive financial support by several institutions, such as the European Commission and the National and Local Governments, of research in this domain of ICT-supported/mediated citizen participation and engagement in public policy making for investigating the above research questions. It is quite interesting to reflect on the results and conclusions of this research, and attempt to exploit them both in Europe and in other parts of the world, probably with adaptations to local histories and political traditions.    
This Special Issue of ‘Information Systems Management’ solicits original high quality papers presenting this ‘European Research on Electronic Citizen Participation and Engagement in Public Policy Making’. Topics of interest in this area include, but are not limited to:

            Innovative forms of ICT use for supporting and enhancing citizens’ participation
            Advanced systems for structured high quality deliberation
            Social media platforms and their applications for supporting citizens’ participation
            Textual analysis technologies, ontologies and taxonomies
            Opinion mining and sentiment analysis
            Data and argument visualization technologies
            Federated content syndication systems for public participation
            Trend monitoring and policy analysis
            Policy modeling and impact assessment
            Data-powered collective intelligence and action
            Studying the impact and the overall value proposition of e-Participation
      Methods for the evaluation of e-Participation      
      Serious Games, simulation and virtual worlds for supporting policy making
            Case studies from e-Participation and e-Consultation
      Theoretical aspects towards a scientific base for ICT enabled Governance

Authors are invited to prepare original manuscripts of around 7500 words, exclusive of exhibits, according to the ‘Instructions for Authors’ web-page of the Journal:
At the end of each paper should be placed short biographical notes for all the authors, and also address for correspondence and e-mail address for the corresponding author.
Papers should be written in grammatically correct and coherent English. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All papers will be refereed through a peer review process. All submissions must provide:
- an abstract (max of 75 words)
- at least 3 keywords
- full author names and affiliations
- brief author bios
- an email address for the corresponding author
Prospective authors are welcome to submit an abstract to the Guest Editors for preliminary feedback on the appropriateness of their planned manuscript.
Send your manuscript to the corresponding Guest Editor, Prof. Euripidis N. Loukis (eloukis@aegean.gr)

            Submission deadline: November 15, 2011
            Completion of first review: January 15, 2012
            Revisions deadline: March 15, 2011
            Camera-ready deadline: April 15, 2012
            Tentative publication: Fall 2012

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

At the International eGOV IFIP Conference in Delft, 29 Aug - 02 Sep 2011

The AULA Conference Centre at TU Delft
The International eGovernment Conference (IFIP eGOV) took place in pleasant Delft, between Monday 29/8 and Friday 2/9, 2011.

Hosted in the main Conference Hall  (Aula Building) of the spacious TU Delft campus, the conference attracted almost 200 participants from academia, policy and industry. Main topics of the discussions for more than three days have been Open Data, Policy Modelling, Social Media applications in governance, electronic participation and more theoretical stuff in evaluation and assessment of e-governance status.

With Nitesh Barosa, at TU Delft - TPM Buildings
We had the chance to host the first Workshop on Open Data, opening the programme on Monday morning 09:00, with 30 participants.  A few hours after, I had the chance to visit the Technology - Policy - Management Group, whereour collaborating team from TU Delft is based, including Marijn Janssen, Nitesh Barosa, Anne-Fleur van Veenstra and more.

Visiting TU Delft even so early in the semester was a nice inspiration - seeing how students work and relax in a nice surrounding. The town has also been a nice pair to the conference site: easy, small enough to walk all over, full of bicycles and low buildings.

Maybe ideal for studying and teaching in Europe, I think.

Work and coffee, at Technology Policy and  Management building 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Workshop on Open Data in the IFIP eGOV Conference

10th International IFIP eGOV Conference 
The ENGAGE Workshop on Open Data 
Monday 29th August, 09:00 - 13:00
Delft, The Netherlands

Open Governmental Data - From Governments to Science and Society: The ENGAGE project 

More than 30 high level eGovernance, ICT and Policy Experts participated in the ENGAGE Open Data Workshop in Delft, the Netherlands. Open data has been recognized as a strategic tool for Governments all over the world, in their efforts to increase citizen trust, engagement and collaborative action. Despite its significance and the political support at EU level, many challenges remain open for member states, in their effort to provide on-line services for the discovery and use of public sector datasets, especially towards scientists of non-ICT domains.

