An Initial Technology Roadmap for Home Automation

:
Home and Personal Life Management

A dissertation presented
by
Mary Tom
Bsc(Eng), Grad. Dip(Comp Eng), Master of Computing(Research)
to
The Discipline of Information Systems
in fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

Queensland University of Technology
April 2010

©2010 - Mary Tom

All rights reserved.

Keywords
Home Automation, Technology Roadmap, Family System, Scenario Technique, Home Information Management, Home Information Service, eHome, UbiHoPe, Ubiquitous Intelligence,
Strategic Planning, Family Process, Family Life Cycle.

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An Initial Technology Roadmap for Home Automation: Home and
Personal Life Management

Mary Tom
Supervisor: Assoc. Professor Joaquin Sitte

Abstract
Home Automation (HA) has emerged as a prominent field for researchers and investors confronting the challenge of penetrating the average home user market with products
and services emerging from technology based vision. In spite of many technology contributions, there is a latent demand for affordable and pragmatic assistive technologies for
pro-active handling of complex lifestyle related problems faced by home users. This study
has pioneered to develop an Initial Technology Roadmap for HA (ITRHA) that formulates
a need based vision of 10-15 years, identifying market, product and technology investment
opportunities, focusing on those aspects of HA contributing to efficient management of
home and personal life. The concept of Family Life Cycle is developed to understand the
temporal needs of family. In order to formally describe a coherent set of family processes,
their relationships, and interaction with external elements, a reference model named Family System is established that identifies External Entities, 7 major Family Processes, and 7
subsystems-Finance, Meals, Health, Education, Career, Housing, and Socialisation. Analysis of these subsystems reveals Soft, Hard and Hybrid processes. Rectifying the lack of
formal methods for eliciting future user requirements and reassessing evolving market needs,
this study has developed a novel method called Requirement Elicitation of Future Users by
Systems Scenario (REFUSS), integrating process modelling, and scenario technique within
the framework of roadmapping. The REFUSS is used to systematically derive process automation needs relating the process knowledge to future user characteristics identified from
scenarios created to visualise different futures with richly detailed information on lifestyle
trends thus enabling learning about the future requirements.
Revealing an addressable market size estimate of billions of dollars per annum this
research has developed innovative ideas on software based products including Document
Management Systems facilitating automated collection, easy retrieval of all documents, Information Management System automating information services and Ubiquitous Intelligent
System empowering the highly mobile home users with ambient intelligence. Other product
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Abstract

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ideas include robotic devices of versatile Kitchen Hand and Cleaner Arm that can be time
saving. Materialisation of these products require technology investment initiating further
research in areas of data extraction, and information integration as well as manipulation and
perception, sensor actuator system, tactile sensing, odour detection, and robotic controller.
This study recommends new policies on electronic data delivery from service providers as
well as new standards on XML based document structure and format.

Contents
Title Page . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Keywords . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Table of Contents . . . . . . . . .
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . .
List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . .
Citations to Previously Published
Statement of Original Authorship
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . .
Dedication . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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1 Introduction
1.1 Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.1.1 Factors Setting Lifestyle Trends . . .
Social Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Economical Factors . . . . . . . . . .
Environmental and Political Factors
Technological Factors . . . . . . . .
1.1.2 Lifestyle Related Problems . . . . .
1.2 Problem Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.3 Research Objective . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.4 Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.5 Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.6 Thesis Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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2 Literature Review
2.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 Three Distinct Visions On Home Automation . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.1 Computerised Home and Kitchen . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.2 “Intelligent Home” with Intelligent Appliances . . . . . .
2.2.3 “Interactive Home” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.4 Outcome of Earlier Visions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 Current State of Home Automation and Review of Developments
2.3.1 Recent Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Contents

2.4

2.5

2.6

2.7

2.8

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2.3.2 Project Failures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.3 Review of Products and Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technologies for Domestic Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.1 Overview of ICT use at home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.2 Analysis of Home Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
”Living Space” Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
”Networked Home” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.3 Studies on Working Parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lessons To Learn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.1 Industry Perspective of HA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.2 User Perspective of HA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.3 HA in Need of a Technology Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technology Roadmapping and Scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.1 Origins of Technology Roadmapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.2 Roadmapping Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Initiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Roadmap Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Assessment of Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.3 Taxonomy of Roadmaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Product-Technology Roadmaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Product-Market Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technology-Product Roadmap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Science roadmaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.4 Benefits of Roadmapping and Current Problems with Roadmapping
Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tangible Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Intangible Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The roadmap document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Current Problems with Roadmapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.5 Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.6 Overview of Scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.7 Use of scenarios in roadmapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.8 Method of building scenario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Intelligence, Context and Ubiquitous Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.1 Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.2 Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.3 Ubiquitous Computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 Research Method
3.1 Research Methodology . . . . .
3.1.1 Data Collection . . . . .
3.1.2 Analysis . . . . . . . . .
3.1.3 Reliability and Validity

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3.2
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3.4

3.5
3.6
3.7

Research Design and Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Identification of Market and Market Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.1 System Modelling and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Process Modelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Family System Reference Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Use Case Diagram and Activity Diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.2 Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Market Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.3 Derivation of Process Automation Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Requirement Elicitation of Future Users by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Identification of Potential Products and Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.1 Development of a Conceptual Framework and Architecture for Home
Information Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
eHome model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.2 Derivation of other product ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Investigation of Technology Needs and Technology Investment Strategies . .
3.5.1 Technology Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 Family System Reference Model
4.1 Family Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.1 Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.2 Family Life Cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2 Family System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Interaction of Family System with External Entities . . .
4.2.1 Family System Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Managing Finance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Planning and Preparing Meals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Family Health Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Supporting Formal Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Household Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Engaging In Occupation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Recreation and Social Life Maintenance . . . . . . . . . .
4.3 Subsystems Within The Family System . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.1 Finance Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Financial Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Budgeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Account Keeping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Payment Scheduling and Monitoring of Expenses . . . . .
4.3.2 Health Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Monitoring and Control of Diet and Exercise . . . . . . .
Obtaining consultation and undergoing medical treatment
Collecting and storing health records . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Contents

Monitoring health check parameters . . . . . . . . . . .
Education Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Obtaining Admission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Procuring Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Attending School Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Paying Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Monitoring Academic Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.4 Housing and Transport Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . .
Purchasing Equipment and Vehicle/s . . . . . . . . . . .
Organising and Maintaining Insurance . . . . . . . . . .
Coordinating and performing cleaning and repair . . . .
Obtaining and Maintaining Utility Services . . . . . . .
4.3.5 Career Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.6 Recreation and Socialization Subsystem . . . . . . . . .
Recreation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Socialisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Meals Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.1 User View of an Envisaged Meals Subsystem . . . . . .
4.4.2 Schedule Meals for a Week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.3 Select Menu and Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.4 Estimate cost and Prepare Grocery Purchase List . . .
4.4.5 Update Inventory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.6 Tasks Requiring Physical and Intellectual Work . . . . .
Study of Analysis Results Depicted in Family System Reference
4.5.1 Information Management and Soft Processes . . . . . .
4.5.2 Mobile Family and Home Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
User Ubiquity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Need for Ubiquitous Intelligence and Computing . . . .
Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.3

4.4

4.5

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5 Scenario Based Future User Requirements Elicitation
5.1 Process Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1.1 Identification of Process Attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2 User Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3 Derivation of Future User Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.1 Scenario Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Driving Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4 Identification of Processes for Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.1 Derivation of Demanding Process Attributes . . . . . . . . .
5.4.2 Processes to be Automated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5 Application To Home Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5.1 Creation of Home Lifestyle Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5.2 Three Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scenario 1: Automated Home Supporting lower cost of living
Scenario 2: Leisure Loving Busy Families and Householders .

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Contents

x

Scenario 3: Enlightened Hardworking Society Promoting Sustainability133
Automation Needs For a Society Following Scenario Two Lifestyle . 134
Derivation of User Characteristics and Process Attributes . . . . . . 134
Derivation of Processes for Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

5.5.3

5.6

6 Conceptual Framework For Home Information Management
140
6.1 Automated Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
6.1.1 Data Collection and Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Taxonomy of Data Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Automated Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
6.1.2 Information Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
6.1.3 Knowledge Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Example Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
6.1.4 Intelligence Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Messaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Flexibility or Overriding facility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
6.2 Ubiquitous Intelligence System for Home and Personal Life Management
(UbiHoPe) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
6.2.1 eHome the Virtual Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
6.2.2 Point Of Sale Terminal (POST) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
6.2.3 Wearable computing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
6.2.4 Systems of External Entities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
6.3 eHome Architecture and Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
6.3.1 Technical Layers of eHome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Physical Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Middleware Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Knowledge Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Inference Engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Services Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Access Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
Server Layer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
6.3.2 Unique Authentication and Verification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
6.4 Deployment of UbiHoPe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
6.4.1 Data Transfer and Maintenance Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
6.4.2 eHome as a Product . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
6.4.3 eHome as a Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
6.5 Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
7 Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities
7.1 Target Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2 Potential Products and Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2.1 Software Based Products and Services . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Potential Software Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Software Service: Home Information Service Provider (HISP)

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xi

7.2.2
7.2.3

7.3

7.4

7.5

7.6
7.7

Electromechanical Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Robotic Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kitchen Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Robotic Cleaner Arm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2.4 Performance Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technology Needs and Current Technology Limitations for Development of
Software Based Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.3.1 Technology Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electronic Document Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Data Extraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Information Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.3.2 Limitations of Current Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Problems with Current Data Extraction Methods . . . . . . . . . . .
Problems with Information Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technology Needs and Limitations For Development of Robotic Devices . .
7.4.1 Technology Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Manipulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Adaptability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.2 Adaptive Robotic Controller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.3 Task Specific Algorithms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.4 Current Technology Limitations for Developing Kitchen Hand . . . .
Implementation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.5.1 Design and development using existing technology . . . . . . . . . .
Development of Robotic Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.5.2 Research and investment in new technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technology Investment for Software based Products . . . . . . . . .
Technology Investment for Robotic devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.5.3 Development and implementation of policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Availability and Accessibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.5.4 Development and implementation of standards . . . . . . . . . . . .
Roadmap Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8 Conclusion
8.1 Contributions . . . . . . .
8.2 Validity . . . . . . . . . .
8.3 Strengths of Contributions
8.4 Extensions . . . . . . . . .

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203

A Communication Between Family and Education Service Provider

204

B Abbreviations

206

Contents

xii

C Definitions
208
C.1 Definitions From Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
C.2 Definitions From Chapter 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
C.3 Definitions From Chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
References

211

List of Figures
2.1

2.2

Generic Structure of a Product Technology Roadmap Matrix. Source: adapted
from Kostoff and Schaller “Science And Technology Roadmaps” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Vol 48(2), 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Transformation of Data to Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

50
56

3.1
3.2

Steps In Research Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Symbols Used In Diagrams of Family System Reference Model . . . . . . .

65
67

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.9
4.10
4.11
4.12
4.13
4.14

Family Life Cycle: Different Phases and Prominent Responsibilities
Phase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Interaction of Family System with External Entities . . . . . . . .
Subsystems Within Family System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Processes Within Finance Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Processes Within Health Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Processes Within Education Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Processes Within Housing and Transport Subsystem . . . . . . . .
Processes Within Meals Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
User View of Meals Subsystem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Select Meal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Select Menu and Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Prepare Grocery Purchase List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Maintain Inventory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ubiquity of Home User . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

in Each
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5.1
5.2
5.3

Derivation of Processes for Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Impact / Predictability Matrix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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132

6.1
6.2

Architecture For UbiHoPe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Technical Layers of e-Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

153
156

7.1
7.2

Roadmap Matrix for Development of Software based Products . . . . . . .
Roadmap Matrix for Implementation of Robotic Devices . . . . . . . . . . .

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A.1 Communication between Family and Education Provider . . . . . . . . . . .

205

xiii

List of Tables
5.1
5.2
5.3

Future Projections: Lifestyle in 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Process Attributes and Operational Requirements) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Processes Having Demanding Process Attribute(DPA) . . . . . . . . . . . .

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137

6.1
6.2

Details of Input Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Information on Bill Payments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

144
148

7.1

Target Market Segment for Automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

167

xiv

Citations to Previously Published Work

Large portions of Chapter 2 have appeared in the following paper:
“Home Automation: Technology Push and Real User Needs”, Mary Tom and
Joaquin Sitte, Chapter in Book: Berichte zum Generic-Management, Editor:
Petra Winzer (Hrsg), Publisher: Schaker Verlag (2006);

Large portions of Chapter 4 have appeared in the following paper
“Family System: A Reference Model for Developing Home Automation Applications”, Mary Tom and Joaquin Sitte, Published in Proceedings of IEEE
International Conference on Systems Man and Cybernetics, 2006
Large portions of Chapter 5 have appeared in the following paper
“Future User Requirement Elicitation for Technology Investment: A Formal
Approach”, Mary Tom and Joaquin Sitte, Published in Proceedings of the IEEE
International Conference on Systems Man and Cybernetics, 2009

xv

Statement of Original Authorship
The work contained in this thesis has not been previously submitted to meet
requirements for an award at this or any other higher education institution. To the best of
my knowledge and belief, the thesis contains no material previously published or written
by another person except where due reference is made.
Signed: ——————————————————–
Date: ——————————————————–

xvi

Acknowledgments
I am pleased to express my sincere gratitude to Associate Professor Joaquin Sitte
for his guidance, valuable comments, and encouragement. I take this opportunity to thank
Dr. Yue Xu for her valuable comments and assistance.

xvii

Dedicated to my daughter Minna,
and my son Christin.

xviii

Chapter 1

Introduction
“A roadmap becomes the inventory of possibilities for a particular field, thus stimulating more targeted investigations” (Galvin, 2004).
Home Automation (HA) has emerged as a prominent field for researchers and
investors. Nevertheless, many products and services offered by HA are yet to reach the
average home user. In many cases technology push has overshadowed sound evaluation of
actual user needs. This has led to many unsuccessful ventures and project failures (Wacks,
2001). Review of past developments reveals that the HA Industry needs well-founded user
requirement analysis, a clearly defined scope and a long-term goal in order to exploit the
large market potential. It is essential for the HA Industry to formulate strategic plans based
on the “big picture” of family home life and realistic user needs.
The HA industry requires a technology roadmap for formulating industry level
strategic plans with needs-based futuristic vision. The aim of this study is to address the
above mentioned problems faced by the HA industry by developing an Initial Technology
Roadmap for Home Automation (ITRHA). This can be used to identify market needs, innovative product ideas to align with market needs, technology needs for product development
and technology investment opportunities. A systemic approach has not been followed in
the past developments in HA; due to this reason a full system view is unavailable. This
research aims to formulate a theoretical foundation by developing a reference model named
Family System for defining the scope and boundaries of the roadmap, and a formal method
for future user requirement elicitation. These objectives are discussed in detail in Section
1.3.
The home remains a key component in shaping human lifestyle at the start of
1

Chapter 1: Introduction

2

the second millennium. Blessed by technology, homes are facilitated with clean lighting,
smoke-free and ashless kitchens, telephones to communicate with someone anywhere in the
globe, and seamless water supply. While standardisation of electric power supply in the
early twentieth century enabled these facilities, the industrial revolution and shortage of
labour force for household work prompted automation of labour intensive tasks such as
washing clothes, and dishwashing.
Continued progress in integrated circuit technology and advancements in microprocessor systems initiated ideas on inter-connectivity and remote control of appliances in
the late 1980s. During the first half of the 1990s, the advent of broadband enabling high
speed data communication, and PCs with Internet facility generated great expectations on
the possible use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at home. These
developments created a vision of homes having remote controlled appliances and services
of virtual reality games, video-on-demand, and interactive advertising. Following this vision, the main focus of Home Automation (HA) has been home networking and automatic
and/or remote control of home appliances. As a result of this, the scope of the recent past
developments in the HA industry has been mainly limited to four areas:
• Building environmental control – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
• Security and lighting
• Home Networking
• Entertainment
A Google search for the term “Home Network” yields a result of 5,540,000 sites
revealing the proliferation of effort in home networking and related technologies. The driving
force of technology is not sufficient to develop products with desirable features that meet
or stimulate consumer demand. Tangible and intangible benefits that can be obtained by
interconnection and remote control of existing home appliances are not appealing to average
home users, considering the comparatively high costs involved.
As the current focus of HA fails to obtain a sustainable market, what can be the
focus of HA? Residential buildings are reasonably facilitated, with many technology applications providing convenience to home users. There is a proliferation of electromechanical
devices automating individual tasks such as grinding, blending, coffee making, mixing, mincing, pepper cracking, hair drying, massaging and so on. From this point of view, it seems

Chapter 1: Introduction

3

HA has reached saturation by achieving full potential. Or, is the HA industry short of
innovative ideas and futuristic vision? Under these circumstances it is worth spending time
and effort to create a new perspective by exploring opportunities for new directions.

1.1

Motivation
This research is motivated by the need for a strategic plan, based on realistic user

requirement analysis, that can be followed by the HA industry for technology investment in
product development. There should be an applicable and simple method that is formally
correct to elicit future user requirements. As the strategic planning is for a long term, there
should be a method for reviewing and updating the formulated plan to adjust for temporal
variations.
It is inevitable to view HA in the context of lifestyle followed by contemporary
families. The complexity of family life has increased due to lifestyle and environmental
changes. There are a number of factors that play a major role in setting new lifestyle
trends, thus creating added complexity to everyday life.

1.1.1

Factors Setting Lifestyle Trends
The prominent factors responsible for the current lifestyle can be categorised as

social, economic, environmental, and technological. These are discussed in the following
sections.
Social Factors
During the past quarter of a century, there have been substantial changes in some
social aspects; these changes have highly impacted on contemporary lifestyles. A selection
of these prominent factors is briefly discussed below with supporting statistical data. This
study mainly refers to statistical data from three countries, Australia, US and UK, for
reasons of easy accessibility and availability of reliable data.
• Dual Income Families
More than 57 per cent of all Australian families with children aged below 15 years
have both parents working (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003), while in UK this
figure is 68 per cent (Walling, 2005). In US dual income families with children under

Chapter 1: Introduction

4

18 years exceeds 62 per cent of all American families (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
2008). During the 10 years prior to 2004 there was an 8 per cent increase in dual
income families in U.K (Walling, 2005). In US the number of working women is
expected to increase by 10.9 per cent between 2004 and 2014 (National Committee
on Pay Equity, 2006).
• Women in Professional Occupations
The participation of women in professional occupations such as engineers, pharmacists, lawyers, and technical writers increased by more than 10 per cent in the last
two decades in US (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2006). In 2005, 73 per cent
of working women had white collar jobs in US while 56.3 per cent of workforce in the
occupational category is held by women. A 21.2 per cent increase in participation
of women in professional occupations is expected from 2004 to 2014 (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2006). There was an 8 per cent increase in women working
in professional occupations in Australia between 1987 and 2004 while there was a
decrease in the percentage of women undertaking less skilled occupations (Australian
Bureau of Statistics, 2006c).
• Employed Single Parent Families and Aging Population
Another trend setting social factor is the participation of single parents in paid employment. There was a 12 per cent increase in employment of single parents in UK
during the 10 years leading to 2004 (Walling, 2005).
From the various census data it is found that US has around 60 million people over 60
years old and in the UK this figure is 12 million (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008b;
Office for National Statistics, 2008). The percentage of dual income families and aging
population is forecasted to be gradually increasing for the next few decades.
Economical Factors
Managing household finance has become a complex and critical task requiring
strategic planning, periodic reviews, careful budgeting and proper accounting. A number
of factors contributing to the complexity are listed below:
• Easily available credit facility

Chapter 1: Introduction

5

• Increase in credit card debt
• Increasing cost of living
• Increase in cost of education
• Prolonged period of formal education
• Increasing essential services such as internet, mobile phone, and insurance.
The cost of child care in dual income families consumes a substantial portion of
the income. It is estimated that in US the cost of center-based child care for two children
could exceed 37 per cent of a single parent’s earnings (National Committee on Pay Equity,
2006). The cost of housing has increased substantially during the recent decades. In 2003
to 2004, 74 per cent of total liabilities of middle wealth households in Australia is home
loan; 2–3 per cent is credit card debt, 1 per cent is study loan and 3.6 per cent is vehicle
purchase loan (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006a).
Environmental and Political Factors
Household lifestyle is affected by environmental factors, many of which are beyond
the control of individual households. Globalisation and growth of international corporations
transform employment from national to international perspective; these factors create an
expectation for families to be increasingly mobile. Resource shortages and the increasing
cost of power, fuel, water and food are producing a global awareness on the consumption of
resources. Increasing government spending on health is becoming a matter of concern for
policy makers.
The emergence of eCommerce is changing the nature of business to customer dealings. The category of face-to-face customer service is disappearing; these services are being
replaced by web-based information processing and transaction services like on-line banking,
on-line shopping, and on-line consultation, which transfer the work to the user.
Technological Factors
The past two decades have witnessed a big leap in the advancement of ICT which
has revolutionised the way businesses and governments operate. There is a huge gap in
the technologies available to these service providers and households. During the last two

Chapter 1: Introduction

6

decades these service providers have progressively moved from information management
systems through enterprise systems to knowledge management systems. The households
are yet to use an information management system other than amateur attempts at creating
customised databases or spreadsheets.
Advanced information and communication facilities such as cell phones, pagers,
PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), wireless Internet access devices, as well as traditional
phones have removed the physical boundary between family life and work. These facilities
have enabled an environment where work can occur anywhere at any time. Under these
circumstances it is essential to differentiate the specific needs of the family home user
from any householder. Following office automation, there is an increase in the quantity
and volume of data received by families from external sources without a corresponding
increase in the capacity to process this information in the home. Electronic data belonging
to home users are stored, accumulated and used for planning and marketing purposes by
various government agencies and commercial service providers. Reports produced from
accumulated data on aspects such as health, finance, and education are either inaccessible
or expensive for a home user to use for planning and decision support.

1.1.2

Lifestyle Related Problems
The percentage increase in the number of working women and women in profes-

sional occupations sets many changes in lifestyle. These include the disappearance of a
full-time housewife role, less time for household work, and increased involvement of women
in purchase decisions. The lifestyle followed by contemporary families impacts upon many
aspects of daily lives. A selection of these aspects is discussed below.
• Food Habits and Diet-Related Problems
Following a well-balanced diet suitable to all members of a family needs considerable
effort and time. As the percentage of working couples increases, the tendency to depend on fast foods and other short cuts is increasing. These options are comparatively
expensive and lead to an imbalanced diet. In 2001, the average US adult spent 42 per
cent of total food expenditure on food away from home. It has been found that fast
food consumption is associated with a diet high in energy and energy density, and low
in essential micronutrient density (Bowman & Vinyard, 2004). More than one billion
of the world population are overweight, with 300 million being clinically obese (World

Chapter 1: Introduction

7

Health Organization, 2007). While an estimated ¿180 billion is required to treat and
prevent diabetes and its complications world wide during the year 2007, 30–40 per
cent of the cases are diet related.
• Financial Problems
Highly fluctuating market trends, various borrowing facilities, easily available credit
facilities, and evolving job opportunities make financial decisions critical. The data
published as per the 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances reveal that 75 per cent of
US families have some form of debt; the mortgage debt has increased by 54 per cent
from year 2000 and bankruptcy rate increased by an average of 2.8 per cent per year
between 2000 and 2006 (North Dakota State Data Center, 2007). The household debt
of US households rose to 96 per cent of total disposable personal income. Households
used 14 per cent of their income on paying off consumer debt and mortgage debt. In
2002 there were over 1.5 million bankruptcy filings from non-business or consumers
in US (Jickling, 2003).
• Increased Stress
The findings of an ethnography study on the lifestyle followed by dual income families
establish that working parents need to manage their time and activities in a very
structured routine. Minor variations to this routine can be stressful and disappointing
(M. K. Lee, Davidoff, Zimmerman, & Dey, 2006). Many times the working parents
feel that they are lacking a sense of control over their own lives and they are forced
to compromise the quality of their tasks.
• Lack of Time
Dual income families and employed single parent families are confronted with less time
to manage matters related to their household, and children’s education. In Australia
the average weekly working hours for men increased by 1.9 hours per week and for
women increased by 1.7 hours between 1985 and 2005 (Australian Bureau of Statistics,
2006b). Women spent an average 2.7 hours per day on household activities and men
spent 2.1 hours per day. Out of this 0.67 hours per day are spent on household
management (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008a). Following such a busy routine
makes finding quality family time or leisure time difficult.

Chapter 1: Introduction

8

• Quality of Life
The above listed factors indicate that the lifestyle changes experienced by householders
during the last two decades cause added dynamism, complexity and compromise of
the desired quality of life. A workshop conducted on quality of life concluded that
the domains of life influencing quality of life are “intimate relations, health, emotional
well being, financial and material circumstances, productive activity, safety, and place
in the community” (Weston, 1999). Most of the lifestyle changes are due to external
factors that are out of the householders’ control; however they are forced to manage
their lives within these constraints.
In view of the above, this research has established that HA industry needs a Technology Roadmap to formulate a needs-based vision of typically 10–15 years that can identify
market, market needs, products, and technology investment opportunities. A model based
analysis can provide theoretically founded formal method to elicit user requirements. User
requirements are influenced by a large number of factors. Scenarios provide a framework
to build conceivable futures that can be used to learn future variations to home user requirements. Systematic integration of the system model and scenarios creates a generalised
method that is reusable. Even though integration of scenario technique with roadmapping
is not widely practiced, this novel method is more effective to create the futuristic vision
and alternative paths to reach that vision, with a causality for future review.

1.2

Problem Definition
In terms of HA industry and its users, the previous sections reveal two interesting

sides of the current state of affairs. Primarily, the HA industry is engaged in developments
that are not boosting enough market demand. Secondly, there is a potential market with
latent demand for technology solutions that are affordable and pragmatic.
The HA industry is faced with some unique and difficult situations as briefly discussed earlier. There are some deeper issues and underlying problems causing this situation
and its unwanted consequences. The major problem is that the industry lacks formal methods to systematically derive the market needs to exploit the available market potential.
This problem is intensified by the wide range of products based on many technology areas
and with a very diverse user base. The industry has been working around these problems by

Chapter 1: Introduction

9

using trial and error methods to develop and market new products following a technology
based vision.
The market consists of home users having very diverse characteristics demographically, socially, culturally and economically. Researchers using user-involved methods to
derive user needs have achieved very limited results exposing only a partial image of the
whole picture. The diversity, uniqueness and distinctive nature of home users disallow a
group think and collective request or demand originating from the users. Traditionally,
users actively involve in user requirement analysis where the product/service to be developed is an essential component for the primary activity of the users. In this case, the home
users see home as a resting place to relax; this is not the place of primary activity. This
excludes people who use their homes for business purposes or operate from a home office.
However, home users are confronted with many lifestyle related problems that are difficult
to handle without technology assistance, resulting in a latent demand. Simultaneously, the
users generally lack enough technical knowledge or insight to understand what they are
missing.
The above mentioned artifacts illustrate two divergent entities – the industry and
the market – who cannot benefit each other by following the current practices. The first
requirement is a formal method that can be used by the HA industry to identify realistic
market needs. The home users’ needs vary, the variations being dependent on a large set
of changing environmental factors. A new product development may require technology
investment thus demanding long-term planning. Therefore, the next important problem
to solve is to account for the variations in home user needs in a realistic manner with a
futuristic view that can enable strategic planning. HA industry is a conglomerate of many
partners, and therefore a global perspective is required.
The problems discussed above highlight the issues confronted by the HA industry
to succeed by catering to the market needs. The purpose of this thesis is to develop a technology roadmap with well-defined methods to identify market needs and future variations.
This is achieved by answering the questions raised below.
1. What are the market segments and potential market size?
2. What methods can be used by the industry to derive market needs in a reliable way?
3. How can we use the technology to assist home users to reduce the impact of lifestyle

Chapter 1: Introduction

10

related problems, or marginalise the problems by effectively managing their lives?
4. How can the HA industry perceive future market needs to cater for the dynamic
lifestyle of users?
5. Is there any technology for developing such products and services? What are the
technology gaps?
6. What strategies can be used in planning investment in research and development
activities?

1.3

Research Objective
The facts listed above establish that the HA industry is in need of a Technology

Roadmap that can guide technology investments leading to products and services that can
address some of the problems identified in Section 1.1. Therefore this study has chosen
the development of a technology roadmap as a means of finding answers to the questions
raised in Section 1.2. The aim of this thesis is to produce an Initial Technology Roadmap
for Home Automation (ITRHA) that can uncover future market needs, derive products and
services to meet the market needs, identify technology investment need for the product
development, and stimulate further work in research and development.
Technology roadmaps have been used in several industries to guide the development of technology. The most significant is the International Technology Roadmap for
Semiconductors (Allan et al., 2002). Technology Roadmapping is needs-based strategic
planning to identify market needs, technology gaps and to leverage technology investments
with a long-term vision of typically 10 to 15 years (Bray & Garcia, 2004; Kostoff & Schaller,
2001). “Roadmaps communicate visions, attract resources from business and government,
stimulate investigations, and monitor progress” (Galvin, 1998). A full discussion on technology roadmapping is provided in Section 2.6 of this thesis.
Identification of future market needs is the primary step in roadmapping; this remains one of the major problems faced by the HA industry. Therefore, it is required to
establish a theoretical foundation and develop a formalised method for future user requirement elicitation. An applicable method has to be within a high level framework that can
abstract the diversity of user characteristics. This method should be simple enough for
industry partners to apply correctly.

Chapter 1: Introduction

11

Roadmap implementation involves re-assessment of the technology investment plan
and incremental development to meet the varying market needs over a longer time span. The
development of a strategic plan for technology investment should be based on reasonable
factors or methods allowing such review and update. Again, this study aims to develop a
formal method to understand variations to future user requirements as a function of lifestyle
related factors.
As part of developing the ITRHA this study aims to achieve the following objectives.
1. Develop a system model for providing a theoretically founded systemic view and
holistic approach for HA
2. Develop a formalised method for future user requirement elicitation.
3. Identify future market needs
4. Generate innovative products ideas to meet the identified market needs
5. Investigate the technology investment needs to materialise the proposed products
ideas.
The goal of this study is to provide the HA industry a new perspective and a new
direction to follow. The scope of HA is to be extended from building related facilities to
essential products and services reaching average home users, catering all aspects of personal
life.

1.4

Approach
The approach used to resolve the questions raised in Section 1.2 and achieve the

objectives described in Section 1.3 are detailed in this section.
This study has developed terminology for expressing user and process related details. Definitions of all terms mentioned in this section are provided in Sections 4.2, 5.1,
and 5.2.
The three main constituents of the ITRHA to be developed as part of this study
are
1. Market needs

Chapter 1: Introduction

12

2. Product ideas to satisfy the identified market needs
3. Technology investment needs
There are no stipulated standardised procedures to follow in the roadmapping
process used to develop a roadmap. This study has devised a novel method that integrates
business process modelling and scenario technique within the framework of roadmapping.
This work has identified the market needs using the newly devised method of Requirement
Elicitation for Future Users by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS). Based on the identified market
needs, this research has identified a number of innovative product ideas and has investigated
technology investment opportunities. Procedures followed in this study to complete the
development of the ITRHA are discussed below.
This study has followed a model based approach; the author has applied existing
modelling technique with extensions and has devised new methods as required.
• Family Life Cycle
This research has developed the concept of a Family Life Cycle to understand temporal
variations in Family responsibilities and thus segregate market segments.
• Development of a Reference Model
As a systemic approach has not been followed so far, the field of HA lacks a system
model. A reference model named Family System is developed to describe a coherent set
of Family Processes, their input/output and interactions with External Entities. The
Family Processes are grouped into seven subsystems: Finance, Meals, Health, Education, Career, Housing and Transport, and Socialisation and Entertainment. Further
analysis is conducted to understand the processes within each of the subsystems, the
inputs required for each process and the outputs produced.
The system model is developed following Process Modelling approach. Data Flow
Diagram (DFD) following the Gane and Sarson symbol set is used for communicating
the model as this provides the most suitable technique to depict the whole system,
its boundary, processes and interaction with external systems (Valacich, George, &
Hoffer, 2001; Shelly, Cashman, & Rosenblatt, 2006). To suit the requirement in
this study, the author has extended the symbol set for DFDs, originally developed
for modelling information systems, by including Resource flow, Resource store, Hard
Process, and Hybrid Process.

