amoveo project - work practices and the transition to ubicomp

Amoveo logo (Petri Saarikko)
Amoveo is Latin and means to move away, remove, take out, shift. The goals of the project are
  1. to study the transition of work practices in the face of ubiquitous computing automatization in three cases,
  2. to describe social and human principles characterizing these new practices and
  3. to inform the design of technology, instruction and training, and the organization of work environments.

Amoveo is a four year project (2008-2011) funded by the Academy of Finland. It is executed jointly by HIIT and VTT.

Our starting point is the notion of automation. Automation is an old concept that refers to the fact that human activity can and always is divided between human and technological elements. The “level of automation” expresses the principle of dividing responsibilities and work between these two elements. Two challenges surface in the special case of ubicomp automatization:

  1. The ubicomp evolution is not centrally planned but happens in increments built on top of each other. There is no possibility to see in advance how the work practices and the work flow will change, if not all the components of the system can be known and affected in design.
  2. Ubicomp is distributed and embedded to the physical work environment, including a myriad of activities, tools, people, norms, conventions etc. This open-endedness implies that a designer of an ubicomp system cannot be aware of all the activities affecting the take up and consolidation of the use of the system.

The target application area of the project is present-day ubiquitous and context-sensitive systems in work settings. It is plausible to assume that well-designed ubicomp can deepen the efficient and practical intertwining of the human and technology and strengthen their mutual dependency. The long-term goal is to understand social and psychological preconditions for technological support for group work in ubicomp work environments. We will describe the possibilities that this process opens up and the challenges that adaptation poses for the human.

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