The workshop focused on discussing the scientific base of ICT-enabled governance for open data, thus harnessing open data sources and methodologies for annotating, visualising and making open data available to scientists and citizens. Participants will present innovative approaches and provide their view on open data, including value-adding examples and best practices. 

The ENGAGE project
The main goal of the ENGAGE project (ENGAGE, 2011) is the deployment and use of an advanced service infrastructure, incorporating distributed and diverse public sector information resources as well as data curation, semantic annotation and visualisation tools, capable of supporting scientific collaboration and governance-related research from multi-disciplinary scientific communities, while also empowering the deployment of open governmental data towards citizens.

The main topics of the workshop were structured around the state of the art, the visionary scenarios, the research gaps and the future research challenges in the area of ICT for governance and public sector’s open data. The following presentations inspired constructive dialogue:
  • Yannis Charalabidis, University of Aegean & Marijn Janssen, Delft University of Technology: “Open Data Sources, Resources, Annotation Mechanisms and On-line Services Outlook from the ENGAGE project” 
  • Timo Wandhoefer & Mark Thamm, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences: “Public Politician Profiles on Facebook and the gap of Authenticity: WeGov interview results with the German Bundestag” 
  • Sicco Verwer, Susan van den Braak & Sunil Choenni, Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice: “Sharing data using multiple imputation” 
  • Nils Barnickel, Matthias Flügge, Jens Klessmann, Fraunhofer FOKUS:"Provision of public sector information at the local level. Practical experiences from the State of Berlin” 
The second half of the workshop was dedicated to gahering ideas from the audience on open data sources and curation.  The following usage scenaria were deliberated with the workshop audience:

ENGAGE Usage Scenario
Storing or linking (making accessible), Annotating and Visualising a PS data set
Public Servant
Getting the ENGAGE metadata specifications (for applying them in my systems)
Public Servant
Getting useful information (through browsing datasets or visualisations)
Citizen, Public Servant
Getting data for my research work
Linking my system with ENGAGE, for uploading data
Public Servant
Linking my system with ENGAGE, for downloading data
Storing data in draft from (to be further curated)
Put research-oriented data and annotate them
Put my needs for Public Sector data
Citizen / Researcher

Finally more than 15 key challenges and research objectives for Open Data and Linked Data were collected and prioritised.

A view from the audience at the ENGAGE Open Data Workshop 

Workshop Chairs
Yannis Charalabidis, University of Aegean, Greece, yannisx@aegean.gr
Sunil Choenni, Ministry of Justice, the Netherlands, r.choenni@minjus.nl
Marijn Janssen, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, m.f.w.h.a.janssen@tudelft.nl

For more information on the ENGAGE project: http://www.engage-project.eu

Join the ENGAGE group on Open Data, in Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ENGAGE-eInfrastructures-Project-3867416

More information on the egov IFIP Conference: http://www.egov-conference.org/egov-2011/programme/programme-overview

Monday, August 29, 2011

What if Google search was running on humans ?

When discussing process automation with public sector officials and practitioners, I always stress that importance of solving semantic interoperability issues: this will allow services to be executed at machine time (milli-seconds) than at human time (hours or even days).  This way, your new building permit might be issued (or rejected) within a couple of seconds.  

But sometimes the message does not go through: people tend to take everything achieved as granted - not realising the difference that technology brought, in some cases. So, I had to devise this simple benchmark: 

What if Google search was running on humans ? 
Let's tackle this small problem in five steps:

1. How many sites do exist ?
According to the Netcraft January 2011 Web Server Survey, there are globally almost 300 million hostnames and almost 100 million active web sites.

2. How many web pages exist ?
According to a comparison between Yahoo indexed web pages and Netcraft reports in 2005, there were globally around 270 pages per web site (active or not). That index would give a total of 270 X 300 mio = 81 billion web pages. According to a report by Google in late 2008, there were almost 1 trillion web pages indexed by Google at that time, including a big percentage of duplicates or automaticly generated pages, that could amount to even 90%, yielding less than 100 billion web pages.  According to http://www.worldwidewebsize.com/ a search algorithm returns approximately 50 billion web pages, indexed by Google, Bing and Yahoo.  As the above three three estimations are of the same "order", we will adopt the smallest number: appr. 50 billion web pages exist. 