Chapter 1: Introduction

13

Detailed analysis of Meals Subsystem is carried out to obtain a dynamic view of
the processes. This research has used business process modelling technique following
the Eriksson-Penker Business Extension of UML activity diagrams for this purpose
(Eriksson & Penker, 2000).
• Identification of Automation Needs
A new method named Requirement Elicitation for Future Users by Systems Scenarios
(REFUSS) is developed as part of this study to relate the process knowledge obtained
from the system model with future user lifestyle related information from scenario
technique for deriving future market needs for strategic technology investment planning. This study has applied scenario technique to understand plausible future lifestyle
of home users and the market drivers influencing these lifestyles. Van der Heijden’s
approach is followed in developing scenarios (Heijden, 2005). Three scenarios developed provide insight into plausible variations to the current lifestyle trend in case of
unexpected twists in some of the driving forces. Automation needs are identified by
deriving the list of processes having Demanding Process Attributes for the home users
with User Characteristics related to the most likely scenario.
• Identification of Potential Products and Services
A conceptual framework named Ubiquitous Intelligence System for Home and Personal
Life Management (UbiHoPe) is developed to understand the architectural components
required for automating the identified Soft Processes. A conceptual model named
eHome is the central unit of UbiHoPe facilitating the automation. Robotic devices
are proposed for automating Hybrid Processes.
• Proposal for Technology Investments
Technology gaps are identified based on the knowledge of technology requirements
for the envisaged products and services and current technology facility. Technology
investment suggestions for research and development are formulated on the basis of
the identified technology gaps.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.5

14

Contributions
The major contribution from this study is the Initial Technology Roadmap for

Home Automation (ITRHA) developed as part of this work. There are many benefits for an
industry or organisation from a technology roadmap. The Home Automation (HA) industry
lacks a technology roadmap; an internet search using the key words “Home automation
roadmap” produces a mere 6 results that are not related to a roadmap.
ITRHA consists of a number of newly developed concepts, models, methods, scenarios, addressable market size estimates, innovative ideas of products and services, policy
guidelines and an implementation plan for materialising the product ideas. The roadmap
provides information on market needs, potential market segments, requirement of new technical standards, and technology investment opportunities. This work expands the scope of
the HA industry and outlines a plausible vision to pursue. The roadmap developed can be
used as a reference document for further refinement and implementation.
Contributions of this study include:
1. An Integrated Method
A new formal method for roadmapping is developed by systematically integrating
roadmapping with scenario technique.
2. Family Life Cycle
The concept of family life cycle developed can be used to identify market segments
based on user needs.
3. Family System Reference Model
The Family System reference model is used to establish a theoretical foundation for
developments in HA by defining context, scope, and boundaries, and providing a full
system view encompassing all aspects of home life. The seven subsystems and the
processes within each of the subsystems identified reveal the amount information processing involved and the importance of home information management, and segregates
labour intensive tasks. This reference model exposes the interaction of a family with
external sources, thus exposing the communication needs and volume of information
used. The identified processes are very generic and are essentially required in daily life
of any family and or individual, thus applicable in wider context irrespective of demo-

Chapter 1: Introduction

15

graphic and cultural differences. The Family System remedies the lack of a systemic
view in HA.
4. Requirement Elicitation for Future Users by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS)
A new method is developed that can be used to systematically and formally relate
information about a system and its processes to user specific information derived from
current and future lifestyles. This new method rectifies the lack of applicable formal
methods to identify future market needs in HA.
5. Scenarios
Three scenarios are created based on the information from the analysis of a large
number of factors influencing home user lifestyle. The scenarios not only reveal future
lifestyle trends, they provide a framework for periodic monitoring, review and reassessment of lifestyle trends to understand home user needs.
6. UbiHoPe and eHome
A conceptual framework is developed depicting the architecture, components and functionalities of a potential system that can automate information management services
identified within Family System. The UbiHoPe reveals requirement of components,
data, policies and standards for realising the vision. The eHome model is used to
identify the technical components required for a system supporting home information
management services.
7. Innovative Ideas of Products and Product Areas
This research has generated original product ideas for the robotic devices, Kitchen
Hand and Cleaner Arm. This research has identified a new products and services area
of Home Information Management. Within this area a number of software based product concepts are developed. These include Electronic Document Management System,
Ubiquitous Intelligent System for Home and Personal Life Management with add on
modules for managing Diet, Finance, Health, Education, Housing and Transport. This
study has also suggested the concept of a Home Information Service Provider (HISP)
for managing information services of home users.
8. A New Perspective

Chapter 1: Introduction

16

A new perspective for HA is created by considering the ’Big Picture’ of family life,
widening the scope of HA from building related facilities and task level automation.
This study motivates the need to re-focus developments in HA to meet the requirements of busy families taking into account the mobile and dynamic nature of families.
This study has formulated a new direction for HA developments by shifting to needsbased vision.

1.6

Thesis Structure
This thesis is organised into eight chapters that logically build from the litera-

ture and deliver new concepts and models. The Chapters 4–7 forms part of the ITRHA
document.
Chapter 2 depicts the current state of the industry as well as reviews the past
developments leading to the present state. This chapter discusses the developments that
have occurred in HA by following three distinct technology based visions. Detailed study of
past developments reveals that HA is an area that is highly influenced by technology push
rather than by user demand.
The literature review in Chapter 2 also gives insight to the lack of products with
attractive features to meet the otherwise lucrative market. This study also discusses the
reasons for many project failures and the existing proliferation of research and development
efforts in home networking. This establishes that technology push alone is not enough to
achieve substantial market, thus emphasizing the need for a balance between technology
push and market pull.
Chapter 2 also provides a detailed discussion on roadmapping and scenario technique. Technology Roadmapping is mostly used in industries and it is slowly migrating to
universities. This section describes the origins of roadmapping, explains the generic steps of
roadmapping process, classifies the roadmapping and discusses the assessment of roadmapping. This section also provides information on existing tools to support the roadmapping
process. Scenario technique is discussed here and the section highlights the advantage of
integrating roadmapping with scenario technique as a more effective novel method.
The last section of Chapter 2 presents a brief overview of intelligence, ubiquitous
computing, and context derivation as these concepts are applied in Chapter 6.
Chapter 3 provides an overview of various types of research methods and identifies

Chapter 1: Introduction

17

the qualitative method applied in this study that follows a mixed method approach. This
chapter discusses the research design and implementation followed in this study leading to
the development of the ITRHA. This chapter explains the customised steps of roadmapping integrating system modelling and scenario technique. This chapter discusses process modelling techniques used for developing the system model. The development of Impact/Predictability matrix to rank the influence factors and the use of scenario matrix to
create scenarios are described in this chapter.
Section 3.3.3 presents the scenario technique used to develop insight into future
home user lifestyle. The future user needs for process automation are formally worked out
using the method of REFUSS described in Section 3.3.3.
Chapters 4 and 5 are the core of this thesis. Chapter 4 details the concept of
Family Life Cycle, presents the Family System reference model, and the subsystems within
the the Family System, and includes detailed analysis of subsystems within Family System
and an elaborate analysis of Meals Subsystem. Sections 4.1 and 4.2 provide definition of
terms.
Chapter 5 presents the development of the new method REFUSS, and also demonstrates the application of REFUSS to derive the process automation needs. This chapter describes the scenario development, identifies factors influencing contemporary home lifestyle,
discusses impact/predicatiblity matrix that ranks the influence factors, and presents the
three scenarios depicting plausible future lifestyle of home users.
Based on the processes identified and the process automation needs derived in previous chapters, Chapter 6 identifies a list of home information management related services.
This chapter presents the conceptual framework of UbiHoPe with eHome that depicts the
architectural components and system requirements for the automation of identified Soft
Processes.
Chapter 7 is a concise presentation of the roadmap design discussing the target
market, potential products and technology needs. Roadmap matrices are presented here
that provide a graphical representation of the target market, potential products and technology development along a time line. Section 7.3 provides a detailed discussion on technology
needs, thus exposing opportunities for further research and development to leverage technology investment. Section 7.5 discusses an incremental development plan that can be followed
for progressively transforming the product ideas into practical products and services. Policy
requirements are discussed in Section 7.5.3 and potential standards required for envisaged

Chapter 1: Introduction

18

products and services are discussed in Section 7.5.4.
Chapter 8 concludes this thesis by providing a concise summary of findings from
this study and highlighting the potentials of further research work that can be commenced
following products ideas and technology needs revealed in this research work. This chapter
also depicts the validity of the thesis based on the evaluation methods discussed in Chapter
3.

Chapter 2

Literature Review
2.1

Overview
Developments in Home Automation have been greatly influenced by advancements

in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) made possible by microelectronic
technology. The earlier visions have been predominantly based on the possibilities of what
technology could do rather than the real needs of users and the resources available to
home users in terms of time and money. This has led to many unsuccessful ventures such as
Kitchen Computer, Screen Fridge, excessive time spent in standardisation of communication
protocols, and project failures resulting in loss of investment and waste of resources (Nunes
& Delgado, 1998; Wacks, 2001) . On the other hand, the home lifestyle is influenced by
many external trend-setting factors and the contemporary society is confronted with many
lifestyle related problems, which creates a latent demand for technology assistance. Overall,
a lucrative market with the potential for strong growth still remains untapped. The study
of past developments in HA establishes the need for a technology roadmap to guide strategic
planning for technology investments.
The main focus of HA has been automatic and / or remote control of home appliances. As a result of this, the scope of the past developments in Home Automation Industry
has mainly been limited to four areas:
• Building environmental control – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
• Security and lighting
• Home Networking
19

Chapter 2: Literature Review

20

• Entertainment
Three technology based visions, namely Computerised Home, “Intelligent Home”
and “Interactive Home”, have influenced HA(Spicer, 2000; Skrzypczak, 1987; Garrett, 1990;
Wells, 1995). In this study the author conducts a review of past developments following
these visions and finds that there have been many project failures and unsuccessful product
developments.
This chapter analyses the technology based visions of the past and the outcome
of those visions. The chapter also provides a home user perspective revealing contemporary lifestyle and related problems. Based on the evaluation of these outcomes, this study
recommends the necessity for a user needs-based vision following a holistic approach. This
chapter also establishes the need for a technology roadmap that can guide the HA industry
in developing products and services meeting market needs and strategic planning for technology investment. As the goal of this thesis is to develop an initial technology roadmap
for HA, this chapter provides a detailed discussion on technology roadmapping and brief
overview of scenarios.
In this chapter Section 2.2 presents three historically interesting visions, developments following these visions and the outcomes of these developments. Section 2.3.2
discusses some of the project failures in the past, then Section 2.3.3 conducts a review of
the project failures and reveals underlying causes for the project failures. Section 2.3.1
depicts the products available at present and the current research and development activities. This section also discusses the popularity and issues involved in the use of home PCs.
This section concludes by suggesting the appropriateness of formulating an industry level
Technology Roadmap for HA and lists the various reasons to support the necessity of user
needs-based vision.
Section 2.6.1 provides a brief history of the origin and development of technology
roadmapping. Section 2.6.2 describes the current practices of roadmapping process. This
section also reveals the problems in applying the presently practiced roadmapping process in Home Automation. Section 2.6.3 provides a classification of technology roadmaps.
A discussion on the benefits of roadmapping and the problems associated with current
roadmapping process is provided in Section 2.6.4. The author points out the need for integrating roadmapping and scenarios. Section 2.6.5 describes the procedure for scenario
technique.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

21

Section 2.7 conducts a brief overview of intelligence, ubiquitous computing, and
context derivation. These concepts are applied in Chapter 6 for creating the conceptual
framework of UbiHoPe.

2.2

Three Distinct Visions On Home Automation
Advances in computing and communication technology have stimulated three dis-

tinguishable visions in the history of Home Automation during the last four decades. These
technology based visions have led to further developments creating products and services
both successful and unsuccessful. Continued advances in ICT created new expectations and
some of the products based on earlier visions became obsolete.

2.2.1

Computerised Home and Kitchen
In 1966, Jim Sutherland developed a machine known as “Electronic Computing

Home Operator” or ECHO IV that computerised many household tasks. ECHO IV was a
home automation system assembled using a large number of electronic parts (Spicer, 2000).
By 1968 Sutherland extended the system to store recipes, prepare shopping lists, keep track
of family inventory, maintain home temperature, turn appliances on and off, predict the
weather and act as a message center for family members to leave messages for each other.

2.2.2

“Intelligent Home” with Intelligent Appliances
After two uneventful decades in the application of computing to Home Automation,

continued progress of Integrated Circuit technology and the emergence of microprocessor
systems created a new wave of activities attempting to automate tasks around the home.
Advancements in microprocessor systems influenced ideas on intelligent products and the
inter-connectivity of appliances.
During the late 1980s a futuristic vision of an “intelligent home” or “intelligent
building” by 2010 was a central processor controlled home having applications such as
storage and display of recipes, administration of shopping lists, display and re-direction of
audio-visual messages, electronic bills and bill payment, video-on-demand and high quality
audio. The vision was extended to Building Management – HVAC, security, safety, environmental control, and Remote control of appliances (Skrzypczak, 1987; Garrett, 1990).

Chapter 2: Literature Review

22

An interesting prediction was on the availability of a video monitor in the kitchen,
either hanging on the wall or on the refrigerator door, to view or update the family calendar,
display recipes, and administer shopping list.

2.2.3

“Interactive Home”
During the first half of the 1990s, the advent of broadband allowing high speed data

communication, and PCs with Internet facility, generated great expectations on the possible
use of ICT at home. This was followed by predictions on the availability of services such
as virtual reality games, play-along games, video-on-demand (VoD), tele-shopping, interactive advertising and services (Wells, 1995). Video-on-Demand provides the user complete
control over the session presentation, facilitating the user with full-function VCR (virtual
VCR) capabilities including forward and reverse play, freeze, and random positioning. The
possible deployment of FSN (Full Service Network) led to predictions on availability of
video-conferencing services and high-resolution networked games. The FSN has the capacity to provide telephone services, Cable TV and two-way broadband data communications.

2.2.4

Outcome of Earlier Visions
Motivated by the ECHO IV developed by Jim Sutherland, a year later in 1969

Neimann-Marcus marketed a “Kitchen Computer” to store recipes, priced at US $10,600,
which was equivalent to the price of a suburban home at that time, with a user interface
consisting of front panel switches (Spicer, 2000). The “Kitchen Computer” manufactured
by Honeywell was advertised with the attractive feature of producing recipes using available
ingredients, but the user needed to undertake a two-week course in a programming language
called ‘BACK’. The “Kitchen Computer” was a total failure, because of its high price, the
lack of attractive features, and most importantly the difficult user interface.
The vision on “Intelligent Home” led to further work on achieving envisaged applications such as remote control of home appliances, and telemetering. Development of
facilities and standards for both low and high speed communication, and home network
for interconnecting devices within home as well as connecting to the external network, had
been identified as the main goal to achieve for the vision to become a reality.
Most of the investment made in home automation, by consortia and standards
organisations, has been directed towards developing specifications for residential communi-

Chapter 2: Literature Review

23

cations network (Wacks, 2002a). The Consumer Electronics Association has been engaged
in developing a series of standards for networking devices within the home for the last two
decades (Williams, 2004).
Many communication standards and protocols had been developed for structured
wiring using twisted pair, coaxial cable, or Power Line Carrier. These include Home Bus
System (HBS) in Japan, European Home Systems (EHS), BatiBus in France, EIB (European Installation Bus), and HomePNA (Home Phone Network Alliance). CEBus and
LonTalk are protocols enabling interconnection of devices networked using any medium,
including power lines, twisted pair, radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR), coaxial cable and
fiber optics. These protocols facilitated central/remote controlled HVAC systems, sensor
controlled lighting and centralised security systems. Other protocols developed include D2B
in Holland and Home Audio/Video Interoperability (HAVi) to facilitate easy connection of
different make Audio/Video equipment in a home Audio/Video Network (Gran & Scheller,
2000).
Towards the end of 1990 the protocols and communication standards developed
for structured wiring became outdated by the unpredicted developments in Wireless Communication. IEEE 802.11 is a family of standards for wireless communication originally
designed for enterprise networking, extended for home users, and 802.11b is marketed as
Wi-Fi. Blue-tooth facilitates short-range networking of computers, mobile phones, and
portable hand-held devices (Shepherd, 2001), and HiperLAN is the wireless standard for
LAN (Local Area Network).
HES is a family of international standards for HA systems. Each appliance incorporating a Universal Interface (UI) connects to the Home Network through a Network
Access Unit (NAU) and the UI and NAU communicates using a protocol specified by the
HES (Wacks, 2001). HES has developed an international standard named HomeGate specifying translation between Wide Area Network (WAN) and Home Area Network (HAN)
communication protocols for Home Network to connect to external networks. The working
group, consisting of thirty national member bodies, is continuing the work it commenced
in 1986 to finalise international standards for the residential gateway, application interoperability and Broadband home network. The aim of HES is to standardise hardware and
software specifications, enabling manufacturers to offer compatible products for connection
to a variety of home automation networks. The Versatile Home Network (VHN) is an international standard, offered by the Consumer Electronics Association, which defines a home

Chapter 2: Literature Review

24

network (called the Backbone Network) that supports communication of control signals as
well as streaming data for audio/video (A/V).
HAN is a specialized form of Local Area Network (LAN) that emerged as a result of
HA systems. An open HAN five layer protocol conforming to Open System Interconnection
is being developed for HAN to improve ease of use, reduce cost and improve inter-operability
(Ye, Ji, & Yang, 2004).
Configuration of devices in a Home Network required expertise and the user interface with few lines of text display made the task even more difficult. As the Internet became
popular by the mid-1990s, some companies created specifications for home networks based
on TCP/IP and other private consortia developed specifications for data communications
over existing telephone wiring. JINI was developed by Sun Microsystems in 1999 to enable
easy inter-operability of devices plugged in a home network without additional installation
procedures. These developments improved the configuration facility and user interface by
enabling control and monitoring of appliances using a PC.
Security becomes a requirement when remote control facilities are provided to appliances by connecting Home Network to the external Wide Area Network (WAN). The
proposal for the Home Automation Authentication Protocol (HAAP) contributed towards
the security requirements of a Networked Home using HA communication protocols, for
example CEBus (Leong & Vun, 1998). HAAP uses industrial-strength SPEKE public-key
exchange for session key generation with MD5 message digest and IDEA block cipher encryption. A proposal for new mobile-agent based control system architecture for home
automation is also for enabling remote control of appliances (Q. Wu, Wang, & Lin, 2001).
This is a three-layer architecture consisting of enterprise headquarter (EH), regional management centers (RMC) for each region, and home service gateways (HSG). The purpose
of this control system is for internet-based distributed control of home appliances using
software agents that can move from node to node of the network.
Application of ICT in home health front has been envisaged for Home Automation as part of the vision of “Intelligent Home”. Automatic monitoring of health parameters
without disrupting daily activities is a new concept for maintaining good health at reduced
cost. Envisaged future technologies may include a device mimicking a mosquito for automatic blood sampling and artificial nose for detecting smell (Togawa, 1998).

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.3

25

Current State of Home Automation and Review of Developments in HA
More recent developments in HA are analysed here to understand the current

trends in HA. It is interesting to analyse the results of the three distinct visions on HA
described in Section 2.2, namely the Computerised Home, the “Intelligent Home” and the
“Interactive Home”. Evaluation of success and failures of these developments and identification of reasons for such an outcome can be a valuable reference for researchers and
investors.

2.3.1

Recent Developments
Intelligent or Smart Home ideas have been applied to produce a number of prod-

ucts such as remote controlled air-conditioning equipment, sensor controlled lighting and
centralised security systems. Other interesting products struggling to acquire a market share
include the Internet Microwave Oven, the Internet Washing Machine, and the Internet Air
Conditioner in Singapore (Umun, 2003).
Developments in Personal Computer have taken a big leap, transforming the work
station equipment to a full fledged multimedia centre with built-in DVD players, MP3 players, Webcams, and USB ports to connect to digital still cameras, IEEE 1394 (“FireWire”)
to connect to digital video camera (Teger & Waks, 2002). High volume and high speed data
communication facilities are available at affordable rates to home users. FSN is available
to Home Users and other facilities such as VoD.
Research and development activities with the same goal of remote monitoring and
control of Home Appliances are still continuing. An XML based format, the Device Message Protocol (DMP), developed to send control, query, event subscription and notification
messages using HTTP, serves the purpose of communicating with networked devices within
home from a Web Browser (Khurana, Dutta, Gurung, & Schulzrinne, 2004). A Java-based
home automation system uses an embedded system board integrated into a PC-based server
for monitoring and control of home appliances via the Internet (Al-Ali & Al-Rousan, 2004).
In another proposal a Residential Gateway consisting of an embedded microcontroller is used
to obtain access to home devices remotely via Internet (Kuo, Salcic, & Madawala, 2003).
Data mining techniques are applied in developing the Episode Discovery (ED) algorithm

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which mines the event history of device usage at home to detect patterns. These patterns
are then analysed for periodic usage detection and this is further used for automating device
control (Heierman & Cook, 2003).
Home networking and the remote monitoring and control of appliances and devices
still remain the focus of many recent studies on Home Automation as evidenced by the
following research efforts.
• Network traffic scheduling: this work proposes a traffic scheduling scheme for obtaining optimal parameters regarding IEEE 802.15.4 low rate wireless personal area
network protocol (Kim, Song, & Lee, 2007)
• A home automation system is reported where communication technologies of GSM
(Global System for Mobile Communication), Internet, and speech recognition have
been used for real-time monitoring and remote control of home devices (Yuksekkaya,
Kayalar, Tosun, Ozcan, & Alkar, 2006).
• A home automation module is developed that can handle network communication
using TCP/IP, eliminating dedicated home server, and incorporates remote control
and monitoring software.
• In another study Service-Oriented Smart-Home Architecture is proposed, based on
Open Services Gateway Initiative (OSGi) and mobile-agent (MA) technology for control and augmentation of interaction devices (C.-L. Wu, Liao, & Fu, 2007).
The above mentioned research efforts reveal the limited scope of the recent past
developments; these developments also establish that home networking remains the main
focus of HA. It is also worth mentioning that from the user’s point of view the applicability
and usability remains the same except different technologies are used. Even though home
networking remains the focus of research and development efforts, there is no evidence of
user demand as the motivation behind these efforts.

2.3.2

Project Failures
The “Kitchen Computer” was a total failure, with no sales, because of its high price

and, most importantly, its difficult user interface. The “Kitchen Computer” had very limited
features compared to the many desirable features incorporated in ECHO IV. Nonetheless,

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it could be considered as a great achievement for the technology available at that time.
Towards the end of the 1990s, after more than a decade spent on their development, it
is found that many of the above mentioned standardisation attempts in communication
ended up in failure. By 1998 it is reported that EHS (European Home Systems) funded by
ESPRIT projects started declining. SMART HOUSE spent about $100 million creating a
proprietary design for the new home market. The partnership failed before they completed
less than 100 installations (Wacks, 2001). The HES initiated by IEC and ISO in 1986 has
been continuing its developments fifteen years later in 2001 (Wacks, 2002b).
In February 1999 Electrolux exhibited a prototype of “screenfridge” at the international trade show Domotechnica in Cologne, Germany. The screenfridge had a display
screen and it facilitated e-mail, video-mail, internet connection, news and radio, and recipes
for food stored in the fridge, a bar code reader so a shopping list can be administered to order grocery items over the internet and it has connection to home security cameras (Spicer,
2000). There was not enough market response for this prototype to be taken into full
development and production. Recent enquiries found that the Internet Fridge from LG
Electronics is not picking up sales in Australia to any reasonable level.
The development of wireless communication technology and the availability of
wireless devices at affordable prices with simple interfaces enables home users to interconnect
appliances without using structured wiring. Internet based communication protocols are
developed that can be used for monitoring and controlling appliances using a PC. These
unexpected developments make the communication protocols and specifications developed
for interconnection of appliances using structured wiring largely irrelevant.

2.3.3

Review of Products and Services
The history of developments described in previous sections clearly shows that

the growth of the Home Automation Industry is greatly influenced by technological advancements and visions based on possible applications of technology. These technological
advancements include developments in integrated circuit technology leading to cheap microprocessor systems, PCs with Internet facilities and Broadband communication facilities
allowing high speed data communication. Another important fact to notice is the identification of communication standards enabling inter-connectivity of appliances as the major
technical issue to be considered for implementing home automation. Analysis provided in

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Section 2.2.4 and developments reported in 2.3.1 reveal that the main focus of HA has been
an integrated home network enabling interconnection of lighting, heating, security, entertainment devices and other appliances, thus facilitating automatic and/or remote control
of home appliances.
The earlier visions have been based only on the possibilities of what technology
could do rather than on the real needs of users and the resources available for home users in
terms of time and money. The above findings show that certain aspects of the HA Industry
have not picked up momentum as envisaged in the late 1980s and that the major driving
force of technology is not sufficient to produce innovative products and effective consumer
demand. It is a fact that the market still lacks products with attractive features.
Fundamentally, operational and economic feasibility studies are essential in addition to technical feasibility for a major project selection. Incremental re-assessment of user
requirements and other environmental factors can be used to establish any amendments
required to the original project development plan. For example, as the wireless communications technology matures, structured wiring and related technologies for Home Networking
become obsolete. Another example is the Internet Fridge; this was an exciting vision at a
time when Internet facility was not available with PCs, compared to the current situation
of PCs with flat screen monitors, TVs and multimedia available at one-sixth the price of
an Internet Fridge. It is therefore essential to set the main project focused on the ultimate goal of realistic user needs rather than on techniques. As with any major project,
well-formulated user requirement analysis and cost-benefit analysis are central to success.
Home users are price sensitive (Green, Gyi, Kalawsky, & Atkins, 2004; McPherson, 1996; Venkatesh, 1996). This is evident from the failure in selling “Kitchen computer“,
“ Screen Fridge“ and the popularity of Home Networking below expectation. Take the
example of the Internet Fridge, which costs approximately eleven times the price of a conventional refrigerator. PCs are available with the Internet connection facilities at very
affordable prices. The Internet-connected appliances enable the user to upgrade software
and the vendors to conduct remote software fault detection and correction. These are not
essential features that can be justified for the extra cost. Products and services need to be
made available to users at affordable and reasonable prices to succeed in the market.
Home user purchases are influenced by pragmatism (Green et al., 2004; McPherson, 1996). Taking the case of the Internet Fridge again, this fridge lacks some of the basic
functionality envisaged, such as a family calendar, and personalised news, as these facilities

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require user specific input. The conventional refrigerator is an almost maintenance free,
longer life span appliance, compared to the fast evolving and high maintenance electronics
and software required in an Internet Fridge. With the fridge door being frequently opened
and closed, the ergonomics of having the display screen on the door is also debatable. Very
low to nil market penetration of the remote controlled appliances such as Internet Microwave
Oven, and the Internet Washing Machine are again examples of lack of pragmatism. These
appliances require manual loading. In many cases a Microwave Oven requires intermittent
attention for desired results and also not advisable to be operated in an unattended house
due to fire safety concerns. The other factors influencing home user purchases are simplicity, reliability, low maintenance, and availability of heterogeneous functions per appliance
(Green et al., 2004).
Some of the above mentioned applications have obtained certain market share.
Services and products for leisure and entertainment are one active sector of HA, but at
the same time there is an over supply of technical innovation to this area compared to
percentage of demand and use.

2.4

Technologies for Domestic Environment
There are a limited number of user involved studies conducted to understand the

use of information and communication technologies at home as well as to explore opportunities for development of technology for use in the domestic environment. Findings of such
studies are analysed in this section.

2.4.1

Overview of ICT use at home
The PC has gained a position in the household as a home appliance. For example,

various statistical studies conducted in 2006 show that 72 per cent of all Australian households owned a computer (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007b). Evaluation of marketing
perspectives used by industries for sales of Information Technology and Home PCs reveals
that interactive technologies are advertised in publications such as HomePC and FamilyPC
as boosting techniques for family relationships (McPherson, 1996). The study of these advertising and marketing trends reflects that there is a desire for stable family relationships
and a sense of belonging. This leads to an environment where new technologies have to
coexist with old social forms.

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Industries market Personal Computers and associated software specifically designed for office use under the name of Home PC. It is well known that present day PCs
are designed for office use (Kahn, 1997). In the office environment, the user is continually present in the near vicinity of the PC and almost continuously uses it. In a home
environment the user’s time is highly fragmented into shorter time slices among different
tasks. There is incomplete domestication of PCs into the household. Desktop User Interfaces, designed for single user, do not facilitate simultaneous parent child interaction with
PC (Venkatesh, 1996). Other factors should also be taken into consideration, such as the
highly distractive environment at home, the very high maintenance requirement of PCs in
terms of both software and hardware upgrades, and the short life span of PCs compared to
other home appliances. It is appropriate in the home environment, to be possible to access
a PC from anywhere in the house using for example a remote controller, rather than always
needing to go to the keyboard.

2.4.2

Analysis of Home Environment
Two different models have been used to analyse the activities at home and use or

perceived use of ICT at home.
”Living Space” Model
There has been research carried out on the use of ICT at home and as part of this
surveys and ethnographic studies have been conducted (Venkatesh, 1996). Their work models the family as a ”Living Space” consisting of Physical/Architectural space, Technological
Space and Social/Cultural Space. Physical/Architectural space refers to built environment
of house including arrangement and organisation of the interior parts. Technological space
refers to use of PCs and other Information Technology devices at home. Social and Cultural
Space refers to the adoption and impact of Information Technology in the home. Overall
the ”Living Space” Model is used to examine the use of PCs and Internet at home and
the impact these technologies have on architectural aspect of home as well as social and
cultural impact by the usage patterns and adoption of technology. It has been found that
users are pragmatic and price sensitive while at the same time interested to keep up to date
with technology innovations.
Food Management, Household Maintenance and Finance, Recreation and Enter-

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tainment, Family Communication, Employment, Family Development and Well-being are
identified as ”sub-environments” of family life (Venkatesh, 1996). Multimedia and Internet facilities available with PCs assisted greater diffusion of technology into different
sub-environments compared to the limited use of computers in Work/Employment related
activities. The various tasks involved in these areas such as meal preparation and consumption, washing dishes, grocery shopping, cleaning, tax preparation, family communication,
job related activities, education, fitness, dieting and holiday gathering have been identified
as targets for technology use. PC has gained name as a household item even when home
users own it mainly for limited uses of carrying out job related activities, or educational
purposes.
”Networked Home”
Research on ”Networked Home” is an attempt to analyse the current developments
and future trends as a result of home automation and increased communication facilities
(Venkatesh, Kruse, & E.C.Shih, 2001). Home is viewed from the perspective of different
activities done at home. Based on this eight centers have been identified: activity, entertainment, work, shopping/finance, family interaction, information and communication.
It is reported that there is a clear trend towards households’ networking of entertainment
devices, appliances, security systems and PCs. There are possibilities of linking home communities to schools and to each other. Other possible applications envisaged are centralised
control of Water (Sprinkler Systems, Sewage), Power Management-electricity and gas. This
report suggests connections to local business services such as Travel Agents, Banks, and
Weather Stations.
A study, commenced in 1999, was conducted on a selected set of fifty families living
in the Orange County at Los Angeles in the US, on using PCs at home to obtain more insight
into current trends in use of Information Technology at home and future expectations of
the home user (Venkatesh, Stolzoff, Shih, & Mazumdar, 2001). This study has formulated
user profiles on a number of aspects related to use of ICT at home and these results are
briefly discussed below. Major reasons for ownership of a PC at home are work-related
and for children’s education. The purchase of a PC is influenced by ”pragmatism and
price”. PC is valued as a great educational tool, especially with internet facility to access
world wide information quickly. There is great concern about the complexity in installation,

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configuration and upgrading of software. E-shopping is only getting moderate interests due
to a number of reasons including:
• security
• lack of opportunity for physical examination of products
Customers are highly attracted to the overall convenience promised by the Smart
Home Technologies and these include facility for remote environmental control, and added
security. Medium-level interest has been observed for Local Area Network (LAN) and
integration of all information and communication devices where as low-level interest has
been expressed in Internet fridge and intelligent robots. Also it is found that customers are
not comfortable about being totally out of control of the environment. More importantly
it is essential to pay more attention to the everyday needs of family life.
Another study, that conducted user interviews, also found that home users are
highly interested in applications like ’Home message centre’ whereas low level interest is
shown in devices like activity monitor (Parkka et al., 2002).

2.4.3

Studies on Working Parents
There is a very small collection of work on lifestyle related issues of families where

both parents work. A prominent study is the investigation into the lifestyles of working
parents conducted by Hewlett-Packard Laboratories with the aim of identifying potential
technological opportunities (Beech et al., 2003). Pilot interviews of four different families,
surveys of 64 working parents, and follow-up interviews of 28 parents from Bristol, US
were conducted in the study. Considering the complex and demanding lifestyle followed by
working parents, the study tried to explore the current use of technology and opportunities
for improvement. The findings of the study include need for information on home while
away from home, facility to share family calendar, possibility of having a wall mounted
display for messages, assistance with domestic chores such as meal planning and integrated
home-work technologies for better communication with family members while at work.
Another study focused on dual-income families interviewed 12 dual-income families
and used the data to generate concepts on possible application of technology to provide more
control over their lives (M. K. Lee et al., 2006). The study revealed the need for technology
assistance to deal with deviations from routines and to provide more control in dealing with
time, relationships and family activities.

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Workshops were used in another study sampling 5-8 households of various categories – dual income families, couples over 65, single income families, shared households,
and people with disabilities – to understand user views on smart user interface requirements
(Green et al., 2004). A number of generic design requirements including low cost, reliability,
flexibility, and low maintenance have been identified. The areas identified for technology
application are welfare, entertainment, communication, safety, and building environment.
Domestic environment and home life have been subject of ethnographic study for
the purpose of applying both Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Supported
Cooperative Work (CSCW) in developing new technology for cooperative buildings (Hughes,
O’Brien, & Rodden, 1998).
Emerging practices of using technology for nurturance–supporting emotional relationships and providing comfort was studied and new designs for nurturing technology were
proposed in a research conducted involving users in a one-day workshop (Elliot, Mainwaring,
Sengers, & Woodruff, 2006).
Overall, the above studies have revealed certain aspects of home life and technology
use. But they have failed to provide a holistic view or expose specific products or services.
The absence of a systemic view and system model to follow is also evident from these studies
reported in the previous sections.

2.5

Lessons To Learn
The previous sections of this chapter have presented two perspective of HA and

these include:
• view of the developments in HA from an industry perspective
• view of the developments in HA from a user perspective

2.5.1

Industry Perspective of HA
The review conducted in Section 2.3 exposes some characteristics of the industry

approach and problems faced by the HA industry. These include:
• Market Penetration

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The review conducted in Section 2.2.4 reveals that the products developed following the “technology push“ approach failed to attract sufficient consumer demand as
envisaged.
• Project Failures
The Section 2.3.2 reports many major project failures leading to large financial loss
and reduction in investor confidence.
• Limited Scope
The study of current products and services conducted in Section 2.3.3 establishes the
limited scope of products and services available. During the recent past the main
focus of home automation has been an integrated home network enabling interconnection of lighting, heating, security, entertainment devices and other appliances, thus
facilitating automatic and /or remote control of home appliances. Home Automation
Industry products and services are mainly limited to three areas: Entertainment, Remote Controlled Household appliances, and Building environmental control – HVAC,
Lighting, and Security.
• Need for Innovative Ideas
The HA industry is in need of innovative ideas that can lead to products and services with attractive features. Extensive analysis of the specific needs of the family
home user has been absent. The Home Automation industry has not picked up the
momentum envisaged in the late 1980s and the technology push alone is not sufficient
to produce innovative products and effective consumer demand. It is a fact that the
market still lacks products with attractive features for the average home user.
• Need for Future User Requirements Elicitation
Review of developments in HA, provided in Section 2.3.3, reveals that decisive factors
of price and pragmatism impacting home user purchase have not been given enough
weight as well as critical system requirements of simplicity, reliability, low maintenance
and multitasking. There has been an absence of both realistic user need analysis and
re-assessment of user need variations due to environmental impact.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.5.2

35

User Perspective of HA
There are many trend setting factors that shape the lifestyle of users as discussed

in Section 1.1. Even though the users are confronted with many lifestyle related problems
the review of many user involved studies finds that users have provided only information
on certain aspects. This is evident from the analysis of various studies provided in Section
2.4.
Analysis of the review conducted in Section 2.4 reveals the following aspects.
• Lack of User Insight
Users are confronted with problems. But they are not insightful to understand the
underlying issues or technology capabilities.
• Latent Demand
Due to the lack of insight, users are not able to demand specific products or services.
Therefore, HA industry is left with a market with latent demand.
• Varying Needs
The issues dealt by users and the technology needs are different for different users. It
is difficult to formulate a holistic view based on the input received from users.