3. How many person hours would be needed for one (manual) search ?
If we suppose that we could have an infrastructure able to distribute web pages to humans, in order to search for a specific word, we estimate 10 seconds to judge if a specific word is contained in each page.  Not much you might say (try to locate a specific word in 10 pages and you will see the issue).  However, we need 500 billion person - seconds to complete one search over the total 50 billion pages.  So, if you need the answer within 10 seconds (the best this system can do) you still need 50 billion humans to complete one search in 10 seconds.  And this does not even have ranking ...

4. So ?
According to a 2010 report by Search Engine Land, Google caters for 34,000 searches per second (or appr. 3 billion searches per day). So, every 10 seconds, we need to cater for almost 340,000 searches, yielding a total number of needed humans to 50 bil X 340,000 = 17,000,000,000,000,000.  As this number is quite big, we divide by the population of earth (6,9 billion people), and we reach a conclusion:

If Google Search ran on human power, we would need almost 2,5 million times the global earth population (or 17 quadrillion people) to reach an average response time of 10 seconds.        

Think again before saying that "we do not need machines" in the public sector ...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MIT Sloan Management experiences shared at NTUA

Post-doc researcher Dimitris Ptochos, shared some experience from attending a two-year executive management course at MIT - Sloan Management School.  In the picture below, Dimitris shares his experience with NTUA DSS Lab researchers and staff.

Main points of the discussion and leasons learned:  specialisation, professionalism, market orientation, global coverage, american standards, european and asian students, extremely high costs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Deliberation of the Greek “Ontology for Reorganisation of the State”, July 21, 2011

More than 30 experts from Greek Public Sector organisations, ICT industries and research laboratories joined the public deliberation on the Greek Governance Transformation Ontology.   The presentation and discussion was held in National Technical University of Athens, which together with ITMC Consulting  are implementing the project “Taxonomies for the Reorganisation of State, on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Administration Reform and Electronic Governance.

Yannis Charalambous from ITMC, and the administrative manager of the above project presented the overall scope and objectives, focusing at the ontology methodology and proposed management processes. Yannis Charalabidis, Assistant Professor at University of Aegean and scientific manager of the Taxonomies project on behalf of NTUA/ICCS gave a full view of the ontology, which includes more than 300 classes and 700 definitions.  
Specific attendance was given to the proposed codelists which cover a part of Greek Public sector, coming from different actors including the Greek Ministry of Finance,  the Greek Statistics Office, the Ministry of Administration Reform and Electronic Governance.  The need for further standardization and promotion of codelists for the public sector was emphasized.

In an one-hour workshop session, participants contributed useful innovative ideas on issues of the ontology, the governing processes and the next needed steps in scientific and governmental collaboration.

View of the audience at NTUA

Find the presentation on the ontology here:  http://bit.ly/ndvnDr

AEGEAN Startups 2011

Aegean Startups is the 1st Panhellenic Competition on e-Entrepreneurship, giving the opportunity to Greek citizens and students to get initial financing for their business plans.  Organised by the University of Aegean / Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering in Samos, with the exclusive financial support of TANEO New Economy Fund the competition takes place in September and October 2011.

After a written competition and final live presentation in front of the Aegean Startups Scientific Committee, 3 winning teams will each be funded with 15,000 EUR for realizing their business idea.  The funding is provided as a prize, not in exchange of company shares or other contribution by the enterprise.

The Aegean Startups 2011 organisation is supported by National Technical University of Athens, Athens University of Economic and Business, Microsoft Innovation Centre Greece and VirtualTrip group.

More information on the terms of the Aegean Startups 2011 Competition at: http://aegean-startups.blogspot.com

The Samos 2011 Summit on Future Internet, 4-7 July 2011

More than 80 high-level ICT experts and decision makers from 20 countries participate in the international Samos 2011 Summit on “Future Internet: The Power to Change Society”, that takes place from 4th -6th July 2011 in the island of Samos. The Samos Summit is being held with the support of the European Commission – DG Information Society and Media and is co-organised by the University of Aegean, the Greek Interoperability Centre of the National Technical University of Athens and the ENSEMBLE FP7 project – a supportive action to the EC Future Internet Enterprise Systems (FInES) Cluster. The Samos Summit is supported by research and development centres of Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intrasoft International, Engineering, Whitehall Reply and Athens Technology Centre. 

Mr. Bernard Barani, representative of the European Commission, Directorate - General for Information Society & Media and a keynote speaker at the Summit, outlined the current status of Future Internet Enterprise Systems research as well as the preparation for the next research period and the HORIZON 2020 programme, spanning over 2013 to 2020.