2.5.3

HA in Need of a Technology Roadmap
From discussing initiatives for studying home life and technology implications for

daily life in the US, Japan,and Europe the 1993 report of the EC’s European Foundation for
the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions comments: “A major criticism can be
levelled at all three initiatives. No model of the home or its user has been developed which
could underlie developments in the electronic home area. The initiatives are largely the
result of a “technology push” type approach. A clear conceptual paradigm has not emerged
... The decision by all three major actors ... to carry out research on the experiences of
real householders is to be welcomed. This will provide valuable feedback on user needs and
requirements on which the viability of the initiatives from a market perspective ultimately
depends“ (Moran, 1993).
It is worth noticing that the comments reported above are still valid, seventeen
years later in Year 2010. Even after conducting many user involved studies, there is absence

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36

of a system model and clear conceptual paradigm. To address this problem we suggest
following a systemic approach viewing family as a single system and analysing the user
requirements by identifying the main processes within this system. It is necessary to differentiate between home and family. Home is an occupied household whereas family is a
structured society. New studies are required to analyse family life, identify tasks that can
be automated and thus lead to products and services with attractive features.
The HA industry lacks a technology roadmap that can guide strategic technology
investment plans based on potential products and services meeting actual market needs.
Technology Roadmapping (TR) identifies both the market needs and the products and
services to meet those needs. Product diversification is essential for business success and is
required to identify products and services that meet real user needs. It is essential to leave
the tunnel vision of interconnecting and switching existing appliances as the main focus of
home automation and apply lateral thinking to generate innovative products and services
that can be packaged into a home suite of easily selectable options.
It is most appropriate for HA to have an industry level International Technology
Roadmap for Home Automation (ITRHA). This alleviates the chances of project failures
occurring as a result of following technology based visions because TR is needs-based. There
are many different industries contributing to HA by the application of diverse technologies
and an ITRHA can assist industry level collaboration in the cost effective development of
end products/services. The ITRHA is the efficient and effective way of conducting periodic
review of overall aspects and revising products and services.
Incremental re-assessment of user requirements and other environmental factors
can be used to establish any amendments required to the original project development plan.
For example the Internet Fridge was an exciting vision at a time Internet facility was not
available with PC – compared to current situation of PCs with flat screen monitors, TVs
and multimedia available at one-sixth the price of an Internet Fridge.

2.6

Technology Roadmapping and Scenario
This study is founded on the framework of an approach integrating technology

roadmapping and scenarios. Therefore, it is vital to discuss these two approaches in detail.
“Roadmaps can comprise statements of theories and trends, the formulation of models,
identification of linkages among and within sciences, identification of discontinuities and

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37

knowledge voids, interpretation of investigations and experiments” (Galvin, 1998).
In general terms a “road map” provides information on geographic locations and
routes connecting different locations. Thus “road map” can be used for finding out how
to reach from a place of origin to a destination following the route. Technology roadmaps
also have these three essential components of origin, destination and a path to reach the
destination. Here the destination is the futuristic vision and the origin is the current
state. The roadmap provides a framework for building a comprehensive information rich
representation of critical technology planning (Bray & Garcia, 1997; Li & Kameoka, 2003).
Roadmapping is an approach that can assist in defining a goal or futuristic vision, identify alternative paths to reach the defined goal, select a plausible alternative and
review the chosen alternative. The process can initiate innovation, reduce uncertainties,
and improve technology investment. Again taking the simple example of a person viewing
a far away geographic location and deciding to build a route to his/her vision, there are
many estimations or speculative figures based on which the person has to make an action
plan. The estimations may include costs involved, time required, and additional expenses
to remove or bridge obstacles of hills or rivers. These estimations or speculative figures
create uncertainties in the decision making. The uncertainties are the list of “known unknowns”. There are alternative routes to the location and alternative transports could be
used. Other than these uncertainties there are ambiguities that are “unknown unknowns”,
such as political and legal regulations, to deal with. The decision can be evaluated based
on the purpose and the potential value of the development of the location.
Technology roadmapping is a needs-driven vision where the needs could be business
growth with a new product, market, or sustainable profit. The vision can be based on an
organisational level need or an industry-wide need. There are uncertainties and ambiguities
to deal with in the course of action to materialise this vision as well as alternatives to choose
from. The process of technology roadmapping provides a framework to gain collective input
to identify alternatives, evaluate the alternatives, and choose appropriately. The futuristic
vision is usually with a longer time span of 10 to 15 years and there are many temporal
variables that influence progression through the chosen path to reach the vision. The
document generated as part of the roadmapping process provides a reference to review and
modify the selected path as well as to evaluate the targeted vision with reduced ambiguities.

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2.6.1

38

Origins of Technology Roadmapping
The Technology Roadmapping originated at Motorola in the late 1970s and early

1980s under the advocacy of then CEO Robert Galvin. The first paper on Motorola’s use
and approach appeared in a Research Management Journal in 1987 (Willyard & McClees,
1987). There had been a growing need for Motorola to reduce the product development
cycle time to meet customer demand, while the complexity of products increased (Probert
& Radnor, 2003). In the early 1990s the roadmapping approach became more popular and
a very good example of this is the Semiconductor Roadmap, a 200 page dynamic document still being updated and followed (Galvin, 2004; Allan et al., 2002; Edenfeld, Kahng,
Rodgers, & Zorian, 2004). By late 1990s several European firms followed the Motorola
practice of using roadmaps and EIRMA (European Industrial Research Management Association) documented the roadmapping process from the experiences of 25 corporations. The
roadmapping approach applied in engineering technology has found application in science
(Galvin, 1998).
The technology roadmapping approach, originated in engineering industry, has
migrated to universities in a limited fashion. Purdue’s Center for Technology Roadmapping (CTR) was established with the support of Motorola and Learning Trust. The CTR
is engaged in research activities of data mining across roadmaps, the development of an
ontology for technology roadmapping, and the analysis of the dynamics of roadmaps over
time (Duckles & Coyle, 2002). Roadmapping is accepted as a method for technology planning and the Center for Technology Management (CTM) from Cambridge University has
developed “T-Plan” for speeding up the roadmapping process (Phaal, Farrukh, & Probert,
2004).
There are other efforts for enhancing the application of roadmapping. Technology
Planning, a subgroup of the global Technology Management Group owned by General Motors, has developed a database where needs and ideas can be collected related to product
development and further used for roadmap generation (Grossman, 2004).
More than 1300 roadmaps are listed in the Cambridge University web site (Institute
for Manufacturing, 2009); this is an indication of the popularity and application of roadmapping and it has been in use for more than a quarter of a century. The roadmapping approach
is applied in technology management in a variety of forms such as emerging technologies,
sustaining technologies, product-technology, product-market, and disruptive technologies to

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39

explore the landscape of technology, or in development. The associated process of roadmapping is flexible, but requires customisation to obtain an optimum result. Over the years it
has evolved, but lacks formal specification, standards, and evaluation methods.

2.6.2

Roadmapping Process
The Roadmapping Process is an iterative and on-going activity, generally collab-

orative in nature. The roadmap is the document defining the futuristic goal and the route
leading to that goal from the current state. The roadmapping process is required to define the futuristic vision detailing the scope and context. The current state, in terms of
technology capabilities and market need, is also described as part of the roadmapping process. Knowledge of the future goal and current state is used to identify the technology
gaps and strategic alternatives to reach the goal. Experts from various functional areas of
organisation such as marketers, developers, and researchers contribute to the roadmapping
process. Roadmapping is an exploratory process, requiring vision and customisation to suit
the particular business environment.
Generally workshops are organised and it is required to evaluate consensus and
divergent ideas. Innovative ideas emerge from collective knowledge and imagination; it is
important to obtain input from a maximum number of professionals as well as to consider
minority views and insightful propositions from individuals (Grossman, 2004).
Workshops are found to be a suitable method for initiating and formulating a
roadmap and this requires dedicated time and involvement from experts. Generally in
organisations or industry where a consensus on major problems exists and chances of obtaining a collaborative insight from people involved in business are great, then workshops
can be used. This may not be successful where a focus on problems doesn’t exist and very
diverse groups having hardly any insight make up the majority of users or developers. An
example is the HA industry: this industry is made up of many diverse sectors, users don’t
have neither a coherent view of problems nor any insight on technological capabilities.
A four phase roadmapping process, currently in practice, takes into account
• the necessity to initiate a preliminary activity understanding the context, scope and
boundaries and required leadership
• the development activity of identifying product, system requirements, technology
drivers and needs

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40

• the roadmap implementation
• the follow-up with validation, review and update (Bray & Garcia, 1997).
Initiation
The first phase of initiation commences with the conception of a futuristic vision.
This vision can originate from a single person or it can be a collective generation. This
view is established by the fact that Motorola roadmap documents have sections for minority
reports and individualistic advocacy. The vision can originate from a business perspective
that may include:
• Market saturation and requirement for a new product
• Need for product cost reduction due to competition
• Disruptive technology and product obsolescence
• Improved performance requirement
• Emerging technologies and business opportunities
The motivation for a vision can be “market-pull” or “technology push”. A larger
proportion of literature on roadmapping is on product-technology roadmaps where application of technology is required to make the product perform better at a reduced cost to
compete in the market. A product-market roadmap can be used to understand the market opportunities and identify innovative product ideas. In this case current technology
is examined to identify technology gaps for developing new products and thus technology
investment is required. In any of these cases it is required to clearly understand the context
of the newly created vision. This could be the current market, manufacturing processes,
technologies used, technology capability, business opportunities and political environment.
As the roadmapping process is initiated, experts belonging to a number of functional areas within a business or across industry need to understand the context and scope of the
roadmapping.
The context and scope can be documented using text based tools, but these aspects are dynamic and regular updates are required. Business modelling can be used to
represent and communicate some aspects. More formal modelling methods customised for

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41

roadmapping purpose can be of assistance in correctly identifying and recording all relevant
information for clearly defining the context and scope.
Development
The development of a roadmap involves study of the current technology capability
and identification of the technology gaps or problems in realising the vision. This exercise produces a set of technology development needs requiring research and development
investment. As this is a collective exercise there could be many suggestions on possible
alternatives to meet the technology gap. The experts involved use their tacit knowledge in
this activity of innovative thinking. There are no formal, systematic methods reported for
this most productive and innovative exercise. There are knowledge creation methods such
as brain storming, Delphi method for knowledge creation and recording with software tools
(Awad & Ghaziri, 2003).
The other aspect of roadmapping is the uncertainties and ambiguities involved
and how these are identified and dealt with during the development and implementation of
roadmapping. The uncertainties being “known unknowns” there is the possibility of listing
these variables in sets and tracing them as progress is made. Scenario technique provides a
systematic method for identifying, co-relating, and learning the dynamics of these variables
(Heijden, 2005). This can be used to understand the risk taken, and evaluate the quality
of assessment and foresight in taking the decision.
Techniques such as PERT and Gantt diagrams are used in project planning; these
may be used for creating the roadmap matrix, which is one document graphically presenting
a consolidated result in a comprehensive way along a time-scale (Kendall & Kendall, 1988).
Figure 2.1 illustrates a sample roadmap matrix. The roadmapping process is entirely different to project planning in terms of the ambiguity and uncertainty involved, the innovation
required, the longer time-span taken and a larger perspective of the vision.
As the practice of roadmapping is getting wider acceptance there is a software tool
to manage an archive of roadmaps stored in a common data format in a central database
server. This enables the generation of a hierarchy of roadmaps and the sharing of roadmaps
across organizations within an industry to promote more collaboration and reduce duplication of investment efforts. An application called Geneva Vision Strategist developed by
Learning Trust in close association with Motorola is an example of such a tool (Duckles &

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42

Coyle, 2002).
The process of technology roadmapping is an appealing, challenging and complex
process and assessment of output at various stages is required to verify the cohesion and to
avoid duplication of effort. The gate review process, in which gate reviews are conducted
at the finish of initiation, concept selection and application ready stages, is a method in
practice for assessment (Grossman, 2004).
Another contribution to the roadmapping process is the “fast-start” T-Plan that
structures the roadmapping process around four facilitated workshops. The first three workshops focus on the three aspects of business/market needs, deliverables – product/service,
and technology while the fourth workshop is used to consolidate the ideas into a roadmap
document. T-Plan uses market/business requirements to identify product and technology
options with the aim of developing new product and market opportunities (Phaal et al.,
2004). T-plan can be used for a multi-organisational purpose and it has been used in 40
cases.
Roadmap Implementation
The roadmapping process identifies and selects a plausible alternative to be pursued to attain the targeted goal. Progressing through the chosen path is a complex activity
due to the uncertainties and ambiguities involved. As the roadmap is developed by input
from experts, the primary step in implementation is communicating the mission across functional areas of the organisation. In essence a technology roadmap identifies specific research
and development tasks that have to be undertaken and thus becomes the source of projects
whose realisation is the implementation of the roadmap.
There are a number of factors required for the deployment of the roadmap and
these include:
• Well defined scope and objective
• Collaborative team
• Shared understanding
• Management support
• Availability of required resources.

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There are several sets of elements used to define the context, scope and the chosen alternative and as the work progresses these defining elements mutate. As the roadmap is a
dynamic document, it is critical to update it and keep it alive (Strauss & Radnor, 2004).
Unlike in a project execution, it is essential to evaluate, redefine and make necessary modifications to the roadmap and the implementation plan. Depending on the variations to the
factors related to market and technology developments, the vision itself may need revision.
Establishment of processes and systems in place for the execution of the plan and timely
modification of the roadmap is critical for its success.
Assessment of Roadmap
The effectiveness and success of the roadmapping process need to be evaluated by
assessing the roadmap produced, and the roadmapping process itself that creates collective
knowledge. But there are no independent objective tests of quality or reference standards
to assess the roadmap quality (Kostoff & Schaller, 2001).
The important contribution from the roadmapping process recorded in the roadmap
is the chosen alternative, the path to achieve the futuristic vision. This has to be done understanding the “big picture” within the current context. The knowledge created in terms
of new product ideas or innovative technology solutions is a measure of the success of the
roadmapping process. The effectiveness of the projects, for achieving the vision generated
from the roadmap, is also an indicator of the quality of the roadmap.
Roadmap quality measures are significant for roadmaps to be used as an operational tool (Kostoff & Schaller, 2001). Conditions for a high-quality roadmap are:
• Retrospective component: a reflection of related factors that evolved the technology
• Present time component: a comprehensive view of factors influencing the technology
currently
• Prospective component: wider view of technology areas and critical elements leading
to the targeted vision
• Use of global data
• Implementable recommendations

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44

Taxonomy of Roadmaps
The roadmaps can be classified based on any one of three aspects: context, vision

and the alternatives or the object of roadmap processing. The context includes the participants and the scope of the roadmap. From this perspective, roadmaps can be classified as
organisational, industry or cross-industry. The roadmaps can be used for strategic planning
with a long-range time horizon for various purposes. There are eight types of roadmaps
identified, based on purpose. These include product planning, service/capability planning,
strategic business planning, long-range planning, knowledge asset planning, program planning, process planning, and integration planning (Phaal et al., 2004). Here the discussion
on classification is limited to technology roadmaps.
Product-Technology Roadmaps
Product-technology roadmaps are developed where the technology solutions are
sought to improve product characteristics and thus meet business needs (Phaal et al., 2004;
Bray & Garcia, 1997; Probert & Radnor, 2003). The vision or the need could be certain
business aspects such as production cost reduction, process improvement, lesser product
development time, and improved efficiency. Roadmaps used by Motorola are examples of
such application of roadmapping.
Product-Market Roadmap
Product-market roadmaps are used to investigate technology solutions to meet
market needs through new products or improved product features. In this case the business
goals could be business growth, acquiring new markets or market extension. These goals
could be the motivation for product-market roadmaps and this could be at the industry
level rather than the organisational level (Galvin, 2004). The RF MEMS (Micro-ElectroMechanical System) roadmap prepared under the project Applied Research Roadmap for
Micro and Nano Systems (ARRRO) is an example of this (Bouchaud, Knblich, Tilmans,
Coccetti, & Fatatry, 2007). This roadmap aims to provide strategic assessment of the current status and requirements for products and applications for RF MEMS and RF Nanosystems technology.

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Technology-Product Roadmap
Technology-product roadmaps are generally industry level roadmaps that are used
to explore product opportunities by the application of technological solutions. Businesses
may be facing tight competition and there may be a need for seeking technology solutions
for sustainability. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) is an
example (Edenfeld et al., 2004). A product becoming obsolete could be replaced with new
product by application of disruptive technologies.
Science roadmaps
Science roadmaps are used to explore fundamental issues or mysteries of nature
(Galvin, 1998; Kostoff & Schaller, 2001). An example of a science roadmap is the NASA
astrobiology roadmap that provides guidance to research and technology development for
investigations to understand space, Earth and biological sciences (Marais et al., 2008). This
roadmap guides the strategic planning and technology investment for answering fundamental questions on the origins and evolution of life, existence of life elsewhere in the universe,
and the future of life on Earth.

2.6.4

Benefits of Roadmapping and Current Problems with Roadmapping Process
Roadmaps have been used for a quarter of a century and have been widely adopted

in the last decade. It is yet to experience the full potential of roadmapping and to establish
theoretical foundation, formal benchmarks, and evaluation criteria. The benefits stated
below are from the experience of practitioners and in many instances the tangible and
intangible benefits are not distinguished.
Tangible Benefits
It may be difficult to assess the benefit in definite monetary terms as there are no
existing formal methods. A new innovative product, reduction in production cost due to
new application of technology, acquisition of new market, and revelation of scientific theories
all contribute to financial gain for the particular business or society in large. This is an area
where further research can contribute by incorporating formal evaluation methods.

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Motorola, the pioneer in using roadmaps, reports savings in hundreds of millions of
dollars in the supply management area by improving effectiveness, efficiency and obtaining
market success (Grossman, 2004).
Intangible Benefits
The roadmapping process is generally a collaborative exercise involving experts
from all functional areas of a corporation. This exercise promotes sharing of ideas and
produces intangible benefits to the organisation that can be mainly categorised into three
areas as described below:
• Communication
The roadmapping process commences with communicating a vision across functional
areas of a corporate office. The generated roadmap sections can be used as a marketing tool to communicate that the company understands customer needs (Bray &
Garcia, 1997). A roadmap becomes a convincing communication tool for funding applications. As a preliminary activity, detailed study and reporting are required on the
scope, processes, current state of technology and other system details currently in use.
Further decisions on technology needs and requirement for research and development
investments are based on the preliminary work. Therefore there is a causal relationship for the strategic decisions for the course of action. This provides a convincing
and coordinated communication tool for requesting funding from government agencies
and allocating resources within the corporate office (Galvin, 2004). Another advantage is alleviation of duplicate research efforts in larger corporations or industries due
to increased communication.
• Collaboration and Synergy
The roadmapping process promotes collaboration among experts at the organisational,
industrial, or national level depending on the scope. Such collective effort improves
coordination and produces synergy and concerted work. This also preempts biases and
preconceptions based on the past, providing a forum for non-linear thinking extending
to a wider time horizon.
• Innovation and Creation of Knowledge

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The roadmapping process promotes collaboration, creation of innovative products
and knowledge generation. The global operation, increased competition and more
demanding customers prompt businesses to be continuously innovative and highly
competitive. Roadmapping promotes learning by sharing of need and ideas among
experts. This collaborative work leads to innovative thinking and the creation of new
knowledge. It produces an environment for the discovery of gaps and the generation
of novel ideas. It provides a framework for inter-disciplinary networking facilitating
support and nourishment of conceptual knowledge originating from individuals to convert into real world applications (Li & Kameoka, 2003). The roadmapping process
stimulates innovative thinking and intense investigations. The outcome of this process
could be new products, novel application of emerging technologies, substantial product enhancement by application of technologies, or development of new technology
solutions for ongoing problems.
• Strategic Development and Long Term Planning
Roadmapping provides a framework for the forecasting of science and technology developments in targeted areas. Technology investment decisions are risky due to the
ambiguities and uncertainties prevailing around the future. There are two important
stages in technology investment decisions; these are investing in research and development to create technology solutions and investing in development of new products or
services transferring the research into practice. These decisions need assuring information to ease the decision maker’s task. The collaborative and iterative nature of the
roadmapping process provides a framework to conduct detailed analysis of the past
technology developments, current technology capabilities and future technology needs
in terms of solid applications. These causal relationships enable better forecasting
of science and technology developments in targeted areas. The technology roadmap
assists strategic decision making in complex and turbulent environments by providing
the needs-based vision and realistic alternatives to reach the targeted vision (Kostoff
& Schaller, 2001).
• It promotes investor interest in science and technology developments.
The technology roadmap reveals co-evolution of market, product, and technology
development along a time line. This exposes opportunities and benefits of investing

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in technology thus promoting investor confidence.
• A roadmap can guide future policy development for governments.
A technology roadmap becomes a decision aid for coordinating allocation of resources
and activities, especially in turbulent and complex environments. This can be used
by governments in policy decisions for future funding allocations with causality.
The roadmap document
A roadmapping process produces a roadmap document that is a dynamic reference
document. The first paper on Motorola’s practice of roadmapping described the roadmap
document for a product technology roadmap as a compilation of eight sections (Probert &
Radnor, 2003). These include:
• Description of business
This provides details of the product for which technology development is pursued
within the context of the business.
• Technology forecast
This describes the vision to be achieved in terms of technology development and
technology areas.
• Technology roadmap matrix
This provides a summary of product plans and the technology forecast.
• Quality
This provides details of quality measures to be followed.
• Allocation of resources
The resource allocation plan to achieve the perceived developments are detailed here.
• Patent portfolio
This describes the details of experts contributing to the innovation.
• Product description
This section provides a detailed description of the product.

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• Status reports and summary charts
The roadmap document is a dynamic document and status reports provide information
on the progress to date.
• Minority report
This section facilitates reporting of contributions and views of individuals and minority
groups.
In general the description of business sets the context by describing the business
environment that details the political, economic, social and technological aspects. This
section can be used to illustrate the current market and potential market drivers. The
scope should give a description of the business aspects to be covered, the participants, and
the main focus of the roadmapping. This section sets the goal or the need for roadmapping.
The current technology capability, trends, and research and development activities
are detailed with potential technology developments in the future. The roadmap matrix
is a consolidated, concise, mostly graphical representation of the important factors, with
their dynamic relationships on a temporal basis showing both commercial and technological
business aspects. These factors are generally depicted in vertical layers with the time plotted
on a horizontal axis. A most commonly used layered structure of a product-technology
roadmap matrix is illustrated in Figure 2.1.
This representation, which depicts the progression over time, provides a very quick
reference for all the major parameters influencing the attainment of goal. Generally the topmost layer is used to display the need using market drivers, market size and other related
factors. This clearly shows the reason for implementing a roadmap.
The middle layers are used to display the deliverables, such as products, service,
and performance that lead to the goal.
The bottom layers depict the technology needs and technology investment needs.
Nodes are used to illustrate each of the factors and links are used for presenting the relationship between nodes.
Current Problems with Roadmapping
It is a challenging task to coordinate the initiation of workshops facilitating the
roadmapping process and also to organise further sessions for review and update. This

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Market

M1

Product

P1

50

M2

P3

P2

P4
Technology

T1

T3

T2

RD1

R & D Project

T4

RD2

RD5

RD3
Time
Years

2

4

RD6

RD4

6

8

10

12

Figure 2.1: Generic Structure of a Product Technology Roadmap Matrix. Source: adapted
from Kostoff and Schaller “Science And Technology Roadmaps” IEEE Transactions on
Engineering Management, Vol 48(2), 2001

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arises from the fact that generally the roadmapping process is a collaborative and iterative
process requiring dedicated effort and time allotment from experts of various functional
areas. The roadmap matrix uses a simple format but the information contained is very
complex. The other aspect is conveying the message across the organisational unit and
implementing the strategic planning.
Even though roadmapping uses simple format to co-relate a number of dynamic
parameters over a longer period of time, there is an absence of formal methods to specify
and verify the correctness of the derived output. The roadmapping starts with certain goals
or futuristic vision and alternative paths needs to be developed from the current state with
a clear understanding of all relevant parameters. There is required evaluation of alternative
paths and selection of the most appropriate path. These activities are carried out using
tacit knowledge collected from collaborative work. Again formal methods, benchmarks and
standards are yet to be developed with a theoretical foundation.
As the mostly followed practice of roadmapping relies on collective input from
practitioners who have insight from the awareness of existing problems, this is not a suitable
method to be followed in the HA industry consisting of very diverse users and a conglomerate
of divergent industries. Therefore, this study proposes an approach integrating scenario
technique to formulate an initial vision by an individual. This can create an initial roadmap
with a top level view accommodating important environmental factors.

2.6.5

Scenarios
The dictionary definition of scenario is ‘a description of how things might happen in

the future’. Scenario is the creation of stories in a scientific way by collecting context-related
data and understanding the dynamic effect of variations to critical factors. This generates
plausible scenarios logically with causality (Heijden, 2005). Roadmapping commences with
a needs-based vision, then follows with the development of alternative paths to convert
that vision into reality and with strategic planning to pursue a chosen alternative. A
vision is made up of conceivable and desirable images of the future. Roadmapping does
not include any formal technique to create the vision nor to develop alternative paths
with a causality for a future review. A vision is often formed from intuition, perception,
imagination and conception. Scenarios provide a framework to build conceivable futures
that assist in creating futuristic vision with alternative paths in a logical manner. “Scenarios

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realise that the future is plural” (Lizaso & Reger, 2004).

2.6.6

Overview of Scenario
Most often scenario technique is confused with scenario planning. Scenario Plan-

ning and technology foresight are alternatives to roadmapping in forecasting technology
investment and formulating strategies. Scenario Planning is a complete foresight study
that is used for technology management. This provides a framework to formulate enhanced
vision, monitor environmental influences, and develop and review strategic plan. Scenario
planning is mostly used for the development of strategic planning where more volatile, rapid
and unanticipated changes may occur to the environmental factors that have a high impact on the strategies. This is due to the inherent environmental monitoring and analysis
facility available with scenario planning. Scenario planning is generally used at corporate
level planning. In this way it is distinct from the roadmapping used for detailed strategic
planning.
Scenario technique forms one aspect of scenario planning, creating a clear vision;
this is a method to create a story about the future (Bishop, Hines, & Collins, 2007). As
the future is uncertain it is advisable for the decision makers to view different futures and
be prepared for deviations to the foresighted vision. This mental preparedness enables
managers to pro-act rather than react.
Scenarios can be used for understanding the immediate future within a specified
context at the micro level or for learning about very complex situations in a distant time
horizon at the macro level. At the micro level scenarios are used as use-cases for a proposed system to understand operational context and system requirements from the users’
perspectives that can be used for evaluating alternative system design and architecture
(Canfield, Ramesh, & Quirologico, 1998; Hsia et al., 1994; Mavin & Maiden, 2003; Bai,
Tsai, Paul, Feng, & Yu, 2002). These scenarios are constructed using sequential events of
user interaction with the proposed system to expose perceived capabilities and functional
requirements.
The Micro level use of scenario is a deviation from its application in the context
of long term future planning. Scenarios are used as an analysis tool to assist more effective
decision making where it is necessary to prepare for uncertainties, to neutralize strong biases
and to reduce investment risk in new product development following technology innovation

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(Drew, 2006; Meixell & Wu, 2001). In this case the time involved can be longer than
use-case scenarios, therefore can be classified as middle term.
Macro level scenarios can be used to create a big picture within a larger context in
terms of time and complexity. “The great value of a scenario is being able to take complex
elements and weave them into a story, which is coherent, systematic, comprehensive, and
plausible” (Mietzner & Reger, 2005). Macro level scenarios are mostly discussed as part of
scenario planning and the scenarios are applied in a wider context. Based on the context of
application, scenarios can be classified as global, industry, business or technology scenarios
(Ratcliffe, 2000).

2.6.7

Use of scenarios in roadmapping
Using scenarios as part of roadmapping is not a widely practised approach and

there is limited literature available (Lizaso & Reger, 2004). Previous study suggests that
the integration of scenarios and roadmapping can create a technology planning tool more
suitable for volatile and dynamic environments. A conceptual framework is suggested for
such integration (Strauss & Radnor, 2004) and the scenario building process and integrating
the results into roadmap is not detailed. It is possible that roadmapping is initiated from
the vision of an individual or a minority group based on perception or imagination. In
long-term planning, in the range of ten to fifteen years, it is possible that the vision could
turn out to be impossible due to environmental changes. As scenarios are built from context
sensitive critical factors, it gives a chance to underpin the vision to realistic aspects and
also create alternative visions that are plausible in case of unexpected changes. Having a
causal relationship to current state makes the roadmap a more convincing communication
tool for requesting resources.
Scenarios can be used to produce a clear picture of the future state and to relate
aspects of the future state to the current system. Vision is positively contributing to set
a goal and to obtain committed involvement unless it is “tunnel vision” in which case
the context is ignored. Scenarios can be used to alleviate such tendencies and reduce the
uncertainties. They also assist in reducing the risk of following the chosen course of action
by preparing the decision makers with alternate possibilities. This preparedness makes
managers more sensitive to changes, enabling them to observe early signals and take preemptive actions.

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2.6.8

54

Method of building scenario
There are more than two dozen techniques prevalent as the scenario building is

customised to suit different applications (Bishop et al., 2007). A few of them are role
playing, visualisation, trend extrapolation, systems scenarios and trend impact analysis.
Scenarios can be presented as event tree diagrams or stories.
The method followed in this work is the six steps method of van der Heijden
(Heijden, 2005). For a more elaborate discussion of scenario building refer to Section 5.3.1.
The steps include:
1. Collecting data related to uncertainties and issues
The most important part of building scenarios is identifying all the factors that
are relevant to the context. This should be systematically done rather than following an intuitive selection. The identification of factors can be done following a
method called SEEPT–social, economical, environmental, political, and technological
(Thomas, 1998).
2. Establishing interrelations using influence matrix
An Influence matrix can be used to plot large number of factors and synthesise the
effect of interrelation between different factors.
3. Identifying the most influential factors, describing their variations and driving forces
An impact/predictability graph can be used to rank the influence factors. General
inclination is to expect the current trends to continue. The importance here is to
break this inclination by studying the underlying forces, termed as “driving forces”
(Heijden, 2005). The purpose is to systematically contemplate variations to the trend
in case of changes to the driving forces.
4. Combining these issues into a scenario framework
Choose a number of influence factors that are of high impact, low predictability or
highly uncertain. These become the dimension of the scenario matrix plotted in a twodimensional space of impact, predictability values. Future projections are developed
by considering positive and negative variations to the most impacting/highly uncertain
elements.

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5. Detailing the model
Distinguish the scenarios using the key influence factors. Develop three or four scenarios depicting plausible futures caused by the evolution of the main factors considered.
6. Translating the model into plausible scenarios
Describe the scenarios in a cause-effect way by contemplating variations to the influence factors and plausible future developments in each scenario.
These futures can be used for learning about plausible changes, and major driving
forces, thus understanding the uncertainties involved in an informed way. These scenarios
assist the decision makers to proceed with their committed course of action to achieve
the targeted vision, simultaneously prepare them to be proactive in case of unexpected
occurrences.
Integration of scenario technique with roadmapping provides a powerful and simple
tool for strategic planning with an understanding of plausible futures.

2.7

Intelligence, Context and Ubiquitous Computing
Chapter 6 presents the architectural design and functional requirements of the Ubi-

HoPe, the conceptual framework developed as part of this study. Therefore, it is important
to understand the underlying concepts and theories applied here. The following sections
discuss inference of intelligence, definition and derivation of context, and the concept of
ubiquitous computing.

2.7.1

Intelligence
Discrete and disorganised values that hardly convey any meaning to the user are

termed data. The data need to undergo a rigorous process by which the values are associated correctly, organised and linked together to provide meaning, creating information.
Knowledge is another higher level form in its usefulness as it puts together information
that can be applied for solving problems (Awad & Ghaziri, 2003). Further processing and
inferencing are required to choose applicable knowledge for a particular situation creating
intelligence. The layers are depicted in the knowledge pyramid in Figure 2.2 adapted from
Awad and Ghaziri, (2003).

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Figure 2.2: Transformation of Data to Intelligence
Information of high quality is produced from raw data by relating the data items
using specific rules; building such relationships between disparate data produces constraints.
Such constraints are established and checked by conditions. The knowledge creation is
achieved by setting conditions or constraints in selection of information and relating these
to specific problems. Generation of intelligence requires conditions for choosing parts of
knowledge, conditions to identify the context and problem specification.
As one moves from data to higher levels of abstraction in the pyramid, the required
relations increase, as well as the number of conditions or constraints. This in turn means
involvement of more variables or parameters to store the conditions. As more variables are
involved the complexity and number of inputs increase, as well as the chances of errors.
Defining problems in abstract form that can be reused and deriving right contextual information are also complex issues that need to be handled. These factors constitute the
problems in achieving autonomous generation of intelligence from a given set of data. The
achievable autonomy and accuracy in the generation of information, knowledge, and intelligence decrease as one moves to the higher levels of the pyramid. This remains the greatest
challenge in applications of Computational Intelligence (CI).
In order to obtain the desired intelligence, correct data and many levels of processing are required. Currently the required data remain in disparate locations in heterogeneous
systems and embedded in data sources pertaining to a wide range of formats. This is illustrated in Table 6.1 provided.

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2.7.2

57

Context
The discussion given above shows that derivation of context is a requirement for

inferring intelligence from the existing knowledge. Context is understood intuitively and
there are many definitions. In ubiquitous computing, context is used to identify the person,
other objects present and resources available. Schmidt’s definition of context divides it into
two categories, human factors and physical environments (O’Grady, O’Hare, Hristova, &
Tynan, 2006). Human factors include information about users, their environment and their
current activity. Physical environment refers to current location, infrastructure available
and physical conditions. Another variation to the definition of context consists of the
elements of the user, network connectivity and the environment (Sadeh, Gandon, & Kwon,
2006). This is defined for mobile computing. The user context consists of static – a user’s
profile – and dynamic – user’s location and current activity (Pashtan, 2005).
A user choosing to undertake a particular task pertinent to spatial and temporal
bindings may imply requirement for a specific set of support services enabling the user to
complete the task on hand. In this case the task becomes the dictating component for
context derivation.