Professor Socratis Katsikas, Greek State General Secretary of Telecommunications, made an intervention on «The Greek Digital Agenda in times of crisis: How next generation networks can change the landscape», presenting the planned actions and the envisaged impact for telecommunication infrastructures and digital services. 

Samos Summit participants at the Karlovassi Town Hall
(Uni Aegean students - dancers in the front)

Yannis Charalabidis, Assistant Professor at the University of the Aegean in the Department of Information and Communication Systems, located in Karlovasi, and chair of the Samos Summit, commented on this high-level meeting: “We are particularly pleased that Samos will for a few days be at the centre of developments for the Future Internet and its applications for enterprises, governments and citizens, internationally. In the framework of the Samos Summit, important statements and presentations are being made from leading enterprises, research centres and collaborative ICT projects. The contribution of Greek scientists, researchers and enterprises will be essential in this sector but also reciprocal for society, towards open and effective governance.”

More information about the Samos 2011 Summit, including photos, videos and all the presentations of the event, at: http://samos-summit.blogspot.com

Metteg Gonference in Camerino, June 30 2011

It was on June 30 and July 1st 2011 that the 5th International Conference on Methodologies, Technologies and Tools enabling e-Government took place in lovely Camerino, Marche Region, Italy.  Being almost 100 km from Ancona Airport, Camerino is a place that really worths the extra effort to getting there.  Peaceful but energetic, beautiful enough but getting better, this post-medieval village provided the place for one of the oldest Universities in Italy. Within the computer science faculty of Camerino University is where MetteG gets its resources for this year.

Invited for the Opening Keynote speech on the Future Research areas of Electronic Governance, I spent some lovely hours at the …. Hotel, right at the top of a neighboring hill.  The conference was a gathering of not too many but dedicated researchers from Europe, providing a very nice ground for discussing new opportunities in the domain of ICT-enabled Governance.

With Barbara Re, the heart of the 2011 MetteG organization and fellows from Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Sweden

See my presentation on the Future Research Areas in ICT-enabled Governance here: http://slidesha.re/keuKki

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Future Internet Enterprise Systems Hype Curve

This is the Future Internet Enterprise Systems Hype Curve, depicting the main technologies and offerings for enterprises for the next years, from inflated expectations to disillusionment, to productivity.

The Future Internet Enterprise Systems Technologies Hype Curve
(as presented in the Samos Summit on Future Internet, on July 4th 2011)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

eGov Technologies Hype Curve

This visualisation is stemming from the work of the CROSSROAD project on eGovernance Research Roadmap, with additions from recent developments and tries to show the status of various ICT-enabled Government technologies and applications in a Gartner-like methodology of hype curve. I have included most developments, research areas and even ideas around the 3 Grand Challenges for ICT-enabled Governance.  

The eGovernance Hype Curve, by Yannis Charalabidis 
(as presented in the MetteG Conference, 30th June 2011,Camerino,Italy)

You may find more info on the CROSSROAD project at: http://www.crossroad-eu.net
Find more on Hype Curve / Cycle methodology at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle

You may also provide comments or new areas below.   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Web 2.0 in Education - 10 Ways to make the "cloud" work for you

As students and professors get more acquainted with Web 2.0 and collaborative tools, a new set of possibilities is arising that can change provided education for the better.  The "cloud" is currently offering myriads of opportunities for enhancing collaboration, providing instant information flow and promoting student creativity.

So, if you think it is about time to go beyond the "powerpoint/projector - email - university web site" era, here is my top-10 list of advice for university teachers and students:

1. Create a Linked-in Group for each of your lessons and have students enroll
This group can act as the main "meeting point" for students and professors.  Being much more instant than any of the standard university systems, this group can be used for announcements, discussions, comments on the lessons, assignment of work, etc.  Through the profile photos you will now be able to recognise each of your students in the class. Semester by semester and year by year, this group will gather together old and new students, nicely blending alumni and rookies.  I personally prefer LinkedIn to Facebook, as the latter usually is used by students for informal, personal communications.

2. Use Twitter  for instant messaging and organising external information
Twitter can be extremely fast in sharing information on external events, such as relevant conferences, student competitions or lectures. While away from the class, this will give you the opportunity to your students to follow on your activities and find relevant projects or publications to enroll at. Twitter can also help you in effectively propagating last-minute changes in lesson plans. Agreeing on a few #hashtags for your lesson will give you the opportunity to quickly organise information. Then, have your students create one or more Paper.li weekly papers on the subject of the lesson, just by managing twitter lists.