2.7.3

Ubiquitous Computing
Weiser’s vision of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) also known as pervasive com-

puting (percomp), referred to omnipresent computers in great variety, seamlessly integrated
into the environment, functioning unobtrusively relieving people from tedious tasks (Weiser,
1991). Seamless integration of computing power to assist Home User activities is the ideal
case as it provides the required services effortlessly. Ubiquity of information access, decision making and information generation by the Home User requires supporting systems and
technologies in place.
The ubiquitous computers, networks and services possibly lead to a highly computerised world characterised by pervasion of computational intelligence in the physical
world (Satyanarayanan, 2001; Yamakami, 2006). These computers in different sizes enable
people to fully concentrate on undertaking their task effortlessly (Snijders, 2005).
With the advancement of ICT, Weiser’s vision on ubicomp is becoming reality, as
evidenced by recently reported research activities. A context-aware phone system named
UbiPhone enables a user to make a phone call with a single touch from a selected contact

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list (Tsai, Wang, & Hwang, 2008). UbiPhone incorporates context derivation to identify the
location of callee; this is used to select the most appropriate communication channel and
device to connect. Callee’s social network information is used to provide callee’s nearest
person’s contact in case of an emergency call. This system collects, stores, and derives
intelligence from the locations and calls made by the user. This is a good example of simple,
but effective way of using ubiquitous computing for design of human-centric applications.
Another example of a ubiquitous system following the principles of ubicomp is a
system named Ubiquitous City Context-Aware Service Agent System (UCASS) (M. Lee et
al., 2008); this system interconnects residents within apartments with service providers in
the city to provide context-aware service. This system is more complex due to the additional
sensors installed in apartments and vehicles, and the software consisting of many modules.
These systems establish that, with the current technology, it is possible to build practical
context-aware systems providing ubiquitous intelligence services.
While ubicomp is about the physical or real world with pervasive computing, webbased services produce a cyberworld (Kunii, 2004) with an increasing number of virtualised
e-things. The integration of ubicomp with web-based computing and the resulting mutual
interactions between the real world and the virtual e-world can provide the much needed
ubiquitous or ambient intelligence for naturally mobile people (Yamakami, 2006). Devices
within an ambient intelligent environment adapt themselves to the needs of users or even
be in anticipation of future needs.
Web services address user interest in a number of categories such as general information, travel, entertainment, ecommerce and networking delivered over the Internet
(Pashtan, 2005). Users can access these services “anytime anywhere” with the wireless Internet and new generation of mobile networks that support data services, for example NTT
DoCoMo network.
This study proposes application of these technologies to develop products and
services for home and personal life management providing ubiquitous intelligence unobtrusively.

2.8

Chapter Summary
This chapter has provided an overview of developments in the HA industry during

the past quarter of a century. The author has analysed the past developments to uncover

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59

the main focus, products and services delivered and has evaluated the successes and failures.
The analysis conducted in this chapter reveals that the HA industry has been mostly driven
by technology based visions and it has failed to achieve envisaged market penetration. This
chapter has discussed the current state of HA developments and has thus provided the
present perspective of the HA industry. This study also reveals the absence of a technology
roadmap to guide the HA industry. The goal of this research is to develop a technology
roadmap that provides a systematic method to identify market needs and products meeting
market needs; this can guide industries to formulate strategic technology investment plans
based on products and services meeting market needs.
This chapter has also discussed the roadmapping process, provided a taxonomy of
roadmaps, described the generic contents of a roadmap document and evaluated the benefits of roadmapping. This chapter also discussed the lack of formal evaluation methods for
roadmaps and existing problems with roadmapping. As roadmapping is mostly initiated
from a needs-based vision created with collective input, its application in Home Automation is limited due to the existence of very diverse users and divergent industries which
are barriers to concerted collaboration. To rectify this problem, the author has proposed
integrating scenarios with roadmapping as the former provides a scientific way of creating
plausible futures. These can be used as a mechanism for learning from the future, and monitoring and reviewing the roadmap with improved accuracy. Further work can formalise the
integration of these two methods with evaluation procedures.
The last section of this chapter, Section 2.7, has provided an overview of underlying
concepts and theories applied in Ubiquitous computing as applied in the development of the
conceptual framework of UbiHoPe in Chapter 6. A basic understanding of these concepts
are essential for following the conceptual framework provided as part of this study.

Chapter 3

Research Method
The purpose of a research activity is knowledge creation. There are various research methods in practice and it is important to select the most appropriate method to
carry out the research for achieving successful outcome. This chapter presents a brief study
on existing research methods and this knowledge is used to ensure that an appropriate research method is chosen. This chapter also provides information on the research design and
implementation followed in this study. This research follows a qualitative research method
integrating roadmapping and scenarios. Steps involved in following this research method
are discussed in this chapter.
Section 3.1 discusses different types of research methods, the steps involved in carrying out the research activity and possible evaluation methods. Section 3.2 introduces the
structure and implementation steps of the research process followed in this study. Section
3.3 describes the method used to identify market segments using the concept of Family
Life Cycle. This section also details the development of the system model using process
modelling techniques and the analysis carried out using UML activity diagrams and use
case diagram. Section 3.3.2 describes the use of the scenario technique to learn future
home user lifestyle trends. Section 3.3.3 explains Requirement Elicitation of Future Users
by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS), developed as part of this study to derive the process automation needs from the system analysis results and the scenarios. Section 3.4 elaborates
how the concepts of new products and services are derived using conceptual modelling and
Section 3.5 describes the method used in arriving at technology needs and technology investment strategies. Section 3.6 provides a brief discussion on evaluation of this thesis and
the roadmap developed.
60

Chapter 3: Research Method

3.1

61

Research Methodology
Research activity can be viewed as building a house in a forest, for analogy; forest

is disorderly, difficult to explore quickly and the source of resources. The house builder needs
to select suitable site, collect necessary components, and put them together. This requires
tools, techniques, and structured procedures. In the same way an investigator desiring to
create knowledge from a field of mostly unknown characteristics requires an appropriate
research method that can guide the investigator in the knowledge creation process. A
research method is the guidance for carrying out the investigation in an effective way to
ensure yielding the perceived outcome.
Research methods are classified as quantitative, qualitative, and mixed where a
combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches are applied. Quantitative research
relates key aspects or properties, states or characters using quantified variables whereas
qualitative research rigorously examines processes and meanings to identify properties, and
key variables (Labuschagne, 2009). The choice of a method depends on the outcome to be
achieved and the type of knowledge to be created. If the researcher makes knowledge claims
on pragmatic grounds–problem-oriented, consequence-oriented– mixed method approach is
the one to follow. The categorisation of the research method is also based on the data collection methods used. Qualitative methods use data collected from smaller population, but
with richer detail. Example strategies used for qualitative research include ethnographies,
grounded theory, case studies, phenomenological research, and narrative research. Mixed
method research uses one of sequential procedures, concurrent procedures or transformative procedures and these classifications are based on the order of use of quantitative and
qualitative methods (Creswell, 2003).
Research method defines data collection, analysis and formulation of results, and
validation of results. Research can be viewed as an input-process-output paradigm. The
input is decided by the data collection that include the sources of data, sampling related
details, and method of collecting data. Technology roadmapping in itself is an approach to
research from the point of view of intended pragmatic knowledge creation and a methodology
or strategy that governs choice of methods. Technology roadmapping falls into the category
of qualitative method approach due to the need for in-dept, richer data required for the
system modelling and statistical data required for the market identification. This is also
verified by the statement of ”technology roadmapping can be seen as a tool for research”

Chapter 3: Research Method

62

(Wimmer, Codagnone, & Ma, 2007).
The purpose of technology roadmapping is to produce a roadmap that will be
implemented during the next 10-15 years. Due to this longer time span involved for the
intended use of outcome from this work, roadmapping requires futures study. Scenarios is
gaining popularity in futures research as it helps to create images of desirable futures and
scenarios are multifaceted and holistic (Weingand, 1995). There are different approaches
used in the construction of scenarios such as Delphi method, iteration-through synopsis
and cross-impact technique. Scenarios constructed following cross-impact technique uses
quantitative measures to establish cross-impact of one aspect on all other aspects. As
the scenarios provide richer details of plausible futures, this method follows transformative
procedures as it uses both quantitative and qualitative data (Creswell, 2003). Technology
roadmapping and scenarios are generally considered as qualitative research methods for
futures study (Wimmer et al., 2007; Bishop et al., 2007).

3.1.1

Data Collection
Considering the analogy of building a house in the forest, a house built using

leaves alone will not be in shape or useful. Similarly, correctly chosen sources and extracted
data are critical for producing the desired outcome of the research. This itself can be an
assurance for the reliability and validity of the research outcome.
Qualitative research uses data collected mainly using in-dept open-ended interviews, direct observation, focus group interviews, and written documents (Labuschagne,
2009). This study has deviated from this general method of data collection for the following reasons.
1. Limitation to demographically biased data
2. Unsuccessful research outcomes of previous studies following such data collection in
HA
3. Aim to develop theoretically founded framework abstracting specific user characteristics
4. Objective to develop a top-down approach
Therefore, this study has collected data on all aspects of home and personal life,
from existing literature in various fields including HA, health, education, diet, information

Chapter 3: Research Method

63

and communication technology, social sciences, national and international statistical studies.
The vast references used to arrive at conclusive input became the strength of this thesis in
shaping the final outcome to the desired quality.

3.1.2

Analysis
As this work has followed the research methods of technology roadmapping and

scenarios from futures studies, data analysis is carried out using the generic procedures
available within these research methods. These generic procedures are customised and
linked, to suit this study as explained in the following sections. Process modelling techniques
applied here are well accepted method for requirement analysis of information systems. The
available process modelling technique is customised with extensions to suit this study.
In case of scenarios, data analysis, and scenario building are carried out following
scenario technique developed by Van der Heijden (Heijden, 2005). This technique is widely
used by consultants and organisations (Bishop et al., 2007).

3.1.3

Reliability and Validity
Re-visiting the analogy of building a house in the forest, the validity of this exercise

depends on the house that is in shape and useful. The reliability of the house is generally
examined by the quality of supporting frames and the building procedures used. The quality
of material used and visible features are proof of validity to an extend.
One measure of successful research outcome is objectivity and this could be demonstrated by reporting theoretically sound results (Kirk & Miller., 1986). In qualitative research reliability is defined as ”the degree to which the finding is independent of accidental
circumstances and validity is the degree to which the finding is interpreted in a correct
way” (Kirk & Miller., 1986). The validity can be further understood from the notions of
”apparent validity, instrumental validity, and theoretical validity” (Kirk & Miller., 1986).
The notion of apparent validity is illusory as the name implies, while instrumental validity is based on criterion or can be referred to as pragmatic. Theoretical validity can be
established based on the procedures followed.

Chapter 3: Research Method

3.2

64

Research Design and Implementation
The literature review conducted in Chapter 2 establishes the need for a technology

roadmap for Home Automation. This study seeks to develop an Initial Technology Roadmap
for Home Automation (ITRHA) that identifies the market needs, products to satisfy these
needs, and technology investment strategies. A technology roadmap is developed using
roadmapping, a customisable learning process that assists innovation and knowledge creation (Probert & Radnor, 2003; Li & Kameoka, 2003). The discussion provided in Section
3.1 also establishes that roadmapping integrated with scenarios is a qualitative research
method that can be followed.
Technology roadmapping provides a high level framework, but procedural details
need to be developed for each application. To rectify the lack of formal methods for eliciting
user requirements and user need variations over the years, this study has developed a
novel method integrating process modelling and scenario technique within the framework
of roadmapping. Chapter 2.6 provides a detailed discussion on roadmapping and scenarios.
The initial roadmap pioneered in this work is exploratory in nature. The following steps are used to develop the ITRHA and these steps forms the research design that
integrates roadmapping and scenarios.
1. Identify market and market needs
2. Identify potential products and services
3. Investigate technology needs and technology investment strategies
The output from each of these steps and intermediate steps forms part of the
ITRHA document. As these steps define only the output to be produced and there are no
standardised and coherent methods available as part of the roadmapping process, the author
has devised suitable methods for each of the steps. The above listed steps with methods
devised by the author and the existing formal methods used are illustrated in Figure 3.1.
There are no existing formal method for the identification of market and market
needs; this is one of the major problems faced by the HA industry. Moreover, there is no
existing procedure to identify future market needs required in strategic planning for technology investment in HA. To address these problems this study has developed a unique method
consisting of a number of cohesive stages theoretically founded on formal procedures.

Chapter 3: Research Method

65

Identification of
Market and Market
Needs

Identification of
Influence Factors
Creation of
Impact/Predictability
Graph

Generation of Future
Lifestyle Scenarios

Definition of Family
Life Cycle
Development of
Family System

Analysis of
Processes within
Family System

Derivation of Process
Automation Needs

Derivation of
Products & Services

Identification of
Technology Needs and
Technology Investment
Strategies

Figure 3.1: Steps In Research Method

Process
Modelling

Use Case
Diagram and
Activity Diagram

Requirement
Elictation of Future
Users by Systems
Scenario (REFUSS)

Chapter 3: Research Method

3.3

66

Identification of Market and Market Needs
Identification of market and market needs involves deriving user requirements.

This task is extremely complex due to the large diversity of users demographically, socially,
economically and culturally. The market consist of various home users and the market
needs are dependent on the processes or functions carried out by these users. Successful
identification of market needs requires knowledge of current processes and users as well as
evolution of these two components along the chosen time line of 10–15 years. A systematic
identification of market segments requires knowledge about the users and the activities
carried out by the different user categories; this can be used to understand the plausible
market size variations along the time line.
For this purpose a concept of Family Life Cycle is defined. This concept depicts
the dynamism and temporal requirements of a family by identifying distinguishable stages
and associated responsibilities undertaken by a family as it evolves through time. Understanding distinguishable stages of the family life are necessary to obtain insight into varying
functionalities and resulting alterations in home user requirements. This information is used
to segregate market segments from the total population. For example a family in Phase 3
maps to families with children below 18 years of age. Target market size estimations are
done by applying this knowledge to available census data.

3.3.1

System Modelling and Analysis
It is required to define the context, scope, and boundaries of the roadmap. A

system model is required as the scope can be clearly understood by analysing the system
and exposing the processes within the system. Implementation of a technology roadmap is
a long-term undertaking and during this period many reviews, evaluations, re-assessment
and update of the roadmap are required. These activities can be carried out only with
comprehensive documentation of system details. A systemic approach has not been followed
in past developments in HA and therefore a full system view is unavailable. Discussion
provided in Section 2.4 establishes that methods such as ethnographic study, and surveying
have been used in previous studies, with the results revealing very limited information on
home user requirements. Such results lacked a top level view covering all aspects of home
life and could not be used for building an abstract model to represent all home users –
processes, environment, and boundaries. A system model can be used to establish the

Chapter 3: Research Method

External Entity

System or
Process

Hybrid Process

67

Data Flow

Resource Flow

Data Store

Resource Store

Figure 3.2: Symbols Used In Diagrams of Family System Reference Model
theoretical foundation and a framework for further work. Therefore, the primary step
required is to define the targeted system that can be further decomposed into subsystems,
and processes in its defined environment using systems analysis. The following sections
describe how this model is developed and used as part of the roadmapping process.
Process Modelling
Process modelling has been the chosen approach for defining the system model;
the Data Flow Diagram (DFD) following Gane and Sarson symbol set is used for communicating the model as this provides the most suitable technique to depict the whole system, its
boundary, entities, processes and interaction with external systems (Valacich et al., 2001;
Shelly et al., 2006). Process Modelling is a methodology used in structured analysis to elicit
information system requirements by decomposing the system into processes that receive,
manipulate, and send data. From study conducted on modelling approaches used for systems analysis, it is found that process-oriented models are appropriate to uncover processes
and object-oriented models are well suited when the focus is on structure (Agarwal, De, &
Sinha, 1999). The original Gane and Sarson symbol set is extended to include symbols for
resource flow, resource store, hard process, and hybrid process, meeting the requirements
of this study. The notations used in the DFDs to represent different elements are depicted
in Figure 3.2.

Chapter 3: Research Method

68

Family System Reference Model
The system development is based on families and extended to other households.
As the HA market consists users who are extremely diverse demographically, culturally,
politically and economically, it is essential to identify market needs that are immune to or
persistent in spite of these diversities. A detailed analysis of householders and especially
families is conducted to expose very fundamental and most commonly occurring processes,
input requirements of these processes, sources of inputs, output destination, and other
environmental factors affecting these processes. A Family in Phase 3 of the Family Life
Cycle is used for the modelling purpose as in this phase a Family uses maximum services
and has the most complex process use.
The author has developed a reference model named Family System using this
knowledge and applying process modelling techniques; this model defines the terminology,
and concepts as well as identifies important processes, communication, and subsystems. The
environment or context of the Family System (FS) is established by identifying elements
external to Family, defined as External Entities, and the interaction of FS with External
Entities. Family Process is defined to represent tasks carried out by family members. The
interaction between Family and External Entities is used to understand the context of the
Family System; seven major Family Processes are identified that encompass most aspects
of home life. Seven subsystems are identified within the FS managing the Family Processes
and these are further analysed to understand the details of processes involving labour,
information management processes and intellectual tasks.
Use Case Diagram and Activity Diagram
The modelling and analysis carried out using process modelling provides a static
view of the system detailing its context, subsystems, processes, and data flows. As this is a
static view, information on beginning and end of process, control signals, and distinction of
different resources are absent. The author has chosen Meals subsystem as an example for
analysing the dynamic view of the processes as this is a complex and essential subsystem.
Business process modelling techniques, following the Eriksson-Penker Business Extension
of UML activity diagrams, are used to depict dynamic view of processes within the Meals
subsystem (Eriksson & Penker, 2000). The Eriksson-Penker extension is the most suitable
technique to illustrate the input, processes, output and object flow in a simple format that

Chapter 3: Research Method

69

can be followed by a wider audience other than information system specialists. Use case
diagram following UML notation is used to illustrate the user view in the case of automating
identified processes within a subsystem (Object Management Group Inc., 2004).
Four main subprocesses within the Meals subsystem involving intellectual tasks are
analysed extensively, exposing the details of process execution, use of resources at various
stages, required user interaction and control signals. A use case diagram following UML
notation is used to depict a user view of the Meals subsystem, clearly illustrating the
functions executing the identified processes and the required user interaction. These detailed
analyses are used to explore the process automation opportunities and resources required
for automating the process in terms of input data. They are also used to reveal the user
involvement in process execution.

3.3.2

Scenarios
The user requirements or market needs for HA products and services are invariably

dependent on the prevailing lifestyle of home users, which is influenced by a large number of
social, environmental, economical, and political factors. Scenario technique is an effective
method when used in conjunction with roadmapping to get insight into possible products
or product needs, especially in uncertain, dynamic environments (Strauss & Radnor, 2004;
Bray & Garcia, 2004). Scenarios are developed to understand the plausible future lifestyles
of home users and the market drivers influencing these lifestyles. Van der Heijden’s approach
is followed in developing scenarios (Heijden, 2005) where an impact/predictability graph is
used to rank the external influence factors. Scenarios are created from the future projections
of these factors. Refer to Section 2.6.5 for a full discussion of this approach.
Market Drivers
The lifestyle followed by home users are dependent on many environmental factors
which influence the market need; the most influential factors are considered as the market
drivers. A large number of drivers that are issues or trends are identified that influence home
user lifestyle based on statistical data and other literature. Twelve to fifteen influence factors
that have a major impact on the lifestyle are chosen. The derivation of market drivers is
provided in Section 5.5.
Each one of the market drivers chosen is given a priority number between the

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70

range of 0 and 3 inclusive. An influence matrix is used to map the values of the chosen
factors, interrelate the variations on these factors and obtain the total impact of a factor
on other factors as well as how much a factor is totally impacted or uncertain. An impact/predictability graph developed using the values from the influence matrix is used to
identify the most impacting or uncertain drivers.
This graph serves as a basis for developing a number of future lifestyle scenarios
that can be used to visualise plausible lifestyles that may emerge in the next 15 to 20 years.
Three future home lifestyle scenarios are developed by contemplating positive and negative
variations to the drivers.
The development of future lifestyle trends using the scenario technique is also
used in deriving products that can satisfy user needs. A number of automation scenarios
are created that provide intuitive ideas on new products.

3.3.3

Derivation of Process Automation Needs
The requirement here is the formulation of a futuristic vision identifying areas of

everyday home life where automation can be of assistance.
The system model provides information on the current processes and input/ouput
requirements and thus process knowledge. Scenarios provide information on the future
lifestyle trends of home users. It is essential to relate the process knowledge with user
related information to derive the automation needs suitable for users following a specific
lifestyle. Currently, a formal method is absent to achieve this essential requirement.
Requirement Elicitation of Future Users by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS)
Requirement Elicitation for Future Users by Systems Scenarios (REFUSS) is a new
method developed as part of this study to rectify the above mentioned deficiency. It provides
a systematic way of deriving automation requirements by relating the process knowledge
and characteristics of future users following a particular lifestyle. Following REFUSS the
process knowledge obtained from system analysis is used to extract a list of Process Attributes that describe the nature of a process from the users’ perspective. A number of User
Characteristics that describe the state of a user following a particular lifestyle are identified. Demanding Process Attribute defines processes that can be difficult to execute due to
the particular User Characteristics of home users following a particular lifestyle. Following

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71

these definitions and norms, processes having Demanding Process Attributes becomes the
target for automation.
REFUSS provides a framework to understand, communicate, evaluate and reassess the process automation needs with theoretical foundation. One of the important
aspect of a technology roadmap is the strategic planning involved with a long-term futuristic
vision and the requirement for regular review and update. The formal and systematic way
of deriving automation targets using REFUSS ensures that any time during implementation
of the roadmap there is a well-defined documentation providing logical reasoning for review
and update.

3.4

Identification of Potential Products and Services
The task here is to convert these process automation needs into feasible products

and services that can be marketed successfully. The requirement here is to group processes to
be automated and identify components or systems to achieve the transformation. Derivation
of new products and services is largely an innovative task and there are no standardised
methods to apply here. As the roadmap developed is more exploratory in nature, many
product ideas and service opportunities are exposed, rather than just detailing one product.

3.4.1

Development of a Conceptual Framework and Architecture for Home
Information Management
The development of a conceptual framework for automation of many of the iden-

tified Soft Processes establishes more explicit ideas on potential products and services. The
systems analysis conducted at the beginning revealed the amount of information processing
done during daily life and the criticality of information management and intelligent decision
making for efficient and smooth functioning of a household. Knowledge obtained from the
detailed analysis of the Family system, the automation needs of Soft Processes derived using
the REFUSS, and the Home user ubiquity and requirement for ubiquitous intelligence and
computing are used to develop the conceptual framework for the Ubiquitous Intelligence
System named UbiHoPe.

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72

eHome model
A conceptual model named eHome is taken as the central unit of UbiHoPe facilitating many of the functional requirements. The eHome model illustrates the functionality
of a system providing automated information management facilities and the technical layers
required for such a system. The eHome model serves the purpose of communicating the
objectives and assists in conveying potential opportunities for product or service development.
The UbiHoPe framework provides details of potential product automating information management and intelligence services, the hardware and software components required,
the modifications required for existing Point of Sale Terminal, and the potential role of a
Home Information Service Provider (HISP).

3.4.2

Derivation of other product ideas
Knowledge obtained from system analysis is used to categorise the Family Process

into three sets: processes involving labour, processes involving information management,
and processes requiring both labour and information.
From the knowledge of the labour intensive processes and the study of literature
exploring automation opportunities a number of potential products are identified.

3.5

Investigation of Technology Needs and Technology Investment Strategies
A technology roadmap serves as a communication tool to express the objectives

and the reason for investing in technology. Home is a place where multiple technologies
converge and this makes the analysis and derivation of technology needs more complex.
The eHome model is used for further analysis in understanding and deriving technology
needs for product ideas automating Soft Processes.
The eHome model is used to expose the functions, input data requirements, data
processing and storage requirements, and the potential software requirements. This model
also clearly reveals data sources and data conversions involved and the modifications required to existing systems or components. This model is used to derive the technology
needs for a potential implementation that automates some of the information management

Chapter 3: Research Method

73

related services.

3.5.1

Technology Requirements
Detailed study of components in the eHome reveals the technology requirements

if the eHome model is to be developed into a fully functional system providing complete
automation of information management services for a household.
Detailed study of current technology in data extraction and information integration
is conducted to understand the technology gaps and further research and development
requirements. In view of the home users’ problems in data entry the data requirement
and data sources are studied. The large number of data sources originating from service
providers as identified in External Entities are also investigated for the type and format of
the input data. The knowledge obtained from these studies is used to derive technology
needs for implementing the eHome. A brief study of web service technology is also conducted
to identify the gaps and requirement for technology investment.
The other products identified belong to the robotics area. Current capabilities of
robotics technology are studied to derive problems in materialising the proposed products.
From this study it is found that there are gaps, so technology investment strategies are
suggested for developing the proposed products in an incremental fashion.

3.6

Evaluation
This research has followed qualitative research method integrating roadmapping

with scenarios. Evaluation of the outcome of this study can be done using theoretical validity
and objectivity as discussed in Section 3.1. The output from this study is a technology
roadmap the quality of the roadmap produced could be assessed using the criteria for
assessment of roadmaps as discussed in Section 2.6.2.
The research method described in the previous sections is customised to suit this
specific study. It is ensured that there is theoretical foundation and that the output quality is
achieved. As there are no objective tests to measure the quality of output or the effectiveness
of roadmapping process, it is difficult to prove these. It is also important to understand
that “There are no primary physical reference standards against which one can benchmark
the roadmap product” (Kostoff & Schaller, 2001). The actual deployment of a roadmap

Chapter 3: Research Method

74

may take over a decade and just achieving the predicted result may not ensure that the
roadmap has been developed based on the best possible vision.
Futuristic vision formed by innovative product ideas, best technology investment
suggestions, clear understanding of current technology capability, and right selection of
technology areas are some of the measures for a good roadmap. Other requirements are
global data awareness, and the new knowledge produced by the roadmapping process. At
the initial stage assessment can be based on the logical correctness and transparency of
methods followed, and on the quality of data used. These measures are as per the discussions
provided in Section 2.6.2 on the assessment of roadmap.
Based on the above facts the results of this study can be evaluated using the
following criteria:
1. Objectivity
This is to ensure that the objectives listed in the beginning of the work have been
achieved in a systematic way.
2. Theoretical Validity
This is the basis for the reliability of the results to ensure that the outcome is not
reached by “accidental circumstances” (Kirk & Miller., 1986). This is further reinforced from the fact that theoretical validity depends on the procedures followed.
These procedures refer to analysis techniques followed and interpretation of results
from the analysis.
3. Assessment of roadmap
A number of criteria are listed in Section 2.6.2 and these include understanding of the
evolution of technology linking the past, present and plausible future development.
This could be verified by the suggested products and their proposed technology needs.
It is essential to understand the past and present technology capability to propose
products that could be developed with reasonable technology investment. Another
criterion is the use of global data and this ensures the quality of data used for analysis.
A roadmap being an operational tool it can be assessed against the proposed future
actions in terms of technology investment leading to innovative products with target
market.

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75

Using the above mentioned criteria the roadmap produced as part of this study formulates
vision with innovative product ideas and creates a new perspective to the HA industry.
The roadmapping process followed in this study has developed theoretically founded formal
methods. Referring to Section 3.1, theoretical validity is the measure of evaluation in case
of qualitative research.

3.7

Chapter Summary
An overview research methodology provided in Section 3.1 of this chapter is used

to establish the appropriateness of research method chosen for this study. This chapter has
discussed in detail the research method used in establishing the appropriateness for systematically solving the defined research problem. Section 3.2 discusses the research design and
the steps used in implementing this research work. Section 3.3 describes the development of
the Family System reference model and the use of REFUSS to identify market needs integrating the process knowledge and user characteristics derived from scenarios. Conceptual
modelling used for converting the identified process automation needs to potential products
are discussed in Section 3.4. Methods used for identifying technology gaps and technology
investment needs are discussed in Section 3.5. Section 3.6 discusses applicable evaluation
criteria. The methods discussed in this chapter are systematically followed in the following
chapters to formulate the ITRHA. The following chapter presents the system model used
to define the context and scope.

Chapter 4

Family System Reference Model
The primary step, required in the development of a technology roadmap, is to
define the context, scope, and boundaries of the targeted system; this requires the targeted
system to be defined (Bray & Garcia, 1997). As evident from the discussion provided
in Section 2.5.3, a systemic approach has not been followed in past developments in HA,
therefore full system view is unavailable. A well defined system is required for further
analysis to understand user requirements and thus derive market needs. The system model
and analysis details form part of the roadmap document that is essential for future review
and updating of the roadmap (Probert & Radnor, 2003). This study follows a unique and
novel method applying modelling technique to develop a system model that can be used to
understand the processes and automation issues. This is in view of obtaining only partial
information on user requirements by applying user involved methods as depicted in Sections
2.4.2 and 2.4.3. It is required to define a system encompassing overall aspects of home life,
providing a full system view that can be used for further analysis and decomposition.
This chapter presents a reference model named Family System for the purpose of
formally defining the context, scope, and boundaries of the roadmap. The Family System
can be used to understand user requirements and thus identify products and services that
meet realistic user needs. Section 4.1 defines the family and home user as well as the concept
of the Family Life Cycle to depict the dynamism and temporal requirements of a family.
Section 4.2 defines the boundary of the Family System, the different types of processes, and
the entities external to the Family System, illustrates the interaction of Family System with
the external entities and identifies processes within the Family System. Section 4.3 identifies
seven subsystems managing these processes and analyses the subsystems in detail, revealing
76

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

77

subprocesses, inputs required for these, output produced and data storage requirements. A
very detailed analysis of Meals Subsystem is carried out in Section 4.4 using UML Use
Case diagrams and activity diagrams exposing process resources and control signals and
the interaction of users. Section 4.5 conducts a study of the analysis results by highlighting
the home information management needs, user mobility and need for ubiquitous information
access.

4.1

Family Focus
In the Home Automation Industry, “home” is almost interchangeably used to

refer to a family as well as a dwelling place. Before proceeding further it is important to
distinguish between the words home and family. The theoretical definition of home is a
dwelling place and generally used for a building where people live.

4.1.1

Family

Definition 4.1 Family is referred to as the traditional structured society consisting of one
or two parents and their children.
Any person belonging to this structured society is called a family member.
Definition 4.2 Home User is any person who owns and or occupies a home and uses the
products and services of the HA industry.
A Home User is not necessarily a family member, but a family member is a Home User. A
Home User occupying a house in one location can be a family member of a family located
in another geographic location that may be in another country.
Family is a dynamic system moving through time and members of a family share
history and future with at least three and often four or even five generations (McGoldrick
& Carter, 2003). The concept of Family Life Cycle is used to identify important stages in
family life as it evolves through time. Understanding distinguishable stages of the family
life is necessary to obtain insight into varying functionalities and resulting alterations in
requirements.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

78

Phase 1
Income Generation, Household
Maintenance, Diet, Recreation

Phase 5 :
Health Care, Household
Maintenance, Diet,
Entertainment

Phase 4:
Income Generation, Diet, School/
Tertiary Education, Health Care,
Household Maintenance

Phase 2
Income Generation, Household
Maintenance, Diet, Child care,
Health Care, Recreation

Phase 3
Income Generation, Education,
Household Maintenance, Diet, Child care,
Health Care, Recreation

Figure 4.1: Family Life Cycle: Different Phases and Prominent Responsibilities in Each
Phase

4.1.2

Family Life Cycle
Union of two committed adults marks the beginning of the Family Life Cycle.

There are variations to this traditional concept but this concept is followed here for simplicity. A family has a growing stage, when responsibilities keep increasing due to addition
of members by child birth or adoption, and the growing needs of offsprings. It goes through
a shrinking stage when responsibilities reduce, as members are lost due to death or adult
members leave the family to start independent life resulting in extended family. This study
accounts family as a mobile unit and a family may occupy different houses located in various
parts of the world for reasons such as business, employment, or education. In this study
the Family Life Cycle is defined with the following distinguishable phases:
• Phase One: Union of Committed Couple. In this phase main responsibilities of the

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

79

couple are earning income, maintaining a balanced diet, household maintenance and
recreation.
• Phase Two: Family with young child/children. Phase Two is marked with the addition
of children to the family bringing increased responsibilities of child care. Health care
becomes more complex with extra tasks and the same applies to the maintenance of
balanced diet.
• Phase Three: Family with school-going children. In Phase Three the family is confronted with additional responsibility as the child or children commence schooling.
A family in this phase could have very demanding responsibilities in terms of time
and resources as child care needs of younger children can be overlapping with school
education of elder ones.
• Phase Four: Family with adolescents. This can be considered as the beginning of the
shrinking stage as the child care responsibilities are completed. Strategic management
of time and money are critical in this phase to satisfy the requirements of children
involved in formal education and extra-curricular activities.
• Phase Five: Family in later life (McGoldrick & Carter, 2003). Retired couple have
fewer responsibilities compared to the family in previous phases. Health care becomes
an important aspect as well as social life.
The progress of family through phase one to phase five engaging in various areas
of responsibilities is illustrated in Fig. 4.1.

4.2

Family System
This section introduces a model named Family System by depicting Family as one

system interacting with elements outside family. The reference model defines the terminology, and concepts as well as identifies important processes, communication and subsystems.
Process modelling has been the chosen approach for defining the model and Data Flow
Diagram following Gane and Sarson symbol set is used for communicating the model as
this provides the most suitable technique to depict the whole system, its boundary, entities,
processes and interaction with external systems (Valacich et al., 2001; Shelly et al., 2006).
The Gane and Sarson symbol set is extended to include symbols for resource flow, resource

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

80

store and hybrid process to suit this work. The symbols used in the diagrams are illustrated
in Figure 3.2. This model is not a design specification for developing a system; rather, it
provides a framework that defines the context, scope and boundaries of the targeted system
for Technology Roadmapping purpose.
This study has chosen family to represent the current user for the modelling purposes, as family has the maximum complexity in terms of activities handling responsibilities,
interaction with external elements, resources usage, and dynamism, compared to the individual Home User. Commencing with a model having maximum complexity, it is easy to
modify the model to represent other Home Users having lesser responsibilities.
The Family System (FS) exists in an environment and systems external to FS
impact the performance of the FS. The environment of FS can be understood by identifying
systems external to Family and the interaction of FS with those systems or elements.
Definition 4.3 An External Entity is any functional unit that provides and or receives any
form of service or goods to the family and is not part of the Family.
Definition 4.4 Data flow is any input received or any output sent by the Family System,
subsystems or processes within Family System that can be represented in electronic form.
Definition 4.5 Resource flow is any material input received or any output sent by the
Family System, subsystems or processes within Family System that cannot be represented,
stored or transmitted in electronic form via a computer network.
Definition 4.6 Data Store is any input, output or intermediate results that are stored in
electronic form.
Definition 4.7 Resource Store is any material stock that cannot be stored in electronic
form.
Definition 4.8 Soft Process is any process that has only Data flows as input and output.
Definition 4.9 Hard Process is any process that has only Resource flows as input and
output.
Definition 4.10 Hybrid Process is any process that has both Data flows and Resource flows
as input and or output.

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There are variations to the number of services used by the Family, External Entities
involved and the interaction with External Entities in different phases of the Family Life
Cycle. For the modelling purpose a Family in Phase 3 is considered, as this phase is at the
top of the growing stage having increased complexity in responsibilities undertaken by the
Family.
Based on this and the definitions above, External Entities considered in this research are:
1. Finance Service Providers
2. Insurance Providers
3. Energy Suppliers
4. Health Service Providers
5. Government Agencies
6. Education Service Providers
7. Child Care Facilitators
8. Professional Bodies
9. Employer / Potential Employers
10. Communication Facilitators
11. Product Suppliers
12. Extended Families and Friends
13. Religious / Social Groups.
The list of External Entities provided above is not exhaustive. An External Entity
can be added or removed from the environment of FS based on its interaction with the
Family System.

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Interaction of Family System with External Entities
An overall view of the Family System interacting with External Entities is depicted by identifying the Data flows as shown in Fig. 4.2. Understanding the Data flows
between the Family System and the External Entities can be used to analyse the volume
and frequency of data communication leading to information management tasks. Resource
flows are not shown at this level of the model for clarity and simplicity.

4.2.1

Family System Processes

Definition 4.11 A Family Process is a set of related activities carried out by family member/s providing input to produce defined output and this can be done regularly or occasionally.
Even though Family Process is defined in perspective of Family most of the processes identified can be customised to meet the needs of other Home Users who do not
belong to structured families. This study has identified seven Family Processes as listed
below.
1. Managing Finance
2. Planning and Preparing Meals
3. Family Health Care
4. Supporting Formal Education
5. Household Maintenance
6. Engaging In Occupation
7. Recreation and Social Life Maintenance
Each of the above listed processes is briefly described below.
Managing Finance
Definition 4.12 Managing Finance includes all activities carried out by family members,
individually or in group, that are money related.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

Product& Service Details
Special Notification
Monthly Statements
Transaction Records
Applications / Enquiries
Contact Details

Finance
Service
Providers

Other Notification
Progress Report
Fee Invoice
News Letter
Application For Admission
School Fees
Leave Application
Parental Notes
Carer Fees
Service Information
Carer Payment

Application
Invoice
Renewal Notice
Insurance Policy
Payment

Insurance
Providers

Supply Request
Usage Bill
Bill Payment
Fault Report
Contact Information

Energy
Suppliers

Communication
Facilitators

Service Request
Bill
Supply Charges
Product Information
Service Problem
Personal Details
Event Notification
News and Events

Education
Service
Providers

Child Care
Facilitators

Care Application

Tax Return
Election Notice
Council Rent Notice
Rent Payment
Tax Information
Vehicle Reg. Notice

Government
Agencies

Extended
Families /
Friends

83

Family System

Prescription
Medical Report
Appointment Request
Medical Charges
Physician Details
Medical Payment

Health
Service
Providers

Job Contract
Employer Details
Remuneration
Job Application

Employer/
Potential
Employers

Fee Notice
Membership
Events Notification
Membership Application
Membership
Payment
News & Events
Purchase List
Purchase Receipt
Manuals
Price Payment
Warranty

Figure 4.2: Interaction of Family System with External Entities

Professional
Bodies/
Social
Groups

Grocery/
Product
Suppliers

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

84

These activities include making payments to External Entities, receiving remuneration,
budgeting, monitoring expenditure, account keeping, investing and strategic planning on
income generation and spending. Information management tasks of data collection, recording, and reporting as well as knowledge extraction and decision making play a major role
in Managing Finance that is essential for a happy and successful family life.
Planning and Preparing Meals
Definition 4.13 Planning and Preparing Meals includes all activities carried out by family
member/s individually or in group that are related to food.
These activities include administering grocery shopping list, purchasing grocery, inventory
control, deciding menu for meals, following formulated diet, cooking, and cleaning kitchen
area and utensils. Meals include main meals as well as snacks and drinks consumed by
members of the family, as per customs or practices followed. Collecting and storing complete
information on food products and recipes and mapping them to the individual needs of
family members is necessary to regularly follow a formulated balanced diet.
Family Health Care
Definition 4.14 Family Health Care includes all activities carried out by family member/s
individually or in group to ensure good health for each of the family members.
These activities include monitoring health check parameters such as weight, blood pressure etc., consulting doctor, obtaining vaccinations, purchase and consumption of medicine,
monitoring of diet and exercise, and maintaining health records. Other tasks included are
personal care, maintenance of appropriate clothing, and body hygiene. Generally, health
records remain with health practitioners and the medical history of a person may be scattered among different heath practitioners in different geographical locations.
Supporting Formal Education
Definition 4.15 Supporting Formal Education includes all activities undertaken by family
members to support formal school and or tertiary education of offsprings.
Children’s education is a major responsibility for parents and it can span a period of twenty
years or more in the case of a family with more than one child. Adult members of the

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

85

family updating their skills can also be part of this process. During this period, parents
are responsible for maintaining regular communication with Education Service Providers –
receiving forms, newsletters, periodical progress reports, invoices, and other details. It is
also required, on a regular basis, to monitor school events, schedule time to attend required
events and provide assistance with home studies, get money allocated and monitor academic
performance.
Household Maintenance
Definition 4.16 Household Maintenance includes all activities carried out by family member/s to maintain a house and vehicle/s, if any, that are functioning well to provide a safe
and comfortable environment and transport for the family.
The house may be owner occupied, leased or rented. Main tasks involved are
organising utility services, paying bills, recording equipment purchase details, organising
insurance and premium payment, monitoring and control lighting, security and HVAC,
undertaking cleaning and repairs of household appliances and vehicles if any, and organising
supply of consumables and other amenities.
Engaging In Occupation
Definition 4.17 Engaging In Occupation includes all activities carried out by family member/s to identify, obtain, prosper and maintain occupation with remuneration.
Adult members in a Family are engaged in occupation. This could be a business run by
the Family and in this case, custom made software is generally used for various aspects
of the system. This study considers cases where member/s of the family are engaged
in paid employment. This necessitates recording employer details, preparing applications
and resume, and storing appointment letters and other formal notifications received from
employer, recording and maintaining potential employers’ list, and monitoring job market.
Recreation and Social Life Maintenance
Definition 4.18 Recreation and Social life Maintenance includes all activities undertaken
by family members to organise social activities, and maintain social life.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

86

This process is responsible for maintaining contacts with extended families, social
groups, and friends, and organising activities such as social gatherings, sporting events,
and holiday trips. The most important task is to record contact details, important events
such as birthdays, and anniversaries, update details, and record important correspondence.
Producing timely reminders and scheduling time to attend events are also part of this
process.

4.3

Subsystems Within The Family System
The main Family System is divided into seven subsystems such that each one of

the processes described above is managed by one subsystem. Process operation requires
resources and interface to send/receive output/input. The subsystem is responsible for
resource management for the smooth execution of the process and has the necessary interface
allowing interaction with other processes and relevant External Entities. The subsystems
considered are:
1. Finance
2. Housing and Transport
3. Meals
4. Health
5. Education
6. Career and
7. Recreation and Socialisation.
Each of these subsystems interfaces with one or more other subsystems for the
overall smooth functioning of the Family System. The subsystems identified and Data flows
between subsystems and External Entities are illustrated in Figure 4.3. The use of subsystems is for the simplicity of further analysis and for the convenience of focusing on each
part at a time. It provides modularity for any future system development and implementation efforts in automating the processes. Detailed analysis of each of the subsystems is
carried out to reveal the subprocesses, input/output requirements, and interaction between
subsystems and External Entities.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

1

Application
Invoice
Renewal Notice
Insurance Policy
Payment

Insurance
Providers

Government
Agencies

Product
Suppliers

Employer Details
Remuneration

Housing
&
Transport
Educational
Requirement

Product Information
Service Request
l
i
a
t
e
D
s
g
n
i

Tax Information
Election Notice
Council Rent Notice
Vehicle Reg. Notice
Tax Return
Rent Payment

n
r
a
E

News Letter

t
n
e

m
m e
o r
i
c
u
n
I
q
e
R

Manuals
Purchase Receipt
Purchase Payment
Purchase List

Care Application
Care Payment
Service Information
s
e
s
n
e
p
x
E

Expense
Utility
Approval Expenses

4

Special Notification
Product & Service Details
Monthly Statements
Transaction Records
Applications
Contact Details

Health

Expenses
Health Check Criteria

Membership Charges

Event Notification

Health
Service
Providers

Finance

Membership Application Monthly
Expenses
News & Events

News and Events
Personal Details

Child Care
Facilitators

Prescription
Medical Payment
Appointment Request
Medical Charges
Physician Details
Medical Report

6
Payment
Approval
Weekly
Costs

Meals

7
Extended
Family /
Friends

Education
Service
Providers

Care Fees
&
s
e
e
F

5

Religious/
Social
Groups

Fee Invoice
Application For
Admission
School Fees
Leave Application
Parental Notes

Education

e

Potential
Employers/
Employer

Other Notification
Progress Report

3

Service Problem
Bill

Warranty

Finance
Service
Providers

Professional
Bodies

Job Contract
Job Application

Supply Charges

Communication
Facilitators

Fee Notice
Membership Payment
Membership
Events Notification
Membership Application

2
Career

Service Contract
Usage Bill
Fault Report
Supply Request
Contact Information
Bill Payment

Energy
Suppliers

87

Recreation
and
Socialization

Guest information

Figure 4.3: Subsystems Within Family System

Receipt
Grocery List
Payment

Grocery
Suppliers

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

4.3.1

88

Finance Subsystem
Finance Subsystem is responsible for the smooth functioning of all sub processes

and tasks within the Family Process of Managing Finance. Additionally, this subsystem
has the logical data storage and interfaces to interact with all other subsystems, External
Entities and users, the resources to monitor income and expenses and produce appropriate
control signals.
One of the foremost requirements for a family is its financial stability. Sufficient
cash flow for the day-to-day operations, balanced budget, and strategic planning to achieve
long-term goals are essential for a happy and successful family life. Adequate finance is one
of the decisive factors in the general welfare of the family in obtaining all other needs such
as health, education, entertainment and social life. As we live in a cashless society financial
transactions are carried out using various methods such as pre-scheduled auto payments
from Bank accounts, credit card payments, bank cards, phone banking and internet banking.
Spending within income and making regular savings requires a well-planned budget, regular
monitoring and strict account keeping. Statistical data show that twenty-five percent of
Australian households experienced at least one cash flow problem in the previous 12 months
period (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004).
A family may face unexpected developments such as sickness, accident, changes in
employment and changes in Government policies, and economy. Efficient financial management is required for the family to take well-informed decisions to sustain financial stability
and growth. This subsystem has to interface with all other subsystems receiving input
on costing, sending output on approvals and feedback on monitoring. Finance Subsystem
interfaces with Career Subsystem to receive income details and other subsystems to collect
cost details, send approval or provide feedback.
There are four important subprocesses within the Finance Subsystem:
• Financial Planning
• Budgeting
• Account Keeping
• Scheduling and Monitoring
Each of these subprocesses requires a number of tasks to complete the subprocess

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

89

appropriately. The important subprocesses, Data flows and data storage requirement of
Finance Subsystem are shown in Figure 4.4.
The subprocesses, input/output requirements, interaction between subsystems and
External Entities are described in detail in the following sections.
Financial Planning
Strategic planning and setting long-term targets in terms of investment, saving, or
debt repayment are necessary for the financial stability of a family in the long term (Kenyon
& Borden, 2004). This is a complex decision requiring evaluation of options, forecasting
and appropriate input data. It is also required to collect and record data on expenses,
income, and current economic trends. It is required to collect and evaluate market related
factors affecting financial decisions, to compare available options, and to formulate strategies. Unexpected market fluctuations and variations to forecasted values of detrimental
factors make the strategic decisions more complex and critical. The basic requirement to
achieve essential financial stability is following a well prepared budget, having a spending
plan, saving plan and debt reduction if any. An emergency fund of 3–6 month’s expenses
is another basic requirement.
Budgeting
Preparing a family budget can be a complex task as it is required to consider
anticipated expenses related to all aspects as well as external factors such as inflation and
other variations. A budget may be required on a yearly basis and a monthly basis. Previous
term’s expenses can be a basis to commence a budget. Data on expenses, cost estimates for
new items, and expected variations are required input for budgeting. These data need to be
collected and recorded consistently on a regular basis. There are expenses on basic needs
such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation. It is required to pay special attention to
discretionary expenses such as entertainment and variable expenses of eating out and the
purchasing of non-essential goods (Kenyon & Borden, 2004).
Creation of budget includes:
1. Calculation of regular monthly take-home income
2. Calculation of monthly expenses

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

6

90

Weekly Grocery
Costs

Meals

D1 Expense
Register

Insurance
Premiums

1
Housing &
Transport

Purchase Costs
Utility Costs
Repair &Service Charges
Govt. Fees &Charges

3

5.1
Collect and
Record
Costs

Monthly Education Cost

Education
4

5.4
Schedule
Payment

Medical Cost

Health

7
Recreation &
Socialisation
Expenses
D1 Register

Expense Detail

5.3

Income
Requirement

Scheduled
Payment

Payment
Schedule

5.2
Issue
Payment

Prepare
Budget

2
Career

Costs Detail

Earnings Detail

Income
5.5
Collect and
Record
Income

Income
D1 Register

Investment
Return

Tax Return
Social Security
Child Support
Figure 4.4: Processes Within Finance Subsystem

Finance
Service
Provider
Govt.
Agencies

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

91

3. Calculation of monthly balance
Account Keeping
Accurate and timely account keeping is a compulsory requirement for a healthy
financial system. This requires recording of income and expenditure on various items that
may occur daily, weekly or monthly. Regular and consistent data entry is required for a
correct account to be kept. This becomes a difficult task for the Family members due to the
consistent effort required. Another aspect of account keeping is categorisation of expenses
to obtain more information on spending and priorities. The subprocesses of Collect and
Record Costs, and Collect and Record Income constitute account keeping as shown in Figure
4.4.
Payment Scheduling and Monitoring of Expenses
There are many payments that should be made on a regular basis such as phone
bills, energy bills and insurance premiums. It is required to schedule these payments, and
make payments in time, and these are represented by the subprocesses of Schedule Payment
and Issue Payment in Figure 4.4. Monitoring and control of expenses are required to keep
spending within budget as well as adjusting costs to balance against unexpected variations.
It is essential to keep track of ATM withdrawals and incidental spending to meet the goals
of spending, debt reduction and saving (Kenyon & Borden, 2004). Family members have
to take informed decisions evaluating past experiences on expenses as well as anticipated
costs and income variations to avoid cash flow problems.

4.3.2

Health Subsystem
Health Subsystem is responsible for the smooth running of the Health Care process

and all the sub processes within Health Care. Health Subsystem has to co-ordinate with
other subsystems such as Finance and Meals and has to communicate with related External
Entities. This subsystem has the logical data storage facilities to collect and record available
health related documents and information. This subsystem has the necessary interface to
interact with External Entities, other subsystems and users, as necessary.
Good health for all the family members is equally important for a happy family
life. General health is dependent on many factors such as balanced diet, regular exercise,

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

92

adequate rest and recreation. There are a number of subprocesses required within the Health
Subsystem and these include:
• Monitoring and Control of Diet and Exercise
• Obtaining consultation and undergoing medical treatment
• Monitoring health check parameters
• Collecting and storing health records
The above subprocesses and tasks involved, inputs and data storage requirements
and interaction with other subsystems are discussed in the following sections. The subprocesses and logical data stores are depicted in Figure 4.5. This subsystem has to co-ordinate
with Finance to provide information on health related expenses both for approval and budgeting.
Monitoring and Control of Diet and Exercise
Following well-formulated diet and exercise is a vital factor for maintaining good
health. A balanced diet may be formulated with the assistance of a health professional.
There could be health related constraints on consumption of food. Regular monitoring
of food consumption is required to follow a balanced diet within stipulated constraints.
This requires recording of formulated diet details and checking against the ingredients and
nutritional information of food consumed on a regular basis. These processes and data
storage requirements are shown in Figure 4.5. The Health subsystem has to co-ordinate
with Meals to ensure that health related restrictions on food are applied correctly. Dietary
intake also includes any intake of supplements (Pennington et al., 2007).
Study conducted in US has found that consumption of food away from home
has increased from one third of the total expenditure on food in 1970 to half in 2006
(Kyureghian, Nayga Jr, Davis, & Lin, 2007). It follows that it is essential to follow up on
food consumed at and away from home.
Regular exercise is as important as a balanced diet for maintaining good health.
This needs scheduling, monitoring and necessary consultation with health service providers.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

93

4.1
Collect & Record
Provider Details

Physician Details

Health Service
Providers

4.2
Organise
Consultation
Appointment

Appointment Request
Appointment Time

4.3
Administer
Treatment

Medicine

Prescription
Medical Report

4.4
Record
Medication Details

Dietary Instructions

Record Exercise
and Diet
Instructions

Consultation Time
Provider Contact

Treatment Advice
Completed Treatment

Medical Records
Treatment Details

4.5
Exercise Instructions

Provider

D1 Register

Provider Information

Diet Constraints
Exercise Details

D2 Health Records

D3 Exercise and Diet

Register

Food Restrictions
Medical Charges
Payment

4.6
Collect & Pay
Medical Bill
la
vo
rp
pA
ts
oC
hlt
ae
H

ts
o
Cl
aic
de
M

4.8
Check Diet
no
it
p
m
us
no
C
do
oF

5

6

Finance

Meals

Figure 4.5: Processes Within Health Subsystem

ari
eit
rC
kc
heC
htl
eaH

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

94

Obtaining consultation and undergoing medical treatment
Family member/s need to consult medical practitioners to obtain treatment for
illness, vaccinations, immunisations, and other health related matters. Undergoing treatment may involve purchase and administration of medication. This includes purchase and
consumption of both prescription and non-prescription medications, follow up, monitoring
and reporting response to medication as well as variations to dosage (American Pharmacist
Association, 2005).
Collecting and storing health records
A number of medical records relating to examination, medication, and results of
tests conducted are generated during this process. There are no international rules regulating storage and use of health records. In some countries health records remain with health
practitioners and medical history of a person may be scattered among different heath practitioners in different geographical locations. The health records include medication record,
consultation, physician’s orders to other health providers, lab reports, and immunisations’
records. Research has established that availing electronic health records and allowing maintenance of personal health record can facilitate better access to all health information to the
person and other health related agencies, and can shift the responsibility and control to the
person (Fox, 2004). Sharing of personal health records within the family can help health
service providers in understanding the medical history and assessing health risk issues.
Medical history is important background information in case of people with hereditary diseases. There is a requirement to record service provider details and medication
details for further use.
There is a variation in availability of electronic data pertaining to these processes
as well as accessibility issues. Timely information on previous sickness and treatment can
be of great use in handling situations for a medical practitioner as well as the individual
and family involved.
Monitoring health check parameters
Family member/s having specific medical conditions may need to regularly monitor
health check parameters such as blood pressure or sugar level. It may be necessary to
monitor weight or other parameters to keep a healthy life. There is a need to keep a record

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

95

of these measurements and make it available to health service providers for further use.

4.3.3

Education Subsystem
Education Subsystem is responsible for all the processes and subprocesses under

Education. This subsystem interfaces with Finance Subsystem to provide information on
expenses related to education as well as budgeting and receives input from Finance Subsystem to control expenses. Data storage facilities to record and access all education related
documents as well as interfacing facilities enabling interaction with External Entities also
form part of this subsystem.
Adult members of the family updating their skills can conduct formal studies and
essentially children undergo fairly long years of formal education starting with kindergarten
that may continue to University or further education. This is an important and timeconsuming process, at the same time essential and unavoidable to keep the family members
well-educated and competent in society. Parents spend a substantial amount of time to
receive and process applications, invoices, progress reports, and attend school events.
Commencing with the identification and selection of institution a number of subprocesses are involved in maintaining children’s education and these include:
• Obtaining Admission
• Procuring of Materials
• Paying fees
• Attending School Activities
• Monitoring Academic Progress
The important subprocesses, data flows and data storage requirements are shown
in Figure 4.6. These subprocesses are detailed in the following subsections.
Obtaining Admission
It commences with collection and comparison of school details, sending application
to selected schools and meeting admission criteria in a preferred school. Depending on the
procedures prevalent for selection and availability of seats this can be a complex task.
This may include many changes in educational institutions, sending several applications,

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

96

3.1
Prospectus
ro
F
no
it
ac
lip
pA

no
is
is
m
dA

Education
Providers

3.3
Send
Application

Institution Details

Collect and
Record Info
on Schools
Selected
Institution

3.2
Compare and
Select School

Books
and Uniform
Details

Sort and
Purchase
Materials

Materials List
and Cost
Payment
Materials List
Invoice
Materials

Product
Supplier
3.5

Record Fees
Details

ilsa
te
D
se
eF

Payment
Details

3.7

News
Letter

Make
Payment

3.8
se
to
N

Costing

3.4

School Fees Payment

la
tn
er
aP

D1 Education Register

3.6

Fees Invoice

rto
pe
ltsu R
se sse
R rg
ic or
m
ed P
ac
A

Institution
Information

Collect and
Record Events
& Dates

Activity
Details

3.9
Schedule
Time

D2

Payment
Approval

Events and Tasks
Register

Activity
List

Schedule

3.10
Record and
Monitor
Academic
Records

Academic
Records

D3

Academic
Records
Register

Figure 4.6: Processes Within Education Subsystem

Calculate
Monthly
Expenses
Monthly
Costs

5
Finance

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

97

or appearing for competitive examinations for selection. Identification of suitable schools
becomes a difficult task for a Family making a number of moves to different geographical
locations due to transfer of employment or other reasons.
Procuring Materials
There are books, uniforms and other materials for extra-curricular activities to be
procured as required. This is an activity that requires planning to allocate funds and time.
This is essentially required at the beginning of each academic year as well as during the
academic year depending on the activities in which the pupil is engaged.
The responsibilities vary depending on the support provided by the school. Materials can be selected and organised by the school or can be the responsibility of the parents to
organise materials purchase following given guidelines. The later option requires increased
commitment from the parents in terms of time and resources.
Attending School Activities
There are many school activities where parents need to provide input either by
attending in person or by providing other forms of input. Parents may be involved in
school governing bodies or school committees, acting as resource persons for organising
field trips, and selling uniforms (Dhingra, Manhas, & Sethi, 2007). School sends regular
communications on events and activities involving pupils and parents. It is essential for
parents to regularly follow up on school events and allocate required resources of time and
money to meet the essential needs. Parents generally visit school and conduct formal and
informal discussions with teachers regarding their children’s conduct, academic matters and
behaviour. These visits varies in frequency ranging from daily to monthly or occasionally.
There is regular communication between school and parents using school news
letters and other reports. Schools use various methods of communication such as parentteacher meeting, school diary, school magazines, and telephone conversations (Dhingra et
al., 2007). An example of typical communication happening between school and parents is
shown in Appendix A. As these communications are prepared for the whole school, careful
reading is required to extract relevant information for a particular child. In case of dual
income families and single parent families with a working parent, allocating time for school
events requires good planning.

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Paying Fees
Different countries have differing systems and substantial variations in government
funding for education. In some countries school education requires substantial fee payment
from parents and in this case parents need to collect invoice and organise payment of fees
and other related charges. This is a periodic task occurring mostly on a termly basis.
Monitoring Academic Progress
One of the difficult tasks is to monitor a child’s progress in his/her school years,
understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses and to take necessary action in a timely
fashion. Early intervention and timely action are necessary for a child having learning
difficulties or problems with adapting to the school.
Generally, school provides periodic reports on academic progress that may be
termly and yearly. Parents may need to compile these reports to obtain a bigger picture of
the child’s progress and take necessary action if required.

4.3.4

Housing and Transport Subsystem
The Housing and Transport Subsystem manages the process of Household Main-

tenance and this involves interfacing with Finance Subsystem to receive input on budget
and send details of expenses. The Housing Subsystem interacts with External Entities such
as Insurance providers, Energy Suppliers, Product suppliers, Communication Facilitators
and Govt. Agencies. This subsystem obtains user input required for the smooth running
of subprocesses and produces timely output.
This subsystem is responsible for executing processes that are required to maintain
a fully functional house with necessary appliances, equipment, energy and water supply and
heating, ventilation and air conditioning as required. This subsystem is also responsible for
all tasks required for maintaining family owned/leased vehicles.
The main subprocesses involved are:
• Purchasing Equipment and Vehicle/s
• Organising and Maintaining Insurances
• Coordinating and performing cleaning and repair

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• Obtaining and Maintaining Utility Services
The subprocesses involved, input/output requirements, data storage, and interaction with External Entities are illustrated in Figure 4.7. These are discussed in detail in
the following sections.
Purchasing Equipment and Vehicle/s
Present day homes need many appliances ranging from high value to low value
for various purposes. These include equipment associated with HVAC systems, washing
machine, dryer, dishwasher, toaster, electric kettle and so on. Purchase of equipment for
use at home can be a complex and time consuming activity that involves collecting details
of different makes and models, comparing, evaluating available options and procuring the
item. There are other tasks also involved, including recording details of purchased items,
supplier, and service providers, collecting and storing warranty, and user manuals.
Purchase of vehicles includes additional tasks of organising registration and satisfying other legal formalities involved. The record keeping involved in these cases should be
well organised to access required information for obtaining available free servicing before
expiry of warranty as well as carrying out required regular servicing. The manual should be
readily available for reference for installation, trouble shooting or change of configuration.
Organising and Maintaining Insurance
The volatility involved in economic and employment conditions, as well as other
potential risks of natural calamities, and electrical surges makes insurance an essential
service. Insurance services, service providers, and coverage available vary a lot and obtaining
a suitable product requires substantial effort.
Generally obtained insurances are for house, contents, vehicle, health, income protection, accident, and life (Burton, 2000). There are variations to the premiums, extra
payment required in case of claim, and level of protection. Insurance service being a contract spanning a period of time means that it is the Home User’s responsibility to understand
the details and store the contracts for later use. Insurance conditions and premiums undergo temporal variations and thus requires timely renewal and update. There are various
premium payment options such as monthly, quarterly, or annually which require budgeting
and payment scheduling.

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Application
Insurance Policy
Premium Request
Premium Payment

Insurance
Providers

Renewal Notice
Insurance Provider Detials

Energy /
Water
Communication
Service
Providers

Product
Suppliers

Provider Contact
Fault Report
Service Contract
Supply Request
Usage Bill
Contact Information
Bill Payment
Purchase List
Purchase Payment
Manuals
Purchase Receipt
Warranty
equipment

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1.1

Premium Details

Organise
Insurance

Insurance Policy

1.2
Record Provider
Details

D2

1.5
Purchase
Equipment

Government
Agencies

Costing

1.4
Calculate
Monthly
Expenses

Service cost
Service Contract
Materials List
and Cost
Product Register

Monthly
Costs

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Finance

Warranty
Supplier Details

1.6
Tax Information
Tax Return
Tax Claim
Election Notice
Rent Payment
Vehicle Reg. Notice
Council Rent Notice

ServiceRegister

Provider
Detials

1.3
Organise
Utility
Services

D1

Payment
Approval
Taxation Details
Returned Tax

Claim Tax
Return

Payment
Approval

1.7
Pay Land and
Vehicle
Registration
1.8
Perform
Cleaning
and Repair

Rental Cost
Vehicle cost

D3

Repair Expense
Repair Request

Vehicle and House
Register
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1.9
Organise
Servicing

Figure 4.7: Processes Within Housing and Transport Subsystem

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Coordinating and performing cleaning and repair
A functional home requires regular cleaning, servicing of equipment and repair
work to the house itself or some equipment in use (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008a). This
involves the tasks of identifying service providers, getting cost estimates, evaluating options,
selecting appropriate option and organising the task. Organising repair and servicing of
equipment or vehicle requires information on service providers and their costing details.
This activity is dependent on proper recording of equipment and service provider details at
the time of purchase and updating records as necessary.
Cleaning of house and equipment used at home is a regularly required task that
involves a combination of physical and intellectual work: by definition this is a Hybrid process. This is repetitive and time consuming, even though essential. Household maintenance
involves weekly, monthly, bi-annual or annual tasks (Bard, 1998). It is required to check
equipment manuals for scheduling preventive maintenance and recommended care. These
may include checking and care of air-conditioning system and heating system. Other tasks
include cleaning gutters, windows, carpets, bedding, oven and refrigerator. On average
mothers spent 33 hours per week on household activities whereas fathers spent around 18
hours per week (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). The household activities include
household management, cleaning, and other housework of which household maintenance
contributed 2.20 hours and laundry and clothes care took 4 hours per week.
Obtaining and Maintaining Utility Services
Homes located in urban areas are largely dependent on many essential utility
services of electricity, water, cooking gas, communication services, and water supply. Houses
in regional areas may be self sufficient in some utilities but still need part of the essential
utility services.
These service provisions being privatised, there are different options in terms of
providers, service quality and pricing. Selection of the most appropriate provider requires
data collection, comparison, evaluation and decision making. The Home User needs to
understand contractual liabilities and keep record of contracts for further reference.
Maintaining these services requires receipt, scheduling and payment of bills, renewal of contracts and appropriate fault reporting. These services form a substantial portion
of regular expenditure of households. Therefore storage of bill details and close monitor-

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ing of service usage are important. Global warming and climate change issues boost the
importance of the economical use of resources such as water and power.

4.3.5

Career Subsystem
Career Subsystem is responsible for the coordination and execution of the process

of Generating Income and necessary sub processes, resource management and allocation,
and interfacing with External Entities as well as other subsystems such as Education.
Adult members in a family are engaged in occupation. This could be a business run
by the family and in this case, custom-made software is generally used for various aspects
of the system. This study considers cases where member/s of the family are engaged in
paid employment. This necessitates recording employer details, preparing applications and
resumes, and storing appointment letters and other formal notifications received from the
employers, storing pay details, recording and maintaining potential employers’ list, and
coordinating with Education subsystem for updating skills.
As Employment may be the main source of income, Career subsystem is responsible
for providing input to the Finance regarding regular income and expected variations in
income.

4.3.6

Recreation and Socialization Subsystem
Recreation and Socialization Subsystem is responsible for the management of Recre-

ation and Social life Maintenance process, resources required for this process, and interfacing
with the Health Subsystem.
Busy families and other householders need recreational activities that may include
holidays involving national/international travel, sporting, short trips and any other activities undertaken for the purpose of recreation.
Recreation
A number of subprocesses are involved in organising, and undertaking a recreational activity. This activity could be regular or occasional. Some of the subprocesses
involved are:
• Collect information

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• Compare and select options
• Organise booking and payment as required
• Organise necessary resources
• Keep record of involved service provider details
• Co-ordinate with Finance
Socialisation
Social life is essential for the well-being of the family and this process is responsible
for maintaining contacts with extended families, social groups, and friends. The most
important task is to record contact details, important events (birthdays, anniversaries etc.),
update details, and record important correspondences. Producing reminders at appropriate
times, and guiding on time scheduling to attend events are also part of this process.