3. Use and promote the use of Cloud storage
As information to be passed towards the students (slidesets, additional material, photos and video) and by the students (essays, additional work, lesson projects results) may amount to several gigabytes, find a place to easily upload and download big files that cannot be send via email.  In Greece, Pithos Storage System provides   50 GB storage for every professor or student (thanks, GRNET). If you do not have something like that, you may still use free services such as Rapishare, Sendspace,  Filehosting or other.

4. Use the power of Blogs and RSS for channeling relevant information to students
As you cannot create so much up-to-date content for your students, try to leverage on the created relevant knowledge by others: for every of your lessons find a handful of relevant, serious blogs and link them through RSS to the Linked-in group of the lesson.  This way, your students will get up-to-date information that will give them new ideas, questions and answers.  Do not overdo: a couple of good, to the point blogs and forums can do the job of providing fresh info.

5. Create a lesson blog and encourage students to write 
This is a real "web 2.0" treatment to your students.  Learn and show them how to create a blog in 5 minutes, through Blogspot or WordPress.  Then, make a blog for your lesson and encourage students to write their own articles, reporting their lesson achievements (small prototypes, essays, papers).  This will immediately change their attitude towards being active creators of knowledge and not mere listeners.

6. Go beyond words: Photographs and Video can do the difference
The well-known blackboard (or whiteboard) can be unbeatable for sketching new examples, answering student questions and discussing them. However, important information can be erased for ever when cleaning the board.  Before you do that, take a picture and post it through Twitter (I use my smartphone for that).  Be careful not to discourage students taking notes: some people only learn through writing.  A nice next step is to use a small videocamera with a tiny tripod to video (all ?) your lectures.  Then you can upload the videos in the cloud storage and voila: your students can view them at any time, before exams.
7. Virtual classes through remote meeting: be there any time
As life becomes more complicated, tele-working and e-education is rapidly becoming a trend.  Without being yet an 100% alternative of actual presence in the class (we need some more Virtual Reality features for that), using tools like Skype can provide a good alternative.  Then, for the "real thing", you have to use a more sophisticated service such as GoToMeeting or LiveMeeting, that will allow you to have 50 students connected via internet in a virtual class, listening to you, speaking, sharing your screen or their screens, chatting in parallel and getting the lesson recorded, while being at home or at any campus spot.  In a recent poll, 75% of my students preferred this lesson to the ordinary "show, speak and forget" ones.  And a hint to teachers: by browsing these lessons at the end of the semester, you can have proofs of student participation for your grades.

8. Use Google docs for promoting collaboration
This rapidly expanding set of cloud-based, collaborative editing documents can solve most of your typical problems on how to have students enroll to project teams, propose their own essay subjects, work together on a deliverable, etc.  Possibilities are unlimited, including (MS word-like) documents, spreadsheets and presentations that can be edited by hundreds of students in parallel (keeping editing rights to avoid mal-practice if needed), and also interactive forms for putting up polls or data-entry in seconds! Is you still need to send out emails, you may also use a Google Group (although the Linkedin Group will render that unnecessary)

9. Invite externals and make your lesson "open" to society
Now that you have set up the basic infrastructure of your Web 2.0 lesson, you can make use of it for the good of students: invite other professors from neighboring domains, researchers and practitioners, company engineers and even high-level executives to see and interact.  You will be amazed on how this act can turn a "boring" university lesson into a vivid interaction between the academic world and the market, if you need that.  You may even end-up with instant problem solving by experts, collaboration or job offers, continuing education for graduates or other citizens.

10. Plan, provide incentives, gradually upgrade 
If many of the above sound difficult to set-up and manage, you might be right: you need to carefully plan what you can achieve within a semester, as there is nothing worse than starting and then "let-die".  But, if you provide the right incentives to your students, you will be amazed on how much they can achieve on their own.  And then, you will have most of the work done for the next semester for your lesson, to continue optimising.

And one advice more:
Last but not least, although web 2.0 and cloud services can solve a lot of problems and provide amazing opportunities, please do not get "lost in translation": internet (at least at this point) is more of a medium than a destination.  There is no tool that can turn an indifferent, poorly educated, not loving teacher, into a successful one / or at least not for long ...