4.4

Meals Subsystem
Meals Subsystem is responsible for the smooth running of Planning and Preparing

Meals. Meals subsystem has to co-ordinate with the Finance Subsystem to ensure spending
on food within budget and it is required to co-ordinate with the Health Subsystem to ensure
appropriate diet within the measures of Health Care. This subsystem has to co-ordinate
with Recreation and Socialization subsystem to extract information for the correct planning
of meals on occasions when people other than family members are present.
A very detailed analysis of Meals subsystem is carried out in this section. The
DFDs have been used in analysis of the subsystems to reveal processes, input/output of
processes and interaction with External Entities. Use Case diagram is used for exposing
the user interaction as this facility is not available with DFDs (Object Management Group
Inc., 2004). Business process modelling techniques following Eriksson-Penker Business Extension to UML notation are used to develop Activity diagrams demonstrating the dynamic
nature of processes and the distinction between input for processing and control signal input
(Eriksson & Penker, 2000).
Meals planning and preparation are routine tasks in any household. A regular
balanced diet is necessary for the health and happiness of the individuals. This involves

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knowing the needs of individual householders as well as the details of food consumed. As
lifestyle changes, increased amounts of processed food are consumed regularly. As a result of
this, the householder should know the ingredients to avoid unwanted or allergic substances
in the processed food and information on the nutritional value of the product. On average
a household consumes 1095 meals in a year at the rate of 3 meals per day.
Planning and preparing meals within a budget that fulfill nutritional needs and
personal preferences of all family members, as well as providing variety, is a time consuming,
complex, and routine activity carried out normally by a single person (Soliah, Walter, &
Barnes, 2003). A series of tasks are involved in planning and preparing nutritional meals
meeting preferences and health constraints of each of the householders and guests present
(The Nova Scotia Dept. of Aquaculture, 1997; Cox, 2000). The tasks listed below are
adapted from an education module developed by The Nova Scotia Agricultural College as
it provides a complete and logically coupled set of tasks. The main processes involved in
organising and managing food requirements of the family, the data required to be stored for
on-going use of different processes, interaction with External Entities and other subsystems
are shown in Figure 4.8. An ideal situation is pursued in this analysis and actual practices
may vary demographically and culturally. This can be applied to households with one or
more occupants even if they are not part of a Family.
1. Decide meals for the week
2. Consider available time to prepare each meal
3. Check available groceries stock
4. Select menu for each meal
5. Estimate nutritional value
6. Select recipes
7. Prepare pre-processed items list
8. Verify against allergic and restricted substances
9. Prepare grocery list
10. Select brand/make of processed food

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Menus & Recipes

105

6.2
Prepare
Grocery List

Recipe List

Meals
Available Menu Options

6.1
Select Meals
and Menu
For Week

Menu &
Recipe

6.6
Get Meal Menu
& Recipe For
Cooking
Recipes
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6.7
Prepare Used
Items List &
Update Stock

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Selected Menu
Grocery List

6.3
Verify
Verified
Ingredients Grocery List
Health Check
Criteria

4
Health

Consumed
Items
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6.10
Cook,
Serve and
Clean

Grocery Order
List

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6.5
Estimate
Cost

Grocery Stock
Register

6.8
Prepare Items
for Cooking

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Prepared Items eco

6.4
Produce
Grocery
Puchase List

R1
Grocery Stock
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6.11
Collect Grocery
Items

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Finance

6.9
Update
Stock

Payment

Purchased
Grocery List
Grocerys

Grocery
Supplier

Figure 4.8: Processes Within Meals Subsystem

Grocery
Order
List

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106

Meals Subsystem
Select Meals and
Menu
Prepare Grocery
List

Finance Subsystem

Estimate Cost

Home User

«extends»

Verify Ingredients

Health Subsystem

Produce Grocery
Purchase List

Update Stock

Grocery Suppliers

Figure 4.9: User View of Meals Subsystem
11. Estimate cost
12. Purchase groceries
13. Update stock register
14. Prepare ingredients for cooking
15. Cook meals as planned
16. Update inventory
17. Remove expired items
The above listed tasks involved in the Planning and Preparation of Meals can be
classified into two categories: intellectual tasks and tasks requiring combination of intellectual input and physical labour represented by Hybrid Processes in the Figure 4.8. The
intellectual tasks involved in the process include scheduling meals, deciding the menu for
each meal, selecting recipes, verifying ingredients, preparing grocery lists, and updating
stock. These tasks involve planning, data collection and information retrieval, knowledgebased reasoning, and routine decision making. The intellectual tasks can be grouped into
four Soft Processes:
• Plan and decide meals for a week

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107

Figure 4.10: Select Meal
• Select menu and recipes
• Estimate cost and prepare grocery purchase list
• Update inventory
These processes are further analysed in the following sections.

4.4.1

User View of an Envisaged Meals Subsystem
A Use case diagram following UML notation is used to depict a User View of the

envisaged Meals Subsystem representing the perceived functionality of a possible implementation, as shown in Figure 4.9. The actors of the system are Home User and other
subsystems that need to interact with the Meals Subsystem. The envisaged Meals Subsystem provides a number of functionalities to the householder by automating identified Soft
Processes. The use case diagram provides a clear view of user interaction and interaction
with other systems.

4.4.2

Schedule Meals for a Week
The meals required by a household for a week can be decided from the information

on people present for each meal including guests, and time available to prepare meals. The
meals considered are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and morning and afternoon snacks. Reasons
such as shortage of time to cook, unavailability, sickness or lack of appetite can result in
the option to eat out, consume take away food or cancel a particular meal. This can be

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108

Figure 4.11: Select Menu and Recipes
specific to an individual or all the householders. The processes, control and data input are
depicted using an activity diagram given in Figure 4.10.

4.4.3

Select Menu and Recipes
A menu is required for each selected meal and this can be effectively decided only

with the information on preferences and constraints of people present for each meal. The
prepared meal should satisfy the individual needs of householders in taste and nutritional
value. The main factors influencing this decision are:
• Individual food preferences
• Health related personal constraints
• Availability of time
• Number of people present
• Nutritional needs
• Items in stock
• Items to expire soon

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109

et
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Figure 4.12: Prepare Grocery Purchase List
The personal preferences may include factors such as vegetarian, non-vegetarian, type of
food etc. Personal constraints on eating can be due to health reasons such as heart problems,
diabetes, or allergies to particular ingredients. The above listed factors can be applied with
varying priorities in arriving at the most suitable menu for each meal. The number of people
present for a particular meal, and whether they are householders or guests influences the
decision on menus and the selection of recipes. The activity diagram shown in Figure 4.11
illustrates the process.
Recipes can be created or chosen from a database of recipes. Selection of recipes
for the meals with chosen menus needs verification against use of ingredients to avoid allergic
substances and other restricted components. A recipe may contain many processed food
items. In the case of processed food, information on ingredients and nutritional value is
required to decide inclusion in the diet. The Ingredient List (IL) and Nutritional Information
(NI) are generally provided on the product packing. Economical use of purchased goods can
be enforced by consuming items that may expire shortly, thus avoiding wastage of groceries.
The sub-processes, and input/output of this process are shown in Figure 4.11

4.4.4

Estimate cost and Prepare Grocery Purchase List
The final list of items required can be arrived at from the selected menu and recipes

as well as the information on existing stock. A cost estimate for the list of items can be
calculated by obtaining prices from short listed outlets. Information on seasonal items is
also required. The estimated cost is to be within the set budget, or menus can be altered
to bring the estimated cost within the allocated budget as per the Finance subsystem. The

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110

Cheapest outlet to purchase the weekly groceries can be located and this may vary from
time to time. Information on the make/brand of selected processed food for the chosen
menu can be stored for further use as this has been already verified for suitability.
There are a number of sub-processes involved in arriving at the grocery purchase
list for a week and these are depicted in Figure 4.12 with the necessary inputs.

4.4.5

Update Inventory
The inventory should be updated on purchase of items and consumption of items.

The planned meals may or may not be cooked and consumed as unexpected events can alter
the implementation of meals’ schedules.
Consistent updating of inventory as per consumption can provide information on
existing stock. An inventory can be accurately maintained by using information from the
recipes used, and the meals cooked as well as groceries purchased, and any items wasted
due to expiry. The details of this process are shown in Figure 4.13

4.4.6

Tasks Requiring Physical and Intellectual Work
Home meals preparation involves grocery shopping, preparation of ingredients for

cooking, cleaning and setting of appliances, making arrangement to serve the food, and
finally cleaning the dining area, kitchen and other appliances used. Grocery shopping is
a time consuming task that requires physical work. The selected menu with the designed
recipe is to be implemented on an ongoing basis for the implementation of the planned meals
to occur. The first part in each meal preparation is preparation of ingredients following
recipe and this requires intellectual and physical labour such as cleaning, peeling, washing,
cutting into smaller pieces, and grinding or mixing as required (Engelhardt & Goughler,
1997). The remaining activity is cooking by heating the prepared items as required. The
Meals Planning and Preparation process is completed by serving the meals to the listed
people and cleaning and washing the utensils and cutlery.

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Figure 4.13: Maintain Inventory

4.5

Study of Analysis Results Depicted in Family System
Reference Model
The analyses conducted in previous sections have exposed processes, data flows

between processes and External Entities, and also data storage requirement for later use of
data. The analysis results expose a large amount of data received and substantial information processing required in various Family Processes. Viewed from the right perspective,
the revelation is self explanatory in promoting the need for efficient home information management. This can be initiating a renaissance in the way data are delivered, collected and
stored, processed using middleware applications, and useful information delivered to the
home users.
Usually householders manage these processes from experience and often it is possible that practice is erroneous or not the ideal case. Efficiency and effectiveness of the whole
process greatly varies between households. Household management involves planning, decision making based on knowledge-based reasoning and expertise, as well as adaptability to
context and environmental factors.

4.5.1

Information Management and Soft Processes
The analysis results demonstrate the importance of information management tasks

involved in a family home. Information management includes data delivery, reception and
storage, extraction of appropriate information, archiving of historical records, deletion of
unwanted data, triggering of events based on alterations in data, and sending correct data

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to processes. The analysis also reveals the dependence on communications received from
External Entities and the data extracted for the correct process execution.
This study categorises the information management tasks as Soft Processes by
definition. Further analysis is required to identify processes that should be automated,
technology needs and technology gaps in achieving automation. Automatically extracted
information can be used to control process execution.

4.5.2

Mobile Family and Home Users
Home Users are mobile from the initial definition of Family as a mobile unit and

this fact is also established by other studies. Considering the mobility of Home Users, the
execution of the identified Soft Processes for automation are not bound to physical location
of the home. Rather, they are logically bound to the home and Home Users require access
to information for various purposes while they are away from home also. This section
extends the process knowledge of ’what’ exposed by the analysis conducted in Section 4.2
by discussing the aspects of where, and when the process is used.
User Ubiquity
A Home User can be present in one of the places such as own home, work place
related situations such as conference, meeting, or public place such as airport, public transport – bus or train, at a restaurant or a social gathering, in a friend’s place or a retail
store or a medical facility. A concept map depicted in Figure 4.14 is used to illustrate the
ubiquity of the Home User (Awad & Ghaziri, 2003). Depending on the situation informed
decision making, activities involving information use or updating of previously formulated
information, becomes essential.
Need for Ubiquitous Intelligence and Computing
These aspects introduce additional requirements to the information services that
include availing right information at the right time, and right place, empowerment with
decision support, implementing inferences or rules and knowledge creation for later use.
Therefore these processes can be carried out anywhere provided the correct information is
available. Well informed decision making is required all the time. Few scenarios provided
below illustrate such information use and update of already created information.

Chapter 4: Family System Reference Model

Figure 4.14: Ubiquity of Home User

113

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114

1. A Home User consuming food from a restaurant needs to select a menu within his/her
dietary requirements and constraints. It may seem easy for a user to avoid a food item
containing an unwanted ingredient; but it is an intelligent task to choose suitable food
items that meet nutritional and calorific requirements within the health constraints.
This needs consideration of previous meal/s of the day, health constraints of the user
and nutritional information of the food items.
2. A Home User roaming around a shopping center comes across a very good deal for
an equipment that is not currently budgeted for. An appropriate decision requires
cash flow check and budget modification. Even though account balance details are
currently available through internet banking, budget and future expenses needs to be
organised by the user and made accessible away from home. This is not an easy task
for everyone.
3. A Home User at work experiences some unexpected changes in his/her duties and
needs to modify the scheduled pick-up arrangement of the kids from school and inform
his/her partner. In a busy office situation usually staff may not get a chance to
communicate with their family members.
4. A Home User walks into a computer store to consult options for upgrading his/her
home PC. This requires information about the technical details and any previous
upgrades of the home PC.
The above scenarios indicate that managing home/personal life happens everywhere. Three of the most occurring aspects of home/personal life that happen anywhere,
anytime are decisions on food, money and time.

4.6

Chapter Summary
The Family System exposes the important processes within the Family and the

interaction with External Entities. The linkage of process usage to different stages of family
life can be used to formulate a taxonomy of Home Users based on behaviour rather than the
demographics. The model of FS can be used for further detailed analysis to explore process
automation needs, information management, and decision support to assist Home Users
in everyday life. This is the seed for triggering a broader Roadmap for HA by extracting

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information on technology needs, technology alternatives and technology gaps. The process
knowledge obtained by this analysis is used in the next chapter to identify automation needs
of Home Users following specific lifestyle.

Chapter 5

Scenario Based Future User
Requirements Elicitation
The major problem faced by the HA industry is the lack of formal methods to
identify market needs and to re-assess technology investment strategies based on temporal
variations to the market needs on a longer time span. Investment decisions in assistive
technologies are critical as the future is uncertain and ambiguous; as well, users have only
knowledge about the problem and are ignorant about the technology capabilities. The issues
related to these problems are discussed in detail in Sections 1.2, and 2.5. From the processes
identified using the analysis of the Family System it is required to segregate those processes,
the automation of which will meet future market needs. This study has developed a new
method to address this problem and this chapter presents this new method.
Traditionally user involved methods are used to elicit user requirements for office
information systems while automation decisions are made based on economic feasibility
studies (Valacich et al., 2001; Shelly et al., 2006). The lack of definite and accountable
tangible benefits for automation disqualifies the application of this method in the case of
the HA. This follows from the fact that household work and other home and personal
life management activities are unpaid. Application of user involved methods has failed
to obtain a whole picture as evident from the literature review provided in Section 2.4.1.
Additionally, the Section 1.1.2 points out the need for the HA products to be tailored to
meet the latent demands caused by lifestyle related problems. This work uses scenario
technique to learn plausible future lifestyle of Home Users. The new method developed as

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part of this study is called Requirement Elicitation of Future User by Systems Scenario
(REFUSS) and it integrates the knowledge obtained from system modelling and scenario
technique as detailed in the following sections. The terms User Characteristics and Process
Attributes used in the following listing are defined in a later section.
REFUSS consists of the following steps:
1. Formally define a process exposing its operational aspects from the user’s perspective
2. Formally define a user with User Characteristics that influence process use
3. Derive future values for User Characteristics
4. Relate the user and process based on their formal definitions and plausible future
values of User Characteristics
Steps 1-4 above can be used to identify process automation needs based on the
knowledge of processes of known specification used by Home Users with defined characteristics. Step 4 can be used to understand emerging process automation needs.
This method uses three components:
• A system modelling the current processes within the system, input and output of the
processes, and identified process attributes providing user perspective of the process
operation.
• Scenarios depicting future lifestyle and plausible user characteristics.
• Generic rules relating process attributes to user characteristics.
Section 5.1 details a method to formally define the processes. Section 5.2 establishes a formal definition of users that can be used to logically relate the user and process. Section 5.3 describes the derivation of future user characteristics from information on
lifestyle. This section also describes the application of scenario technique to derive future
lifestyle. Section 5.4 formalises the identification of processes for automation by systematically relating the defined properties of users and processes. Section 5.5 demonstrates the
application of this method to identify processes requiring automation.

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5.1

118

Process Definition
The current process knowledge is the basis: to achieve this, it is essential to have

a system model depicting processes, input/output and the operational requirement of the
process. In this study a process is not considered as a stand alone entity. A process belongs
to a system and is dependent on the system for interface and resources. The system model
allows the addition of new processes or the deletion of existing processes during review.
The system model is developed by incorporating all basic and essential processes that are
less time variant. The reliability of this method depends on the system model providing a
top-level view encompassing all processes.
Let SP be the identified system, and P be the set of processes within the system:
P = {p0 , ·, ·, pi , ·, ·, pn }

(5.1)

where pi represents a process, 0 < i ≤ n.
Primarily, a deeper understanding of the process is developed. This study defines
process using mostly generic terms that will not be affected by the resources used for the
process or by system related factors. A number of terms are defined here for clarity and
use in later steps.
Definition 5.19 Process Attribute is a variable that partially describes the nature of process from the user’s perspective.
The range of values depends on the operational aspects that are detrimental to
the user’s perspective of the process.
The Process Attribute of a process is modifiable by altering the implementation.
This cannot be altered by the user but could be modified by the process design. An
example Process Attribute is frequency of use having values such as routine, intermittent,
or infrequent; this implies the nature of user interaction required for the smooth running of
the process.
Definition 5.20 Process Operational Requirement is a variable that reveals the effort required from the user for completion of the process producing quality output.
The range of values depends on the operational aspects, origin and combination
of input, and subprocesses involved in transforming the input that are detrimental to the

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correctness of the process completion. The Process Attribute is indicative of or maps to
Process Operational Requirement, to be met by the user for effective process completion
achieving the desired result.

5.1.1

Identification of Process Attributes
The purpose here is to understand the processes within the targeted system from

the user’s point of view using generic and simpler terms. There could be very detailed
and complex information related to a process that may provide information on the input
requirements, format of input, outputs generated, quantity and quality of resources required,
and interaction of the process with other processes or subsystems. These factors can distract
an analyst or system designer from focusing on the operational aspects of the process,
required for achieving effective process completion producing quality output, from the user’s
point of view. The interest here is only in those operational aspects of the process that are
detrimental to the effective completion of the process and that are to be supported by the
user. Such operational process requirements have a direct impact on the process use by
specific user.
All the processes from the developed system model are listed with corresponding
Process Attributes.
Let ai be the set of Process Attributes for a particular process pi and this can be
represented by the set given below.
ai = {ai0 , ·, ·, aij , ·, ·, ain }

(5.2)

where 0 < j ≤ n.
For every process pi in the set of identified processes P there exists a number of
Process Attributes and this set is defined below.
A = {∀pi | pi ∈ P • ∃ai | aij ∈ ai ∧ 0 < i ≤ n, 0 < j ≤ n • aij }

(5.3)

Each Process Attribute of a process maps to one or more Process Operational
Requirements to be satisfied by the user. Let rij be the set of operational requirements for
a particular process pi having Process Attribute aij and this can be represented by the set
given below.
rij = {rij0 , ·, ·, rijk , ·, ·, rijn }

(5.4)

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where 0 < k ≤ n.
These operational requirements are to be met by the user.

5.2

User Definition
Two aspects need to be derived for the definition of user: the current user and

the evolution of the future user. The purpose here is to understand and define the user in
simple and generic terms such that the process and user can be related. This study refers
to users as individuals or Family members who are Home Users in use of one or more of the
Family Processes.
Definition 5.21 User Characteristic is a variable that partially describes the state of a
user.
The range of values is dependent on the lifestyle followed and it influences the use
of Family Processes.
An example of a User Characteristic is the emotional state of a user. This can
take one of the values of happy, sad, stressed, or relaxed. The values of User Characteristics
are identified to understand the users in their daily life and thus relate to their perspective
of process use.
Let C be the set of User Characteristics for a user following a lifestyle of interest.
C = {C0 , ·, Ci , ·, Cn }

(5.5)

where Ci represents a User Characteristic, 0 < i ≤ n.
Definition 5.22 Environmental Factor is any social, economic, political, legal, or technological factors that influence the lifestyle of the user.
The lifestyle of these users is beset by many Environmental Factors. In turn the
lifestyle has an effect on the User Characteristic; it is of temporal binding allowing variations
from time to time.
Definition 5.23 User Constraint is a variable that indicates the limitation of a user due
to specific User Characteristics attributable to the lifestyle followed.

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An example value of a User Constraint is time unavailable for the operation of
Family Processes due to other engagements.
A User Characteristic indicates or maps to constraint/s a user may have, to effectively implement a process. Let Ti be the set of constraints of a user having User
Characteristic Ci and this could be represented by the set given below.
Ti = {Ti0 , ·, Tij , ·, Tin }

(5.6)

where Ti represents set of user constraints, 0 < j ≤ n.
Definition 5.24 Demanding Process Attribute is any Process Attribute of specific value
that maps to Process Operational Requirement/s that are User Constraint/s of users with
specific User Characteristics. This implies that the same rule applies for all the users having
the same User Characteristics.
For example a process having a Process Attribute of frequency of use with a value
of routine becomes a Demanding Process Attribute for a user with a User Characteristic of
availability with a value mostly unavailable. This means that the operational requirement
indicated by or associated with a Process Attribute corresponds to a constraint indicated by
a User Characteristic and thus the user is naturally incapable of meeting the process requirement appropriately. Such Process Attributes are termed as Demanding Process Attributes
for users with specific User Characteristics.

5.3

Derivation of Future User Characteristics
The technology roadmap is for strategic planning and technology investment de-

cisions for products and services that will meet future market needs. Future market needs
and consumer demand depend on the lifestyle that will be followed at that point of time.
The future is uncertain and unpredictable, thus can create investment risk. It is critical to
develop understanding of future User Characteristics in a formal way that can be used for
identifying market needs. This information can be used for identification of products and
services meeting the market needs and for formulation of current technology investment
strategies, as well as for later re-assessment.
Scenarios are used as a tool to learn about the future by creating “holistic and
integrated images” (Ratcliffe, 2000), thus providing the decision makers an exposure to

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major influence factors and their interactions. Scenarios facilitate the creation of alternative
futures in a cause-effective way. The lifestyle of Home Users is influenced by large numbers
of external factors that are dependent on social, economical, and political developments.
The scenarios developed here are used for two purposes:
1. To systematically learn the future Home User lifestyle, the resulting User characteristics and the emerging process automation needs
2. To develop a method with formal reasoning to re-assess future trends.

5.3.1

Scenario Development
As the future is unknown, forecasting or trend analysis based on currently known

factors can produce only one futuristic vision. Scenarios built around a number of factors,
issues, and interaction between them provide a means to visualise different plausible futures
and use this vision to learn, think and carry out further research on the evolving future requirement in core technology investments. This allows an iterative process of incorporating
changes to the temporal variations to the norms used, thus re-assessing the futures. The
alternative visions assist the strategists to explore a range of futures with richly detailed
information so that they can be prepared for any surprising shift from the expected future.
The scenario development method described here is as per van der Heijden’s approach (Heijden, 2005). Initially a large set of Environmental Factors that influence the
lifestyle of Home Users are taken. These factors not only influence the user, they influence
each other. Factors that have a major influence on other factors are taken as high impact.
Factors that are highly influenced by others become uncertain in their influence on the
users due to their own variation. These are taken as highly uncertain. An NxN influence
matrix is created by assigning numerical values to the amount of influence a factor can have
on another factor, where N indicates the total number of factors. This matrix is used to
calculate total impact or uncertainty of each of the factors.
Let M be the matrix. The total impact I of an influence factor i on other factors
can be obtained by
n

Ii =

Mi,j
j=1

where Mi,j represents the impact of factor i on j.

(5.7)

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A high value of Ii is indicative of the high impact of this factor on other factors
as well as on the future.
The impact of other factors U on an influence factor i can be obtained by
n

Ui =

Mj,i

(5.8)

j=1

where Mj,i is the impact of factor j on i. A high value of Ui implies that i is less
predictable or highly uncertain.
Driving Forces
The total impact/uncertainty factors obtained from equations 5.7, 5.8 are ranked.
This can be easily achieved by plotting total impact/uncertainty values in a two dimensional
space called an Impact/Predictability Graph. Factors that have extreme values become the
critical influences or uncertainties, as these are the most important in setting the future
trends; being highly unpredictable can twist the expected trend. The graphical space is
divided into four quarters using the range of values from one or two most varying factors.
The factors having values in the top right quarter of the Impact/Predictability Graph are of
interest as these are of high impact and low predictability. The most influential/uncertain
ones of these are called the critical factors.
The major factors responsible for setting or twisting the future trends are called
driving forces. These are the underlying factors responsible for the critical factors. A
deductive approach is used in structuring the scenario set where scenarios are specified in
terms of scenario dimensions that are scoping outcomes of a few (two or three) driving
forces. When there are many driving forces these are grouped into two, known as scenario
dimensions; the major trends are obtained by contemplating the resulting outcomes from
the variations to the scenario dimensions. A horizon year is chosen as the cut-off year for
the scenarios. The scoping outcome is the expected values the driving forces may reach
by the cut-off or horizon year. Scenarios are used to build different futures by assuming
both positive and negative variations to the two scenario dimensions and the associated
underlying factors. This can generate four scenarios. Three different worlds are constructed
that depict lifestyles that are extremely dissimilar. The fourth scenario reflects the history.

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5.4

124

Identification of Processes for Automation
On completion of the previous steps there is knowledge of the processes belonging

to the current system and the future user characteristics. The requirement is to identify
processes to be automated for the future users. This process information could be derived
by relating the future User Characteristics to the Process Attributes.

5.4.1

Derivation of Demanding Process Attributes
The automation requirement depends on the snap shot of User Characteristics

as this is a dynamic set that can acquire values from different sets. The acquired values
depend largely on the lifestyle. Once a lifestyle is chosen, a set of User Characteristics
with appropriate values is generated. The generated list of User Characteristics is then
used to derive the set of Demanding Process Attributes. As discussed in Section 5.2 a User
Characteristic indicates or maps to any constraint/s experienced by the users following a
specific lifestyle. A Process Attribute indicates the operational requirement to be met by
the user.
For every characteristic Ci in the set of identified User Characteristics C, if a
corresponding User Constraint is a Process Operational Requirement with specific Process
Attribute, that makes it difficult for the user with the specific characteristic to execute the
process. Such Process Attributes are chosen as Demanding Process Attributes.

DP A = {∀Ci | Ci ∈ C ∧ ∃Tij | Tij ∈ Ti • Tij ∧ ∃aij | aij ∈ ai ∧ ai ⊆ A
∧ ∃rijk | rijk ∈ rij ∧ rijk = Tij • aij }

(5.9)

A process with values of Process Attributes matching to one or more values in the
set of Demanding Process Attributes is of interest as it is difficult for the user to accomplish
this process with the identified set of User Characteristics.
The relationship of User space, Process Space and derivation of processes for automation are depicted in Figure 5.1. This Figure depicts a number of selected User Characteristics listed as C3 , C11 , C17 , and C6 . User Constraints corresponding to one or more of
these characteristics are shown as T31 , T61 , T111 , T171 , and T63 . Operational requirements
for one or more of the Process Attributes of A31 , A40 , A42 , and A61 are shown as r311 , r401 ,
r421 , r312 , and r611 . In this example, the listed constraints are matching to the operational

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125

requirements. Therefore these process attributes are chosen as the Demanding Process Attributes for the selected set of User Characteristics that belong to the set of specific Users
as indicated in the Figure 5.1.

5.4.2

Processes to be Automated
The set of processes that are target for automation are the ones with the Process

Attribute values matching to any in DP A. The target set of processes for automation,
obtained from the above derivation, is given in the set below.
P A = {∀pi | pi ∈ P ∧ ∃aij | aij ∈ ai ∧ aij ∈ DP A • pi }

(5.10)

Here the implication is that by understanding the factors affecting User Characteristics, mostly from a prevalent lifestyle, followed during a period of time, a sizable segment
of market may have the same automation needs.

5.5

Application To Home Automation
The ultimate purpose of following REFUSS is to extract information on process

automation that can be suitable for the envisaged future market. The demand for HA
products and services are invariably dependent on the Home User requirements emerging
from the prevailing lifestyle. There are many Environmental Factors influencing lifestyle
changes. Impact on demand for the HA products and services, due to alterations to these
factors, is unpredictable.
REFUSS, as detailed in the previous sections, provides a systematic and formal
way of deriving process automation needs. The application of REFUSS requires a system
model with identified processes. The Family System reference model developed as part
of this work and the detailed analysis carried out in Chapter 4 identify processes. The
Process Attributes can be derived from this information. The following section details the
development of scenarios in order to formulate the future User Characteristics.

5.5.1

Creation of Home Lifestyle Scenarios
Scenarios are developed to understand the plausible future lifestyle of Home Users

and the major factors influencing these lifestyles. A clear understanding of these helps

Chapter 5: Scenario Based Future User Requirements Elicitation

User Constraints

T31 T61 T111
T171 T63 T65

C1

C2
C7

C9
C8 C10
C5
C13 C17

User Space With User
Characteristics

126

Process Requirements

r311 r401
r421 r312
r611

=

C3
A11 A33
A32
A40 A41
A42 A12

C3 C6
C11
C11
C17

Process Space With
Process Attributes

A31
A40 A42
AA6142

Demanding
Process
Attributes

System with
Processes

Users

PP13
P
PP26 4
P3
P4 P11
P5 P7
P8 P9

P3
P4
P6
Processes
Needing
Automation

Figure 5.1: Derivation of Processes for Automation

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127

strategists to take right decisions regarding technology investment for product development.
Scenarios depicting future life styles are developed from identifying and correlating a number
of factors collected. The goal here is to explore plausible lifestyles that may evolve in the
next 10 to 15 years. The scenarios described in the following sections have been developed
following the steps described in section 5.3.1.
Initially a large number of factors that are issues or trends are identified, with the
intention of detecting all Environmental Factors that influence home lifestyle setting trends.
As the purpose is to prepare for the unknown future, a global perspective covering all areas
is taken.
In order to build the foundation for the different scenarios, the Environmental Factors listed below are considered. This is not an exhaustive list; it is filtered to accommodate
only the factors that have major influence. These factors include:
• Social
– working parents
– reducing housework time
– employed single parents
– use of processed food
– increasing number of home appliances
– desire for more leisure time
– diet related diseases
– period of formal education
– desire for quality of life
– work pressure and stress
– increasing necessary services
• Economical
– credit card debt
– energy cost
– easily available credit facility

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– cost of education
– job insecurity
– housing cost
• Political
– globalisation
– dynamic job market
– increased mobility
– information overload
• Ecological
– water scarcity
– resource shortage
– global warming
– need to reduce carbon emission
The impact of a factor on another factor is indicated by a numeric value ranging
from 0–3 inclusive, 0 indicating no impact and 3 indicating high impact. An influence
matrix is created as described in Section 5.3.1. The total impact/predictability for each of
the factors is calculated using the matrix and applying the expressions given in Equations
5.7 and 5.8. These values are plotted in a two-dimensional space of the XY plane consisting
of impact on X-axis and predictability on the Y-axis. The whole two-dimensional space is
divided into four quarters. The most interesting factors are the ones of high impact and
low predictability. These factors are located in the top right hand quadrant of the graphics
space. Referring to Figure 5.2, the following factors are found to be the critical factors of
high impact and low predictability.
• Working parents
• Cost of living
• Desire for leisure time
• Wish for good quality of life

Low
Predictability
High

129
Chapter 5: Scenario Based Future User Requirements Elicitation

Low

Processeed
Food

Household Debt

Prolonged
Formal
Education
Globalisation

Resource
Shortage

Impact

Working Parents

Leisure Time
Quality of Life
Cost of Living
Necessary
Services
Dynamic Job
Market
Work Pressure
and Stress

High

Figure 5.2: Impact / Predictability Matrix

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130

• Increasing necessary services
The major underlying factors influencing the critical factors are the skill level of
women, work pressure and stress. Rise in dual income families and busier lifestyle lead to
increased consumption of processed food. It is also established by the statistics available
on related data as described here. In US women accounted for 46.4 per cent of the labour
force in the year 2005 and the number of women in the labour force is expected to increase
by almost 10.9 per cent between 2004 and 2014 (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2006).
As per the Equal Opportunities Commission of Britain Report, between 1984 and 1999 the
proportion of women in the labour market increased from 66 to 72 per cent (Equal Opportunities Commission, 2000). In Australia, the percentage of employed women increased
from 40 per cent in 1979 to 53 per cent in 2004 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006c).
Increased participation of women in paid employment increases the percentage of working
parents.
Desire for more leisure time and better quality of life is another influential factor
of high impact. The driving force behind these factors is the increased hours spent in paid
work. The average weekly hours worked for full-time and part-time workers have increased
in Australia over the last two decades– for men by 1.9 hours per week and for women by 1.7
hours per week (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006b). On the other hand the time for
housework has halved over the last three decades and time women use for household work
has declined by about 2 hours.
The cost of living is boosted by factors such as housing costs, energy costs and
increasing necessary services. Average household energy consumption per person increased
by 17 per cent between 1983–84 and 2003–04 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006b),
which is a contributing factor to the cost of living. The above listed factors, being of high
impact, and responsible for setting the trend, are called the driving forces for the present
home lifestyle.

5.5.2

Three Scenarios
In case of scenarios, the past and present are used to create the most predictable

future. The purpose is to create more than one future. The driving forces are grouped
into two trend-setting factors of busy leisure loving society and living costs; these are taken
as the dimensions of the scenarios. The horizon year is chosen as 2020. It is logical to

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131

Table 5.1: Future Projections: Lifestyle in 2020
Factor
Busy Leisure
Loving
Households

Variation One
15-20% increase
in Employed
women

Variation Two
15-20%
increase in
Employed
women

Variation Three
20-30% decrease
in employed
women

Cost of
Living

reduces
by 5%

increases
by 5%

Increases
by 5%

Driving Forces
Skill level of
women, smaller
family size
work pressure
Desire for more
leisure time
Housing costs,
energy and water
costs, cost of
education, many
necessary services

create scenarios by contemplating alterations to these factors in both positive and negative
directions deviating from the trend. Contemplating positive or negative changes to the two
dimensions in association with plausible variations to the underlying factors results in four
scenarios. The factors and the contemplated changes are provided in Table 5.1.
The best-case scenario is developed by allowing positive variations to one of the
dimensions that is most desirable and negative variations to the other dimension. This
gives rise to Variation One resulting in Scenario One as indicated in Table 5.1. The most
probable scenario is worked out by allowing variations to the chosen factors following the
current trend, as Variation Two leading to Scenario 2. The worst case Scenario is worked out
to be extremely dissimilar to the current trend by allowing a substantial negative change
to the most critical factor and contemplating changes to other factors in this direction.
This is indicated by Variation Three resulting in Scenario Three. Scenario Four depicts the
history where both factors have negative changes, which is not discussed in detail here. The
scenarios are illustrated in Figure 5.3.
The following three scenarios are created by using the plausible impact to lifestyle
if any one set of the above listed changes occurs. Scenario Two depicts the future that
may evolve following the trend; this is the most expected. The other two scenarios can be
used to visualize futures in case of a surprise shift to the trend-setting forces due to some
unforeseen reasons. The three scenarios and the dimensions are shown in Figure 5.3.

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132

Busy Leisure
Loving Society
Automated
Home with
Reduced
Resource Use
Low Living
Costs
History

Fully
Automated
Home
High Living
Costs
Homes with
Low
Automation

Society for
Sustainability

Figure 5.3: Scenarios
Scenario 1: Automated Home Supporting lower cost of living
In this scenario there is a division of trend. Following the current trend the use of
processed food and percentage of working women increases. The society is leisure loving and
at the same time very concerned about the increasing cost of living. The major contributing
factors are costs of housing and resources – power, gas, fuel, and water. Every effort is made
to reduce the cost of living. As the population grows, water becomes a scarce resource and
the price is increased.
Many actions are taken to reduce the capital cost and the running cost of maintaining houses. The average size of the house is reduced and houses are built to use natural
sunlight and breeze effectively. Use of HVAC systems is reduced. Each house has its own
rain water tanks, grey water systems and water distribution systems. An electrical power
production system is also built into the house. The home office is more formally established
to reduce commuting to centrally located offices and thus counterfeit spending on fuel.
Young mothers are given more flexibility in their working hours enabling them to
facilitate early childhood education at home. This reduces expenditure on education and
travelling costs.
The lifestyle changes described above produce additional automation needs such
as energy management, monitoring and distribution of water, monitoring and control of
resource use.

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133

Scenario 2: Leisure Loving Busy Families and Householders
In this scenario, by 2020 the percentage of working women has increased by 20
per cent globally resulting in more than 60 per cent of dual income families. More than 40
percent of the employed women have taken up skilled jobs demanding higher commitment.
This became a necessity as the cost of living increased due to price hikes in housing, energy
and water. The percentage of fully or partially employed people increased substantially due
to the increase in retirement age also. These trends resulted in a society of people who are
richer and busier. People are more stressed due to their full-time jobs in a highly dynamic
environment.
Globalisation has resulted in more international business and increased travel by
employees of corporate businesses. As women became more involved in corporate activities
due to handling of executive positions they needed to spend time to socialise with colleagues
and business friends. Under these circumstances it became extremely difficult to look after
household duties, being away from home more often, or mentally tired or busy. Generally
women commenced their jobs soon after their studies; taking up more interest in their career
significantly reduced their expertise and enthusiasm in managing the household. Earning
a good income and engaging in a stressful job during the day prompted people to have
more leisure time and an improved quality of life. As women are well-employed, they play
a major role in purchasing and facilitating households with modern amenities.
As more and more women take up skilled and managerial jobs, households need
to be easily maintainable, cooking less tedious and time efficient, and also it should provide a relaxing environment. Better quality life style and leisurely activities become more
prominent. Use of processed food is not considered as the best alternative to cooking for
the generally health conscious society.
As people are often away from home for job, education, and business trips, Home
Users consume food mostly from outside home. But quality of food is maintained; there
are systems in place to ensure that a balanced diet is followed. As the overall living cost is
high, finance is carefully managed to support the desired high quality.
Scenario 3: Enlightened Hardworking Society Promoting Sustainability
The extreme modernisation and automation are found to be having an adverse
effect on the sustainability of the human population due to global warming and other

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environmental disasters. Governments and other social organisations started promoting
a more traditional way of life, consuming less industrialised products and resources. As a
result of such drastic changes in policies world wide, an entirely different life style is followed
by a majority of people.
Government policies promote mothers to stay at home and look after the children
as many social issues have been on the increase. People are strongly advised to use more
fresh food rather than processed food. As the full-time housewife role re-appeared, growing
vegetables, making snack food, and dress-making became usual household activities.
In this new lifestyle some of the older traditions regained practice such as the use
of more fresh food and home-made snack food. Households produced energy for their own
use and also water collection and distribution became a household responsibility.
This scenario depicts a lifestyle with an entirely different set of characteristics and
thus automation needs. The women did more physical work and generally people felt more
physically tired after mundane activities during the day. As people engaged in more labour
involving work the average skill level reduced.

5.5.3

Automation Needs For a Society Following Scenario Two Lifestyle
The automation needs are worked out for the Scenario Two only, as this is the

most expected. As the method used is formalised and the generic information on User
Characteristics and Process Attributes are worked out, the automation needs for other scenarios can be derived any time as and when required. It is quite possible to modify the
automation needs based on signals of deviation from the expected future.
Derivation of User Characteristics and Process Attributes
A number of User Characteristics are listed below, and based on these, different
values can be chosen from the enumerated list as per the lifestyle followed. These are the set
of User Characteristics that have a closer relationship with the process use. Each scenario
described above produces a different set of values.
The User Characteristics include:
• Engagement: {hectic, busy, mostly busy, free}
• Emotional state: {stressed, tired, relaxed }

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135

• Physical state: {energetic, tired, exhausted}
• Skill level: {skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled }
• Availability {available, mostly available, rarely available, unavailable }
• Time management: {planned, disorganised, unplanned, forgetful }
The Family System reference model represents the basic processes used by householders. There are a number of Process Attributes that need to be considered before specific
value can be set. The set of Process Attributes with a possible list of values are given below.
These Process Attributes are taken considering the nature of Family Process and the user’s
general perspective in carrying out these processes.
• Ease of use: {simple, complex}
• Time requirement: {short, time consuming, highly time consuming}
• Frequency of use: {rare, intermittent, routine}
• Labour requirement: {laborious, light, effortless}
• Operational effectiveness: {neglected, erratic, efficient}
Derivation of Processes for Automation
User Characteristics are derived for the most likely lifestyle that is plausible.
Householders following this lifestyle generally exhibit the User Characteristics as given
below.
• Engagement: hectic or busy
• Emotional state: stressed
• Physical state: tired
• Skill Level: semi-skilled
• Availability: rarely available
• Time management: forgetful

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136

Table 5.2: Process Attributes and Operational Requirements)
Process Attribute
Time requirement
operational effectiveness
labour requirement
frequency of operation
Ease of use

value
time-consuming
erratic
laborious
routine
complex

Requirement
Time
attention
labour
regular attention
skilled operator; concentration

Selection of User Characteristics with the associated values listed above are also
established by other studies which reveals that working parents feel stressed, lack free time,
and engage in work related travel often being away from home (Beech et al., 2003).
Each of the above User Characteristics is indicative of certain constraints in process
operation. These constraints include
• Time
• Concentration
• Physical labour
• Operational skill
• Regular attention
• Remembrance
For the Home Users having the above characteristics the following Process Attributes become demanding. The set of Demanding Process Attributes for the above set of
User Characteristics can be decided logically by going through each value and considering
the possibilities.
A number of Process Attribute values used here are defined below for clarity.
Definition 5.25 Complex Process: A process operation becomes complex to the user if it
involves one or more of the tasks of accumulation of input data over a period of time, evaluation and selection of input, analysis and decision making for processing or cumbersome
and lengthy processing.

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137

Table 5.3: Processes Having Demanding Process Attribute(DPA)
Process Name

DPA

Update Stock
Prepare grocery List
Select Menu and Recipes
Plan and Decide Meals for a Week
Prepare items for cooking
Cook
House Cleaning
Clean utensils and kitchen
Budgeting
Monitor diet
Account Keeping
Monitor Exercise
Financial Planning
Schedule Payment
Monitor Study Progress
Monitor and Control Expenses
Monitor Health Parameters
Schedule and attend School Events
Update Inventory of Equipment
Monitor and Follow Equipment services
Reord and update service providers

routine
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
routine; time consuming
complex
routine
routine
routine
complex
routine; complex
routine; complex
routine; complex
routine
time consuming
complex
erratic
neglected

Process
Type
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Hybrid
Hybrid
Hybrid
Hard
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft
Soft

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Definition 5.26 Time consuming Process A process operation becomes time consuming for
the user if it involves 15 minutes or more of interaction, or attention required from the user
such that the user is withheld from fully engaging in any other activity.
Definition 5.27 Routine Process A process operation becomes a routine activity for the
user if it requires repetition at the minimum of daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis.
Processes with the following Process Attribute values become demanding to complete as the Process Operational Requirements of these processes are matched to one or
more of the User Constraints listed above. The set of Demanding Process Attributes and
corresponding operational requirements are shown in Table 5.2. Definitions for Soft, Hard
and Hybrid process types are provided in Section 4.2.
Considering each of the User Characteristics, it is found that the associated constraint is a process requirement of Processes having the listed Process Attribute. Therefore
processes with the above Process Attribute values become demanding to complete.
Using the analysis results of the Family System, all the processes within various
subsystems are listed with corresponding attributes. The set of Demanding Process Attributes derived above is used to arrive at the list of processes to be automated. The results
obtained are given in Table 5.3.

5.6

Chapter Summary
This chapter has introduced the new method of REFUSS developed as part of

this research. REFUSS provides a systematic and theoretically founded method to derive
user requirements by relating process and user knowledge. To extend the user requirement
elicitation to future user needs, REFUSS integrates the application of scenario technique.
The development of REFUSS is done following a number of steps and formally defined terms. This chapter also defines the terms of Process Attributes, User Characteristics,
and Demanding Process Attributes and these terms are relevant for any complex systems.
The user requirement elicitation based on the process and user related factors enables a
review of automation requirements in case of changes in process needs or User Characteristics. This method produces a list of processes for automation with formal reasoning and
concrete justification. This chapter has presented three interesting and revealing scenarios.
These scenarios expose plausible deviations to the current and anticipated future lifestyle.

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The scenario development also provides information on influential factors that can twist the
present trends.

Chapter 6

Conceptual Framework For Home
Information Management
The application of Requirement Elicitation of Future User by Systems Scenario
(REFUSS) in Chapter 5 exposes the process automation needs of Home Users following
plausible future lifestyle trends. This chapter explores the possibilities of automating the
Soft Processes identified for automation using REFUSS as listed in Table 5.3. Three aspects
discussed here are automation of process input, process execution and delivery of process
output at the right time and right place. Manual execution of Soft Processes involves use and
creation of information, application of knowledge and intelligent decision making. Therefore,
the automation of Soft Processes requires a System to support information processing and
related tasks, thus providing Home Information Management and Intelligence Services.
The automation of process input is the most critical but problematic element for
achieving the desired process automation. This is critical because dependence on manual
data entry is the underlying reason for the lack of popularity of currently available software products. Previous studies have found that even equipping the user with a wearable
computing device to record dietary intake failed to achieve the desired result (Yon, Johnson, Harvey-Berino, & Gold, 2006). The automation of input is problematic as the data
are originally created mostly by External Entities and these data reside in disparate locations in heterogeneous systems embedded in various formats. There are currently available
facility for record keeping, including tools provided by External Entities such as Finance
Service Providers or Communication Service Providers. Such facilities provide partial func-

140

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tionality and introduce the additional task of keeping track of separate user details for each
service provider and accessing different websites. Another disadvantage is that the Home
User cannot easily collate different pieces of information from various locations for further
coordination and use.
This study introduces the concept of an Ubiquitous Intelligence System for Home
and Personal Life Management or in short UbiHoPe that facilitates the automation of identified Soft Processes. The purpose of the conceptual model UbiHoPe is to understand the
framework for a system supporting automation of input, process implementation, and delivery of output from the Soft Processes. This work proposes a conceptual model named
eHome that is the central unit of the UbiHope providing the necessary resources and functionalities facilitating automation of the processes. The eHome model is used to understand
the software and hardware components required for the automation of the identified Soft
Processes.
Section 2.7 provides a brief overview of related work describing the theoretical aspects of intelligence, context and ubiquitous computing applied later in the chapter. Section
6.1 discusses the services that can be provided to the Home Users by automating the Soft
Processes. Section 6.2 introduces UbiHoPe and illustrates the architecture. This section
also introduces the concept of eHome. Section 6.3 discusses the software and hardware
requirements for eHome. Section 6.4 discusses the issues in implementing the UbiHoPe and
eHome concepts.

6.1

Automated Services
The Soft Processes identified for automation using REFUSS belong to five differ-

ent subsystems – Finance, Meals, Education, Health, and Housing and Transport. The
subprocesses, and input/output details of the subprocesses within each of these subsystems
are provided in Sections 4.2 - 4.4. As per the analyses provided in these Sections the Soft
Processes are intellectual tasks that involve use of information, knowledge based reasoning
and decision making. Therefore, from the usage point of view, the automation of the Soft
Processes should deliver services that can be classified into three groups that are information, knowledge and intelligence. In addition, there is need for receipt and storage of data
from External Entities as well as data produced by subprocesses as depicted in the DFDs
provided in Chapter 4.

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Based on this, the automation needs to deliver the following category of services.
1. Data Collection and Storage
2. Information Service
3. Knowledge Service
4. Intelligence Service
These services and associated functionalities are discussed in the following sections.
A number of terms used in the discussions in this chapter are formally defined for
clarity and simplicity.
Definition 6.28 Data consists of one or more elements having specific values, from a range
of values, required as process input or produced as process output and can be represented
electronically.
Definition 6.29 Data Source is any electronically representable material containing Data.
Definition 6.30 Originator is any External Entity, Home User, other person, system, or
application that creates or owns Data or a Data Source.
For example a utility bill is a Data Source and there are various Data embedded
in this Data Source. These include payment details: payment due date, payment amount,
and bill reference number. There are other Data included in this Data Source that may be
used for processing such as usage details. The Originator in this case is an External Entity
who is a service provider. The Soft Processes require Data from Data Sources such as bills,
purchase receipts, warranties, manuals, news letters, insurance contracts, payment receipts,
school reports, medical reports, mortgage documents, application forms, taxation related
documents, pay slips, recipes, invoices, and statements from financial institutions.
Personal details of Family members are also required for Soft Process execution
and examples include food preferences, work schedules, diet constraints, important dates,
details of extended family and friends. An example set of various Data Sources, Data
involved, input frequency, and the Originators involved are listed in Table 6.1.
Currently, these Data Sources are mostly electronically generated, but are provided
to Home Users in printed form; however, there is a gradual shift to electronic delivery.

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Mostly, delivery of these Data Sources is Originator initiated. The Originators use a variety
of software applications/systems for creating these Data Sources; these may include database
applications, web based tools, or domain specific specialised software applications. The Data
Collection and Storage service is required to collect and store the Data Sources electronically
and to extract the required Data from these Data Sources for facilitating process input and
future use by the Home User.

6.1.1

Data Collection and Storage
The analyses conducted in Sections 4.2 - 4.4 depict process input requirements for

both processing and control. The goal of automation should be nil to minimum manual
data entry by the Home User. This is the most critical, but problematic, aspect of achieving
automation. To achieve this goal, the required functionalities include:
1. Collection and Storage of Data Sources
2. Extraction of Data from Data Sources
3. Automated Communication

Taxonomy of Data Sources
It is required to categorise and group Data Sources for processing purposes and
later easy accessibility of documents by the user.
From the usage point of view these Data Sources can be classified into the following
categories.
• FA (For Action)
A Data Source can be classified as FA type if it contains Data for the Home User to
take action. For example an invoice is for action; therefore it belongs to the category
of FA and requires Data extraction.
• FI (For Information)
These type of Data Source contain data informing the Home User any specific details.
A letter from a finance service provider is an example.

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Table 6.1: Details of Input Data
Data Source
Form
Form
Form
Report
Online book
purchase receipt
Database
Database
progress report
Newsletter
Invoice
Invoice
Pay slip
Purchase Receipt
Payment Receipt
Insurance Policy
Bank Statement
Payment Notice
Prescription

Data
Meals Details
Menus
Food Preferences
Diet Constraints
Recipes
Grocery details
Ingredient List
Nutrition
Information
Academic Result
School events
Utility charge
Govt. Fees
and Charges
Wages
Grocery Expense
Repair, services
Insurance
premium
Allowances
Tax Return
Medication

Frequency
Configuration
Configuration
Configuration
Configuration
Configuration
Weekly
As required
As required

Subsystem
Meals
Meals
Meals
Meals
Meals
Meals
Meals
Meals

Originator
Home User
Home User
Home User
Home User
External Entity
External Entity
External Entity
External Entity

Termly
Weekly
Quarterly
Quarterly

Education
Education
Finance
Finance

External
External
External
External

Entity
Entity
Entity
Entity

Fortnightly
Weekly
As required
Monthly

Finance
Finance
Finance
Finance

External
External
External
External

Entity
Entity
Entity
Entity

Monthly
Annual
As Required

Finance
Finance
Health

External Entity
External Entity
External Entity

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• FR (For Records)
A Data Source that needs to be stored only for record purposes belongs to this category. An example is a payment receipt.
• FIR (For Information and Reference)
A manual received is for information and future reference only, belonging to the category of FIR; the facility to easily access a particular part of the manual is the requirement.
The processing required and the amount of Data to be extracted vary a lot based
on the above classification.
The correct categorisation of Data Sources requires the system to extract some
document-specific information. What information can the system use for correctly identifying the category of retrieved Data Source? This information could be based on the
document content, Originator, time, type of document or a combination of these. How can
this information be obtained? What search criteria can be formulated for user accessibility?
There should be well-formulated criteria to remove or archive an existing Data Source.
Data storage is required for Data Sources received from Originators who are External Entities, Home User generated data, and data generated during processing required
for later use. In the absence of Originator initiated delivery of Data Source this service
needs to initiate communication with the Originator and obtain the Data Source/Data.
Automated Communication
There is a need to facilitate automated communication for two types of input Data.
The first type is Data required from Data Sources that are not sent by Originator initiated
delivery. The second type is context dependent and temporal Data. These Data collection
details are discussed below.
This service needs to detect and initialise communication to collect Data Sources
when there is an absence of Originator initiated delivery. An example is the collection
of Data related to purchased grocery items. The Ingredient List (IL) and Nutritional
Information (NI) are provided by the manufacturer for processed food; these details are
required for dietary analysis, and the monitoring and control of diet as discussed in Section

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4.4. It is required to communicate with the Retailer’s/manufacturer’s product database to
collect IL and NI for any new food item purchased.
Effective automated communication is required to obtain temporal process specific
input from the Home User. The collection of such Data becomes critical from the fact that,
at the time of prompting the Home User may not have the required details and this input
can be left unfilled. For example, a guest being present for a meal, the user may not
remember that the food constraints of the particular guest are absent.
This service needs to devise suitable communication modalities for the collection
of contextual and temporal Data. The initiation and use of an appropriate medium of
communication becomes critical considering the ubiquity of the Home User, thereby variations to connectivity using heterogeneous devices. These devices include a home PC, office
workstation, a mobile device, or a TV. An example is obtaining current activity and expected completion time from a Family member when there is an unexpected deviation from
schedule.

6.1.2

Information Service
This service is significant for facilitating effective access to all Family related infor-

mation to the Family members and related agencies as permitted. By availing this facility
this service becomes the Family’s/individual’s single access point for all necessary records
such as invoices, purchase details, warranties, contracts, insurance policies, and certificates.
This service provides a digital repository for statistical reports and other information such
as medical history.
Some examples of statistical reports are listed below.
• Statistical Reports
1. Yearly energy consumption
2. Half-yearly mobile phone expense
3. Annual fuel expense
4. Annual transport expense
5. Annual consumption of cleaning materials
6. Annual consumption of specific grocery item
7. Annual consumption of processed food

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8. Annual expenditure on take away and eat out
9. Annual medical expenses.
• Family Member Related Information
1. Medical History
2. Immunisation details
3. Diet Constraints
4. Academic Information
5. Employment History.
• Household Details
1. Appliance Details
2. Insurance Details
3. Service Provider Details.
4. Equipment Service Schedule
As there are accumulated data, statistical reports providing desired information
can be generated with minimum effort and minor configuration.
This service needs to facilitate the organised storage of Data Sources and extracted
Data with efficient search/retreival for accessibility. The data collection discussed in previous section produces two types of records: original Data Sources in document formats and
extracted process specific Data in structured formats. A good proportion of both of these
are required to be stored for further use by the processes. An example is payment details
extracted from invoices and utility bills as given in Table 6.2. Such extracted Data provide
information on the required payments to be made.

6.1.3

Knowledge Service
The purpose of this service is to empower the Home User to be proactive in avoid-

ing known problems with technology assistance. These include problems in managing time,
finance and a balanced diet. The Soft Processes that can be of assistance in dealing with
these problems include payment scheduling, scheduling of time for attending school events,
scheduling of equipment servicing, budgeting, and meals planning involving selection of

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Table 6.2: Information on Bill Payments
Payment Name
Electricity
Rate
Telephone
Vehicle Insurance
Health Insurance
School Fees

Biller
Origin 1800
Council 78550
Primus 28650
RACQ 58350
MBP 230045
Loreto 373266

Bill No
77637909
50001014
31983181077
51963181000
60002014
21960

Amount
235.60
580.35
180.50
112.50
87.50
1200.00

Due Date
6-11-08
07-11-08
22-11-08
24-11-08
12-11-08
2-11-08

meals, menus and recipes. The scheduling requires evaluation of conditions and implementation of rules that involves application of Computational Intelligence (CI) converting the
Data to applicable knowledge. Time scheduling may require evaluation of the availability
of Family members, the time required for the task completion, and the urgency to complete
the task.
Example Services
The examples given below demonstrate the use of knowledge services for enhancing
the Home User tasks.
• Payment Scheduling
The payment schedule should enable the correct payment in time within the constraints of available funds and problem-free cash flow. Initially Data need to be
extracted on the required payment from Data Sources such as bills, and invoices to
generate information on payment as shown in Table 6.2. There can be problems to
avoid, while the payment needs to be completed. These problems may include cash
flow and credit-related issues. A Home User may not want to exceed certain credit
limits. At the same time there could be constraints within which the payment needs
to be completed. These constraints may include currently available funds, required
funds, and receivable payments. It is required to create applicable knowledge using
the extracted information by scheduling payments within the constraints of current
account balance, saving plan, debt reduction plan if any, income, and avoiding cash
flow problems. The generated schedule enables the Home User to make payments in
time; this reduces inconveniences or risks associated with mismanaging payments.

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• Meals Scheduling
Taking another example of meals planning, there are a number of factors to be considered such as available time for cooking, persons present for each meal, any guests
present, their food preferences, grocery items nearing expiry and dietary restrictions.
Built-in rules and inference are required to produce a meals plan that meets the
requirements. A well formulated meals schedule for a week provides applicable information or knowledge to prepare the meals.
By providing integrated information on many of the tasks to be carried out by
Family members, this service facilitates easy coordination between family members. For
example Family members can share the meals plan and share cooking tasks in an informed
way. Also, it provides assistance with re-scheduling on variations to the scheduled activity.

6.1.4

Intelligence Service
This service enhances decision making by providing context-specific knowledge.

This service uses the already formulated information and knowledge in association with
derived context to produce context specific messages or signals. An example is delivering a
warning message on an attempt to purchase an item that exceeds budgetary measures.
Generation of warning messages or control signals to trigger events requires context
derivation. This service needs to infer intelligence by associating context to already existing
knowledge. For example the generated payment schedule builds knowledge on funding required at various times. Having this knowledge, a purchase request made by the Home User
can be approved or disapproved. Here derivation of context and use of existing knowledge
are required to produce the message, the context being the task of purchasing and time.
Also this knowledge could be used to produce a reminder message to make the payment in
time or to organise funds. In this case the knowledge and context of time is used to produce
the intelligent advice.
The requirement for ubiquitous intelligence can be understood from the full context
information. The above example used the task as contextual information. The spatial and
temporal information related to this task are also important. The purchase request can
be made as part of planning done at home, or in a shop after seeing the item, or at the
time of purchasing the item and making the payment. In this case the knowledge from the
payment schedule is used at home, inside the shop or at the counter. In the first two cases

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the intelligent advice is produced in response to user request; the third case provides an
example use of ambient intelligence as it is produced without effort from the Home User.
• Monitoring and control of personal diet: an example
For complete dietary monitoring it is essential to include food consumed at and away
from home. Details of food consumed away from home need to be obtained from the
specific food purchase place. This requires identifying the user, and obtaining details
of food purchased – name, and serve size. Food consumed at home can be established
from the meals schedule followed or from the grocery purchase and consumption. Such
accumulated data can be used to produce statistical information on individuals’ diet
that may be valuable input in the case of a person having diet-related health issues.
There are several free online databases providing food composition and nutrition facts;
one of the prominent ones is International Nutrient Databank Directory maintained
by National Nutrient Databank Conference (Pennington et al., 2007). On availability
of food consumption details, the rest of the data for dietary analysis can be extracted
from these databases and integrated. The diet restrictions and food purchase can
be monitored and controlled with context specific messages or control signals. The
implication is that a Home User could obtain a personalised menu at a restaurant or
could obtain warning messages on food purchases that is unhealthy.
Control can be established in two ways, by application of ambient intelligence or by
user alert. In the former case, control signals are generated based on in-built rules without
the need for the Home User to initiate specific requests. In the latter case, the responsibility
is transferred to the user by the requirement to input specific requests.
The two options of implementing control necessitates the Home User to choose
situations where control is required, and others where the Home User receives an advisory
message rather than a control signal. There can be varying levels of control such as warning
messages, alerts, or refusal of service. The requirement is to have the right information,
at the right time and right place. This can be achieved by ubiquitous intelligence and
computing.
Messaging
A very common phenomenon in daily life is forgetting already scheduled commitments, especially when people are under various pressures. This service is required

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to produce messages that could be timely reminders for tasks already scheduled, warning
messages on deviation, or information messages on other family members’ status on activities. These messages provide the Home User with intelligent advice that is context specific,
appropriate to the time and place.
Currently available systems can produce less context specific messages at the cost
of consistent data entry from the user. This service needs to automatically generate these
messages based on the already generated information and correctly derived context of time,
place and task related information. For example an already generated payment schedule
can be used for automatically generating reminders on required payment on the date of
payment or alerts on funding problems.
Flexibility or Overriding facility
In most cases the process automation introduces a certain amount of structure to
the home and personal lifestyle. In a home environment, Home Users generally follow a
structured lifestyle, but not always.
One of the most important requirement for a system enabling the services discussed
in previous sections is to make the final output and the reasons/rules for arriving at that
output known to the user as well as provide easy overriding facility for the Home User. The
reason for this requirement is discussed here.
In spite of providing assistance to the Home User, the automated services have a
mixed flavour of control and support; the control happens by formalising and structuring
individual’s behaviour within pre-set rules. On the other hand, the user obtains support in
organising, scheduling and coordinating activities in an informed way. There can be three
situations where the generated control or advisory message may not be welcomed by the
user.
These include:
1. The inference goes wrong
2. User desired deviation to the set pattern
3. Lack of available input
Establishment of control facility using built-in rules and inferencing produce issues
of unwanted or unnecessary control signals produced by the system; these can be annoying

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to the user. Therefore, easy overriding facility is an essential requirement in the case of
pre-set control signals.

6.2

Ubiquitous Intelligence System for Home and Personal
Life Management (UbiHoPe)
This section introduces the framework of UbiHoPe that provides the services dis-

cussed in Section 6.1 for enhancing daily activities of Home Users by automating the Soft
Processes. The UbiHoPe is a conceptual model used for understanding the architectural
components of a potential system automating the services. The analyses of past developments in HA conducted in Section 2.5 establishes the lack of model for reference and a
conceptual framework. The UbiHoPe and eHome conceptual models rectifies this problem.
The UbiHoPe framework is designed based on the analyses conducted using the
Family System reference model as provided in Chapter 4. The requirement for:
• bidirectional communication with External Entities
• accessibility to information while away from home
• process execution and data storage facilities
are evident from the analyses. This work proposes a conceptual model named eHome
that is the central unit of the UbiHoPe providing the necessary resources and facilitating
automation of the processes. This is in view of the requirement for data storage and process
implementation facilities. Connection of eHome with Home User Devices is necessary for
facilitating accessibility to Home Users while away from home. Being a conceptual model
the physical location of a potential implementation of eHome can be within the house or
away from the house. Therefore, it is necessary to show the connectivity between eHome
and the home devices for clarity. Use of Internet for connecting eHome with other devices
and systems avoids additional infrastructure.
The uniqueness of the proposed model is the interconnection of existing systems
with minor modification/addition of components and reduced augmentation of environment
to achieve the ubiquitous computing and intelligence. The conceptual models provided in
this study are not design specifications for development.

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Retailer
Manufacturer/
Service Provider

DB Server WebServer
Household

Home User
Appliance PC

Point of
Sale
Terminal
Internet

Home User
Mobile Device
Home User Office
Workstation

eHome

Webserver
DB Server
Application Server

Figure 6.1: Architecture For UbiHoPe
The UbiHoPe functions with a number of components distributed in various systems and devices. These include systems distributed among External Entities – such as
web servers, database servers, and networking systems, Point Of Sale Terminal (POST) at
retailers, mobile devices of Home Users, Home Appliance sensors and other related communicating devices and the eHome. The architecture of the conceptual model of UbiHoPe
is shown in Figure 6.1. The Retailer, Manufacturer/Service Provider equipment shown in
Figure 6.1 are representative of the systems of External Entities. In most of the retail sales
transactions the data transfer involves a Point of Sale Terminal. This becomes an essential
part of the UbiHoPe in providing Data and facilitating information access.

6.2.1

eHome the Virtual Home
The eHome becomes a virtual home having all home related information and fa-

cilitating all information services required for managing the home. The eHome has
• Information about the inhabitants of the house
• Objects representing equipment, appliances and other items within the house
• Documents and databases on all home related matters.
• Applications to access, modify or add information from anywhere.
• Networking facilities to communicate with external systems.

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Everything one needs to know about the Family members, or other items related
to the home, is available through the eHome. This is achieved by having the hardware and
software required for implementing the automated services discussed in Section 6.1.
The eHome has to facilitate global operational accessibility for the Home User
enabling a mobile Family, as discussed in Chapter 4. Allowing this, a Family or Family
member should be able to use the services from any part of the world at any time. This
operational accessibility should allow a Family member to access already stored records,
modify existing records, or input new Data.
The eHome enables communication either over the Internet or directly, as required
with other systems and devices within the UbiHoPe. The very basic requirement of ambient intelligence systems enabling unobtrusive responds to interaction of users is achieved
by seamlessly integrated proactive computing devices that can communicate with heterogeneous systems (Sadeh et al., 2006; Serral, Valderas, & Pelechano, 2008).

6.2.2

Point Of Sale Terminal (POST)
Here the author proposes a smart POST. A smart POST is required to enable

Originator initiated Data transfer to the eHome in case of sales transactions involving
Home Users. The smart POST in a retailer’s outlet enables the Home User to collect
and transfer the required information related to purchased goods. At the time of a sales
transaction processing, the smart POST identifies the Family member and Family with the
associated eHome, and establishes communication with the eHome. The smart POST sends
the purchase list and payment receipt to the eHome. If necessary the eHome establishes
communication with the maufacturer/retailer’s database. The database server of eHome
then retrieves all the necessary documents related to the transaction, such as product details,
warranty and user manuals from the database.
In the case of online shopping the Home Users receives a purchase list and payment
receipt in electronic form. These documents are in read only format. The processing and
data extraction issues related to such documents are discussed in Section 7.3.

6.2.3

Wearable computing
Devices that provide computing facilities and always attached to the person are

a necessary requirement for the ubiquitous use of information services. Wearable comput-

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ing devices are unceasingly available to users, typically attached to the body or clothes
(Narayanaswami, 2006). Cell phone is the most popular wearable computing device owned
by more than a billion people and some cell phones come with 640 x 480 pixel display,
32 GB hard disk, proximity sensor, integrated GPS (Global Positioning System), Wi-Fi
802.11xx, Bluetooth and digital camera (Phonegg, 2008). The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) consists of multiple layers providing presentation and delivery of information
on mobile terminal connected via Internet to other servers. This enables the connectivity
between eHome and a wearable computing device using the Internet. Another promising
contributor is electronic labels or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.

6.2.4

Systems of External Entities
The listing provided in Table 6.1 clearly shows that a large number of Data Sources

originate from External Entities. This necessitates communication between the systems of
External Entities and the eHome. The External Entities of medium to large sizes have
systems in place for storage and transfer of these Data Sources. These generally include
database servers, web servers and middleware applications. Automated data transfer to
the eHome requires modifications to the business process design and related systems of the
External Entities involved.
Additional steps are required in the current business processes due to the extra
communication and verifications necessary. On the other hand, businesses are shifting from
hard copy delivery of documents to electronic document delivery. Currently, there is no
uniform method for such electronic delivery. There are different methods used, including
email attachment of pdf file, web pages, comma separated value files downloadable from
websites, CDs and document files. There is an awareness of the need for reducing paper
usage. Networked electronic data delivery following a uniform method can replace the
currently followed processes that need more resources.

6.3

eHome Architecture and Functions
The eHome is the central unit of the UbiHoPe framework that facilitates the in-

terconnection of heterogeneous systems and devices enabling the automated services. The
eHome consists of a number of technical layers that are physical and logical units collaborating to provide the automated services.

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Middleware Layer
Access Control
Servers Web, email, Database
Service Manager
Inference Engine
Knowledge Base
Physical Layer
Figure 6.2: Technical Layers of e-Home

6.3.1

Technical Layers of eHome
A number of collaborating logical layers and their functions are discussed in the

following sections. The layered architecture is illustrated in Figure 6.2.
Physical Layer
This layer consists of the Data Repository for storage and retrieval of Data Sources,
and networking components of cables, and other necessary software and hardware. This
layer also contains the Database holding extracted structured data or formatted input Data
received from Home Users. The Home User related Data include user profiles containing
user preferences and other details.
An object repository that stores objects representing physical items at home also
forms part of this layer. These objects provide a virtual view of every item at home such
as equipment, appliances and so on. These objects have a dynamic state as their details
reflect the current details of items they represent. This object repository is logically part of
the UbiHope, but it can be physically located away from the house where backup facilities
are provided.
The storage of Data Sources requires two components: a repository for the ac-

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tual Data Sources in various file formats and a database storing metadata of these stored
elements. Efficient functioning of search/retrieval facility of Data Sources depends on the
correct storage of metadata.
Middleware Layer
This layer consists of applications dealing with inter-operability issues due to the
heterogeneous applications and devices the eHome interacts with. These applications makes
the interfacing possible by implementing suitable adapters and converters enabling interaction with heterogeneous Home User devices and systems of External Entities.
The eHome needs to communicate with systems of Originators in the client mode
to collect/receive Data. On the other hand eHome should provide data to external systems
of Originators in the server mode to facilitate customised/personalised service to a Family
member by a service provider. For example to generate a personalised menu in a restaurant,
the order taking system has to collect the food preferences and constraints from the eHome.
The eHome has to provide knowledge and intelligence services to the user requests
using remotely connected devices such as user mobile phone or a PC. Web services can play
a role in facilitating these services. A Web Services Description Language (WSDL) that
describes a service’s interface, a Simple Object Access Protocol(SOAP) used for transporting
XML messages, and a Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) directory
for storing information are the components of web services (Pashtan, 2005).
The other applications forming part of this layer include those for file format
conversion and data extraction.
Knowledge Base
This layer consists of modules used to build rules and cases that need to be applied for achieving autonomous services, codified knowledge amenable and effective for use
based on facts and relationships. The knowledge service described in Section 6.1.3 requires
codified knowledge for proper functioning. There are various techniques used for knowledge
codification such as decision tables, decision trees, frames, and production rules (Awad &
Ghaziri, 2003). These techniques provide systematic method to record reasoning applied in
arriving at a final schedule or decision; this helps in later modifications, or convincing other
family members. The Home User’s static context, and task related information forms part

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of the context model stored in the knowledge base. Information stored in the databases
within the physical layer is used for creating knowledge.
Inference Engine
This is responsible for applying the rules to arrive at a conclusion or choice in specific situation evaluating the existing conditions against the set rules. Most of the intellectual
tasks such as scheduling, coordinating, involves reasoning. The human reasoning is quite
complex and may involve techniques such as intuition, deduction, or induction. This layer
consists of programs that manages the application of knowledge from the knowledge base
to derive reasonable inferences using context specific information. This layer is responsible
for deriving the actual context from the stored context and the dynamic context–spatial,
temporal and/or currently chosen task. As discussed in Section 2.7, the current user activity, required task, task specific information, and the user related information are used by
this layer for deriving the context.
Services Manager
This layer manages the available eHome services by maintaining a searchable service registry, addition/deletion of services, activation or deployment of service. The services
belong to one of the categories discussed in Section 6.1 . Each service has associated input
data requirement for control and processing.
Having the information on input requirements for each service, this layer has modules to formulate and send queries to the Database Server/Web Server for extracting data
from the internal Database or systems of Originators. These modules initiate communication with systems of External Entities to obtain Data Sources in the absence of Originator
initiated data transfer.
Access Control
The eHome having the repository of all family related documents and information,
security is of prime importance. This layer has the necessary software for generating unique
authentication for the users, as well as setting different levels of access. This layer checks
attempts on unauthorised access and has the verification techniques.

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The other requirement is to enforce privacy and confidentiality of stored information. This may require enforcing data security by encryption before sending and decryption
of received data. This layer handles the necessary protocols for enforcing data security.
Server Layer
The Data Sources received from Originators need to be categorised and stored as
discussed in Section 6.1.1. There is a need for proper structuring and storage of extracted
data from these Data Sources. Such extracted data is required for providing information and
knowledge services. Therefore, the eHome requires a Database server to handle database related functions such as storage, data manipulation and archiving. In facilitating a database
management system, the server enables data access, search facilities, and security for stored
data. This has to support storage and access of documents and structured data.
A Web server forms part of the eHome to provide the functionality of global
accessibility. The Home User should be able to access the system using a mobile device,
TV or PC through Web Client.
One of the communication method for the eHome to collect data or send messages
is email. To facilitate this an email server is required.

6.3.2

Unique Authentication and Verification
The eHome implemented for each Family needs unique identification as well as

each Family Member or individual associated with an eHome, as necessary. Taking a global
perspective this identification needs to be internationally accepted. In case of generating a
new method of identification it should be easy to generate and use.
Once an individual or family is uniquely identified, there is a need for the eHome
and other External Entities involved to verify a Home User in association with the eHome
against the claimed identity.
Being the Family’s digital repository of all family related data with the ubiquitous
accessibility, enforcing secure access is of prime importance. Before finalising the security
measures it is necessary to formulate the different types of users requiring access to the
eHome as well as varying levels of accessibility requirement.
The different types of users include:
• External Entities

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• Adult family members
• Child family members
• Extended family
The External Entities can be categorised into two groups, Group One, which has
to transfer data on a regular basis and, Group Two which may need data transfer once or
occasionally. An example of an External Entity belonging to Group One category is a utility
service provider such as Energy supplier. A Group Two category example of an External
Entity is a PC retailer. These two groups need restricted access to transfer data. Group
Two could be given once-only access, whereas Group One may need a longer time-span
restricted access.
Adult family members need access to the eHome to use the services, perform
required data entry and alter service details. Child family members need access to the
eHome to use some of the services. For example, a school-going child may need to access
the system to view changes in his/her parent’s work schedule. Once an individual or family
is uniquely identified, there is a need for the eHome and other External Entities involved to
verify a user against the claimed identity.

6.4

Deployment of UbiHoPe
Assuming all the stake holders involved in materialising the UbiHoPe concept

agree on data availability, accessibility and other policy related issues, there remain many
technical aspects that need further attention. There are many issues related to obtain the
required data in a timely manner for achieving automation of the processes. Some of these
aspects are discussed here.
The Data sources are heterogeneous in their format and content, as evident from
the listing provided in Table 6.1; these can be categorised as structured, semi-structured and
unstructured, from formatting point of view. There exists the task of extracting required
Data for the process from these Data sources. This necessitates investigation of technology
needs and further development of technology as required to realise this functionality. These
issues are further discussed in Section 7.3.

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161

Data Transfer and Maintenance Issues
There are a large number of External Entities who are the Originators of Data

Sources. The collection of Data Sources from these Originators pauses some related issues
in terms of the frequency of data transfer, the amount of data transferred, and initiation of
data transfer.
Originator initiated data transfer can be one time only or it can be a regularly
occurring event. Is there a need to verify that the transferred Data Source is right? There
should be methods to deal with unwanted transfer of Data Sources by mistake or on purpose. This may involve regular scanning, filtering and removal of unwanted Data Sources
based on set criteria and rules. The collection of Data Sources necessitates communicating with heterogeneous applications conforming to different data transfer techniques and
communication protocols.
• User Data Entry Requirement
One of the major problems faced by Home Users is the lack of time, skills and willingness to enter data consistently. Automation in data collection is very critical for the
success of automating the Soft Processes. The performance of the envisaged eHome
depends on the availability of data at the right time and in the right format. The
data entry required from users should be nil to minimum.
• Availability of Data
Generally data is available in electronic format. There could be many situations where
data is totally unavailable or unavailable in electronic format: for example nutritional
information for a food purchased from a small to medium restaurant. The likelihood
of required data availability is debatable here. Otherwise, data may be available, but
not in electronic format.
• Type of Data
In the case of electronically available Data Sources, these can be in various types:
structured, semi-structured or unstructured. For example the data kept in a manufacturer’s database are structured, whereas a school newsletter is unstructured. The
technology needs to extract required data from different types of Data Sources are
discussed in Section 7.3.

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• Data Format
There are large variations in the formatting of Data Sources belonging to various data
types. Structured data of a specific DB application are formatted with semantics
specific to that entity. Even obtaining structured data does not guarantee interoperability.
• Lack of standards
There are no standards guiding the formatting of data so that meaning can be easily
interpreted. For example an invoice or bill may use various terms such as ’payment
due’, ’due date’, ’pay by’ or ’due on’ to mean the bill payment due date. These terms
may appear in different positions in different bills.
• Data Retrieval
The eHome needs to query user or External Entities to obtain required data in case the
data transfer is not Originator initiated. This requires automated query formulation
and analysis of query results.
• Problem Definition and Abstraction
Knowledge codification requires problem definition in terms of conditions. The problems should be identified and defined such that they are readily applicable for a larger
user base. Such generic problem definition could be difficult considering the diverse
characteristics of the Home Users. It is also required to consider the maintainability
of the codified knowledge in terms of adaptability to cater for changes in the Home
User requirements.
• System Administration
A system administrator is necessary to maintain the eHome involving many software
applications, operating system, networking and middleware applications. The maintenance include configuration, upgrading, backing up, addition/removal of software
components, and sorting out networking and security issues in a proactive way to
provide the required reliability.

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163

eHome as a Product
In this case the eHome system can be built from a base module and a number

of easily add-on modules where the Home Users can purchase the system with a selected
number of modules as a product. Vendor support is an essential requirement in this case,
for assisting the Home Users with installation and configuration as well as on-going support
for maintenance.
The Home Users need to pay upfront the full price of the product and they need to
bear the on-going cost of maintenance as required. The Home Users are also responsible to
acquire and maintain necessary hardware, PC and networking, to support the eHome software. As the data security and safety are critical, the Home User has to ensure appropriate
back up facility. As a family moves from one Phase of the Family Life Cycle to another,
addition or removal of modules and associated configuration are required.

6.4.3

eHome as a Service
The eHome as a product option may be less attractive in the market considering

the higher cost involved at the beginning and as well as the additional responsibilities of
software and hardware maintenance involved.
In the case of availing eHome as a Service the Home User needs to pay only a service
fee and can use all the functionality of the eHome. This research introduces the concept of a
Home Information Service Provider (HISP) to facilitate the Home User with eHome service,
without the additional responsibility of installing and maintaining the eHome. The HISP
facilitates and manages the eHome Services collectively for a larger number of Home Users,
thus making it cheaper and more attractive. The HISP collects details for configuring the
service as well as for updating as required. Security for stored data and back up facilities are
provided by the HISP. This could be more economical, compared to maintaining individual
system for each Family.
The idea of an external provider holding all information related to Family members
may not be convincing. Currently, such information is distributed among many service
providers such as government agencies, various health service providers, and other agencies.
The Home User needs to keep track of many access details including different authentication
methods.

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164

Chapter Summary
Based on the process knowledge obtained from the analysis conducted using the

Family System reference model, this chapter proposes a number of automated services.
These are generic services combining many processes across subsystems. This chapter also
discusses the Home User ubiquity and the requirement to manage time, money and food
related activities. A conceptual framework named UbiHoPe for home and personal life
management is introduced. An eHome forms central part of the UbiHoPe having the software and hardware components for achieving the automation. The technology needs and
technology gaps for materialising the UbiHoPe and the eHome concepts are discussed in
the next chapter.

Chapter 7

Innovative Product Ideas and
Investment Opportunities
The process automation needs identified in Section 5.5 provide valuable insight
into the future market needs of Home Users following the most plausible lifestyle trends.
The conceptual model presented in Chapter 6 depicts the possibilities of automating the
Soft Processes and resulting services. This chapter is dedicated to estimate market size,
and to transform the process automation needs into more pragmatic ideas of products and
services. This chapter also investigates technology investment opportunities for developing
the proposed products and services.
Section 7.1 provides estimation of a target market based on statistical data from
three countries that is indicative of the actual market size. Section 7.2 presents a number of
innovative product ideas derived from the identified process automation needs, and discusses
their functional and non-functional requirements. Section 7.3 investigates the required
technology to develop the proposed software based products and services, analyses the
limitations of current technology and identifies technology gaps. Section 7.4 discusses the
technology needs, and limitations of the current technology for the development of the
proposed robotic devices. Section 7.5 presents a plan for development of the suggested
products and services and explores technology investment opportunities.

165

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166

Target Market
Currently, market research and estimated market values are unavailable for the

products and services proposed in this research. This study has estimated a target market
size that is indicative of a substantial market. The Family Life cycle concepts are applied for
segmenting the market and available census data are used in the market size calculations.
The reasons for the absence of market information and logical correctness of the approach
used to address this issue are detailed in the following paragraphs.
The analysis carried out using the Family System reference model, user requirements derived using REFUSS, and the UbiHoPe conceptual framework developed, produce
a new perspective on Home Automation products that are innovative. The envisaged HA
products and services are not taken into consideration by market research groups as this
is very early in its research and development. Most of the suggestions in this work are in
their conceptual stage and it may need sometime before an awareness of such products and
services can be established.
The Family Life Cycle developed as part of the Family System identifies variation
to process usage during different periods of the life cycle. The Phases 2, 3 and 4 are found
to be the stages where families are busier – a period of twenty to twenty five years. The
focus of this analysis is busy families and the second interest group is aged people. Busy
families include families with children under the age of 18 years with both parents engaged
in paid work, and employed single parent families.
Statistical data on population are used to arrive at estimated values for a target
market. Data from three developed countries, US, UK and Australia, are used for this
purpose. The value in euros is calculated using an estimated expenditure of ¿100 per
family per annum. The data used for these estimations are based on the UK census 2004
and the Australia census 2006 (Walling, 2005; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007a; Office
for National Statistics, 2008). Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is used for
the data on families and aging population in US (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008b). The
total population of busy families and aging families is forecasted to be gradually increasing
for the next few decades. These data are used for estimating the market values for Years
2012, 2020 and 2030. The population of various segments in the chosen three countries and
the target market value estimates are given in Table 7.1.
Discussions provided in Section 2.3.3 clearly indicates the market penetration prob-

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Table 7.1: Target Market Segment for Automation
Country

Family Group

Australia
Australia
Subtotal
US

Subtotal
Total

Dual Income
Single parent
Busy Families
Dual Income
Single Parent
Busy Families
Dual Income
Single Parent
Busy Families
Busy Families

US
UK
Australia
Total

Aging
Aging
Aging
Aging

Subtotal
UK

Families
Families
Families
Families

Population
Millions
1.34
0.82
2.16
46.8
10
56.8
5.0
1.9
6.9
66

Value (Current)
Billions (Euros)

60
12.3
2.6
74.9

Value (Year 2030)
Billions (Euros)

0.216

5.7

0.69
6.6

9.7

7.49

7.8

lems. Previous studies expose that Home Users are price sensitive and pragmatic in their
purchase decisions. Even for technologies such as Internet the market growth has been slow.
This is evident from the statistical data that the global market of Internet users increased
from 117 million in Year 1997 to 1542 million in Year 2008 (International Telecommunications Union, 2009). These figures indicate that the market is not saturated even after a
decade.

7.2

Potential Products and Services
The application of REFUSS carried out in Section 5.5.3 has identified a number

of processes to be automated for Home Users following a plausible future lifestyle. The processes identified belong to the categories of Soft Process, Hybrid Process and Hard Process.
The Soft Processes belong to five subsystems of the Family System: Finance, Meals, Housing and Transport, Education, and Health. The Hybrid Processes belong to the subsystems
of Meals, and Housing and Transport.
Three different product sets are identified to automate the three different types of
processes that are Soft Process, Hybrid Process and Hard Process. Software based products

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can be used for automating Soft Processes, while Hard Processes can be mechanised. Hybrid
Processes are more complex as these require intelligence as well as handling of physical
resources. Robotic devices are suggested to automate Hybrid Processes.
Envisaged products and services automating any of the identified processes deliver
one or more of the following generic benefits to the Home User, thus meeting the market
needs identified in the Section 1.1.2.
• Time saving
• Labour saving
• Improvement in efficiency and effectiveness
• Reduction of complexity and errors
• Improvement of quality

7.2.1

Software Based Products and Services
“In the 21st century and beyond, software will provide the sensing, communica-

tions, and decision support capabilities that enable people to become aware, understand,
and collaborate in addressing the problems and opportunities they will have from local and
personal levels to global levels” (Boehm, 2008). As Boehm has stated, software has a major
role to play in personal lives of individuals. Home life is an area where the full potential of
software is not delivered as there is a lack of initiative and in-depth research.
The automated Soft Processes identified within the five subsystems can be categorised into three product areas. These product areas and the system facilities satisfying
the desired automation are discussed in the following sections.
Potential Software Products
1. Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)
One of the services required from eHome as described in Section 6.1.1 is collection
and storage of electronic data. This is an important requirement from the following
reasons.
(a) Gradual shift from hard copy to electronic delivery by businesses and service
providers

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(b) Mobility of Families
(c) Need for ubiquitous access
(d) Intuitive Web Access
(e) Further information processing
(f) Secure storage from theft, and damage
This study proposes an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) to provide
this service. This system has to automatically initiate communication with External
Entities and the Home Users to retrieve documents that are not transferred by the
Originator. This may involve communication with other web servers, database servers,
and user devices. This system consists of one or more databases to store the contents
and attributes of documents received from External Entities and created by the Home
User. The documents need to be categorised, and organised into logical groups for
later easy access. This system needs to provide secure storage of documents and easy
access to the document itself and all related information for a long period of time,
ideally decades. The document details may include document title, type of document,
Originator details, content summary, and access date. This system provides quick
and easy global access to document details or contents by powerful search facilities
over the Internet using a single point of access. As more and more documents are
delivered in electronic format this becomes a necessary service rather than an option.
2. Information Management System (IMS)
Electronically received data are difficult to process without tools. Efficient information
management is essential in improving problem awareness and empowering the Home
User to be pro-active. This can assist in reducing some of the problems listed in Section
1.1.2, such as financial and diet related health issues. The role of the Information
Management System is to facilitate effective information services providing timely and
reliable information on request to family members and related agencies, as detailed in
Subsection 6.1.2.
Automation of data extraction and information integration processing are essential
requirement of the system to generate statistical reports and other intelligible information. This system is required to provide service in real-time and periodically in a
timely manner.

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3. Ubiquitous Intelligent System (UIS) for Home Life Management
The purpose of this system is to provide knowledge and intelligence services for managing different aspects of home life, as detailed in the Subsections 6.1.3 and 6.1.4.
This potential system consists of modules providing services for managing:
• Finance
• Diet
• Health
• Education
• Housing and transport
The software, user permitted and configured appropriately, should facilitate generation of applicable knowledge that can assist the Home User in performing actions
so that related problems are avoided. The system should generate intelligence that
empowers the Home User in decision making, or as user permitted, safeguarding the
user from possible incorrect actions. For example, this could be a control signal disapproving the purchase of a high calorie food item from a school tuck shop by a child or
disapproving purchases on a credit card as the expenses have gone above the budget.
4. Ubiquitous Intelligent System (UIS) for Personal Life Management
The purpose of this system is to provide information, knowledge, and intelligence services for managing important aspects of personal life such as time, money and health.
The potential system needs to improve problem awareness and enhance decision making.
Software Service: Home Information Service Provider (HISP)
The above facilities can be delivered as a product component or they can be
delivered as part of a service. The Software as a Service (SaaS) concept allows the user to
use a software product without fully acquiring it and generally the application functionality
is delivered over a network from the application maintained by a service provider (Anerousis
& Mohindra, 2006).
The purpose of the HISP is to enable the Home Users to enjoy the benefits of one
or more software products without engaging in system administrator duties of maintaining

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the necessary hardware and software. The HISP facilitates the Home User with the functionalities of chosen Software Products as listed above without the need for procuring and
maintaining the Product. The HISP service should be economical for the users to afford.
The services other than the specific Product functionality to be provided by an envisaged
HISP are listed below.
• Create unique identification
The HISP creates a unique identification for the first time user of the software service
and makes it available for verification purposes.
• Initial system setup and configuration
This involves data entry and configuration of parameters where customisation is required.
• System maintenance
The HISP procures and maintains the required hardware and equipment for the
smooth functioning of the software. This also involves software and hardware upgrade and re-configuration if required.
• Data storage and back up
The HISP provides data storage and back up facility for all the data associated with
the software service used by a user.
• Secure global accessibility
The Home Users are provided secure accessibility to designated software services globally.

7.2.2

Electromechanical Devices
The discussion provided here is only a brief overview of currently available elec-

tromechanical devices and potential improvements. This is an area where technology has
contributed a lot in making many tasks mechanised, if not fully automated, and continuous
improvement is taking place in many appliances as a result of ongoing research. Technology can contribute further, especially in the kitchen area; a brief discussion below provides
insights to some alternatives.

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It is an interesting fact that most of the electromechanical devices for home use
are for tasks around the kitchen. The range of equipment under the category of food
processor is available as separate units which can be categorised as semi-automatic as it is
necessary to physically adjust these appliances with fixtures to suit the task. Cleaning of
these appliances is a manual task requiring removal of parts. These equipment do not form
part of a kitchen work bench and thus need to be brought in for use and packed away after
use, making it inconvenient and tedious.
Even though there are many appliances available for grinding, mixing, and cutting
these appliances are not part of a standard kitchen workbench. Cleaning parts of used
appliances and setting up these appliances for specific use are still difficult and not user
friendly. This is an area requiring further attention.
The appliance design can be improved to provide Total Process Support (TPS)
rather than providing functional capability. For example a Wok used for heating, the stirring
of contents to distribute heat uniformly is part of the process. Schematically a process starts
with certain preconditions, takes inputs, completes processing, produces output and satisfies
the post condition. Necessary testing facilities for checking the pre and post conditions
should be part of the appliance. Sensors to check pre and post conditions and use of these
sensor signals to control operation of the appliance can improve the ease of use and efficiency.
Preconditions could be:
• Cleanliness
• Presence and state of material to be processed
For example a stove need not be allowed to switch on without an item on the stove
top. Another example is a wet grinding that requires a certain amount of liquid in
the material to grind.
• Temperature.
Postconditions could be:
• Power off on completion of processing
An example is a stove that can switch off automatically when the item finishes cooking.
• Change of mode
An oven that turns into a warm mode on completion of cooking.

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Due to the limited scope of this study, electromechanical devices are not further discussed.

7.2.3

Robotic Devices
“Robots have long been imagined as mechanical workers, helping us in our daily

life.”(Kemp, Edsinger, & Torres-Jara, 2007). This study suggests use of robotics in automating Hybrid Processes that involve both intellectual and physical work, for example
preparing items for cooking following a recipe.
The Hybrid Processes identified for automation using the application of REFUSS
in section 5.5.3 include:
• Cooking
• House cleaning
• Prepare items for cooking
• Clean utensils and kitchen
There has been enough attention to automate tasks around kitchen and house
cleaning. The main attention towards house cleaning has been on floor cleaning. There are
other areas such as wash basin, dining table, kitchen work bench, and stove area that require
regular cleaning. As mentioned in Section 7.2.2, automation of mundane tasks around the
kitchen has gained enough attention, but still remains problematic. If one moves backward
in time the majority of tasks around the kitchen used to be done by a person with few
basic tools such as knives for cutting and a stone for grinding. Based on this experience
and the ineffectiveness of task based devices, an arm that can operate like a human arm
seems a solution without considering practical issues. Therefore this study introduces a
novel approach to address the existing problems by the application of robotics which is the
scientific method of combining the physical and intellectual capability of humans.
Two devices are suggested here where robotics can be applied with further research
and development. The proposed devices are:
• Kitchen Hand
• Cleaner Arm

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Kitchen Hand
A robotic arm functioning as a Kitchen Hand can automate many tasks such as
cutting, peeling vegetables, stirring contents in a vessel while being cooked, cleaning kitchen
work bench and stove area, and moving contents from a cookware to a tableware. A Kitchen
Hand becomes a desirable and attractive product for both busy families and aged people.
The envisaged Kitchen Hand can fold itself and stay inside an in flush shelf while not in
use.
The Kitchen Hand should have the functionality to:
• Identify objects
• Execute pre-defined procedures
• Use tools
• Handle kitchen utensils
• Handle rigid and non-rigid objects
• Perceive the context
• Adapt a pre-defined procedure to suit the current context.
The non-functional requirements for the Kitchen Hand are:
• Simplicity in operational instructions
• Response to short instructions
• Simplicity in correction
• Safe and smooth movements
• Fault tolerance
• Low operational noise.
The Kitchen Hand should be built with adequate protection to withstand oil,
steam and water. Another option is for the Kitchen Hand to move alongside the kitchen
workbench, increasing the service area. A Kitchen Hand that can operate on task based

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instructions, as opposed to engagement of a person continuously operating it, is the requirement for home. Current robotic devices operating in open environments such as earth
moving, or moving of heavy materials, are continuously controlled by an operator.
The envisaged Kitchen Hand is multi-functional, versatile, flexible in operations,
customisable with software modifications and easy to use. An always tidied up kitchen
without great trouble can be the dream of every housekeeper.
Robotic Cleaner Arm
Cleaning can be categorised as a Hard Process if the area to be cleaned is free
of obstacles. The cleaning involved at home can be classified as a Hybrid Process as the
cleaning requires correct use of tools, application of cleaning materials, sensing of area to
be cleaned and detection of the presence of human or other objects.
There are many areas in the house and furniture/equipment that requires regular
cleaning or tidying up. Examples are kitchen sink, bathroom wash basin, dining table,
and shower area; these require regular cleaning that is time consuming and tedious. The
application of robotics to design and build a robotic arm that does the job of a cleaner
could be of great use. While not in use the arm could fold itself and rest in a shelf built in
flush, without interfering with the regular use of the facility. The functional requirements
of a Cleaner Arm are:
• Identify the cleaning area
• Move within the cleaning area
• Move obstructing items
• Handle cleaning accessories and tools
• Apply cleaning agents
• Remove dirt and clean.
The non-functional requirement of a cleaner arm are:
• Operational simplicity
• Safe, smooth and simple movement

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• Low operational noise.
Generally, cleaning requires handling of chemicals and these chemicals are made
stronger to ease the removal of grease and dirt. People don’t find repetitive use of such
chemicals a healthy choice even though cleaning is inevitable. A robotic device is insensitive
to chemicals or heat and allows the most effective use of cleaning methods. For example,
steam cleaning or use of hot water may produce better results and be less damaging to the
environment compared to chemicals with an antibacterial effect. A robotic device can easily
handle steam or very hot water. A Cleaner Arm that can easily identify the surface to be
cleaned, and shift other objects present in the way, has a great potential not only at home.

7.2.4

Performance Requirements

• Low Cost
Affordability is the most important factor for successful market penetration as householders are very price sensitive. This applies to both the cost of procurement and the
running costs, including cost of maintenance and upgrading.
• Ease of Use
The other important factor is operational efficiency and ease of use. In case of software
based products and services, manual data entry should be minimum and the interface
for data entry should allow flexibility in medium, device type and physical location.
Installation and initial configuration also should be easy. Home Users are people with
little time to devote for learning new tools and technologies as well as configuring and
maintaining new systems.
• Dependability
Products or services intended for home use require very high reliability, up to 99.99
percent. This is to ensure almost nil down time as it is very difficult and inconvenient
for Home Users to organise maintenance and arrange alternatives. For example a
Home User may depend on the system to schedule a payment and produce timely reminder; failure of this can be problematic. Another essential requirement for software
based products allowing networking and external access is the security of electronic
data belonging to Home Users from unauthorised access. As the system becomes

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the repository for all family related documents, including highly confidential information, this is an important requirement. Products and services should ensure safety
of users and materials, including electronic data storage, from damage or accidental
corruption.
• Flexibility in choice of functionality and ruggedness
The flexibility in choice should enable easy add-remove features that allow selection
of functionalities suitable to the temporal variations pertaining to changes in life cycle
stages and responsibilities. For software products a global perspective is also required
to meet the needs of families moving interstate or overseas due to various reasons.
Products having hardware and mechanical parts need to be rugged, and requiring low
maintenance.
• Evident tangible and intangible benefits
Making the tangible and intangible benefits explicitly visible can be the best way of
promoting the product or service. This could be saving in time, or cutting expenses
by effective management. Providing details of such benefits in dollar values may easily
convince the users. Market penetration is a real hurdle when new products or services
are introduced into the Home User market, as the potential users may not understand
the full potential of the new item.

7.3

Technology Needs and Current Technology Limitations
for Development of Software Based Products
This section discusses the technology required and the limitations of currently

available technology to transform the product ideas discussed in Section 7.2 from concepts
to practical products and services.

7.3.1

Technology Needs
Generally, users of office automation products are involved in selection and speci-

fication of data sets as well as interpretation of results. The Home User expects applicable
results without further modifications and interpretations requiring a higher level autonomy,
compared to tools used in office automation. Delivery of software products and services with

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suitable dependability and trouble free operation, without engaging in additional user involvement, introduces the need for advanced technology solutions. The challenges involved
are discussed in the following sections.
Data Sources vary from rigidly structured and formatted bills and documents
from businesses to unstructured data produced from SMS text messages, email and voice
mail. There is need for a commonly agreed classification of Data Sources, metadata design,
communication of metadata in association with the Data Source, and system for collection,
storage, data extraction, and information integration. This may involve application of
various computational intelligence methods such as data mining, case based rules, decision
trees, logical rules or various other methods. Even though these techniques are used in office
automation, there are some major differences between the Home User and other users.
Electronic Document Management
This requires collection, classification, organisation and storage of Data Sources.
There are various technical issues to deal with in both cases of Originator initiated transfer
and the system initiated retrieval of these Data Sources. These issues are discussed below.
There needs to be a simple method for classification of Data Sources and definition
of required metadata that can be used for identifying a received Data Source. The system
should be designed for storage of Data Source linked to associated metadata, allowing
easy search/retrieval. On the sending side there are many different operating systems,
application software, servers and networking software. How can the system enable smooth
connection from heterogeneous applications and systems? Another aspect is the integrity
of data transferred. Can the system allow large amounts of junk data? How can the system
block unwanted material being received and stored?
The receiver initiated data retrieval generates another set of technical issues. The
Originator requires the system in place to authorise the receiver access. How easily can this
additional facility be integrated to existing systems? In this case also the need to establish
connectivity with heterogeneous systems exists. The retrieval of a particular Data Source
from a large database or data warehouse requires formulation of queries. There are Data
Sources generated specifically for a particular Home User, or for a particular item, or more
generic ones. Examples for the first type of Data Sources are utility bills, or pay slips and
the second set example is a user manual for an equipment. A school newsletter is an example

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of the third set of Data Source. A Home User is identified using unique identification by
each of the Originators. The system needs to automatically use the right identity to access
the Originator’s server and send request using correct query string. How can the system
generate correct query string if user specific or item specific Data Source identification is
used? In case the system uses a reference list for formulating queries how can such list be
maintained?
Considering the large number of Originators and Data Sources originating from
heterogeneous systems, the meta data for identification and classification of Data Sources
need to be designed, generated and maintained. These should be compatible, adaptable,
and available for use by all the Originators. This requires maintenance of a meta data
library for use by all the Originators. Here the Originators belong to different businesses
and business domains.
The system requires Webserver for allowing access to the documents over the
internet, Electronic Document Management Server (EDMS) that provides access to the
Databases and file system storing the Data Sources (Volarevic, Strasberger, & Pacelat,
2000).
Data Extraction
The second proposed product is Information Management System which requires
extraction of data, facilitating further processing. The system should be able to extract the
required data from a received Data Source or directly from an Originator’s System. For
example it may be required to extract the bill reference number, payment due date and
amount due from a bill for scheduling the payment. Another example is the extraction of
item details from a purchase receipt.
Based on the format used the Data Sources could be classified into the following
categories.
• structured
Data residing in databases are one source of data and these databases are created
by different applications. It is not always possible to merge data originating from
different databases. It is required to formulate specific queries to extract needed data
and create new databases using the extracted data with required formatting before
further processing can be done. Structured Query Language (SQL) queries needs to

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be formulated and the results need to be verified before use. Automation in query
formulation and data extraction is the requirement. The Nutritional Information
(NI) and Ingredient List (IL) of processed food is an example of such data. Already
generated reports created from large databases also form part of this. Inter-operability
issues exist for integration of reports produced from different databases.
• semi-structured
These Data Sources are generated by integrating structured data from databases with
additional unstructured data. Forms, bills, invoices are examples. Many of these Data
Sources fall into the category of FA type documents from the Home User’s perspective,
thus requiring data extraction.
• unstructured
The third prominent category of Data Sources are unstructured documents. These
fall mainly into the categories of FA, FI, FR and FIR type documents still requiring
various levels of data extraction. The extracted data are required to identify and
categorise the Data Sources, or for further processing. For example it is required
to extract policy details, policy expiry date, and premium details from an insurance
policy.
There is a challenge in extracting sensible, useful, and timely information that
would be required in real time.
Information Integration
There are different levels of information integration required. The Information
Management System, facilitating information services, requires organisation and structuring
of data into Relational Databases (RDB). For example payment details extracted from bills,
invoices, insurance contracts and other Data Sources should be included into appropriate
tables in a database. This requires automatic query processing, but structured queries
function only with data in the correct format.
The UIS needs to extract meaning by concatenating extracted data from different
sources following rules and algorithms. The integrated data has to be available for further
use. An example is the generation of a grocery purchase list for a week from formulated
Meals schedule, recipes used and existing stock.

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Pre-defined databases, queries and algorithms could achieve automation. There
are many issues in data extraction that need to be addressed before substantial automation
can be achieved with minimum manual data entry by the Home User. The other aspect is
the rate at which new sources of data appear and the requirement for system upgrades.

7.3.2

Limitations of Current Technology
There are technological barriers to achieve the full functionality as perceived.

There is an absence of Home Information infrastructure, system, and standards.
• Lack of Availability of Electronic Data
The generally followed mode of delivery of the above mentioned Data Sources is in
hard copies and there is a gradual shift in electronic delivery.
• Format Constraints
The mostly used electronic format for formal communication is PDF files, other than
email messages. Other formats used are comma separated values (csv) files, text files
and document files produced using various word processor applications.
• Data Extraction from Unstructured Data Sources
These include insurance contracts, service contracts, equipment user manuals and
installation guides. Currently there are no existing technology to extract meaningful
data from unstructured Data Sources to the level of required accuracy.
Problems with Current Data Extraction Methods
The main requirement is 99 to 99.9 per cent accuracy and if this level of accuracy
cannot be achieved then the users need to verify and correct extracted data. This will be a
major deviation from having an automated system.
The forms are structured from the point of view of the Originator but they are
unstructured from the perspective of the receiver. To be effective, great attention needs to
be given to the extracted data quality – accuracy, timeliness, consistency, and completeness
(Gingrande, 2004).
On semi-structured forms the same data fields are located in different locations
from form to form. These include bills, invoices, purchase orders, medical claims, forms

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filled in by hand, forms filled in electronically, and web based forms. For example, there
are utility bills such as telephone, electricity, and council rates. These bills vary in their
structure and formatting.
The most generally used format for electronic delivery of Data Sources are PDF
files. The currently used method of data extraction from PDF files is not fully automatic
and it can achieve an accuracy per-document recognition of 60–70 percent. A PDF parser
needs to convert the PDF document to a text document with the formatting information
systematically included in the converted text document. The layout of forms varies. One
methodology used in the case of forms processing is using templates that consistently match
up with each and every data field using an ICR/OCR engine (Kwok & Nguyen, 2006). This
needs a database of templates and manual selection of template to match a particular form
while it is processed. The current approach used is Document Image Understanding (DIU)
where techniques such as blob analysis, edge detection, multi-line character segmentation
and long-line detection are used to locate form objects and data fields. Once the data fields
are located, they can be sent to an ICR/OCR engine to be recognized and validated.
There has been research on transforming printed documents into structured XML
documents (Ishitani, 2003). The document image for analysis is created using OCR. The
document structure is extracted using layout analysis following an XY-cut approach and
represented using a Document Object Modelling (DOM) tree. The document structure is
transformed into a target XML document in accordance with specific Document Type Definition (DTD). The resulting XML documents are very limited in their semantic structuring,
as that originally was lacking in the source document. An average of 95.2 percent correct
document element tagging has been achieved following this method. The DTDs can be used
to define the structure, but they cannot be used for defining the content types (Pashtan,
2005).
The methods described above are mainly used by businesses and government agencies. With the current technology a trained professional is required to conduct the forms
processing and integrate information for further processing. The main difference between
these agencies and Home Users is that these agencies have additional resources such as
skilled staff, middleware applications and capital. The available methods are short of full
automation, required accuracy and reliability to be applied in home information management services.
The discussions above indicate that the current technology has limitations to

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achieve the level of automation required for automating information management at home.
Further research and development is required to improve the current methods or devise new
methods to achieve the required accuracy and level of automation.
Problems with Information Integration
The challenge for data integration is the heterogeneity of Data Sources and the
difficulty in understanding the semantic relationships. There are emerging tools developed
for use in enterprises, known as Enterprise Information Integration (EII), but these tools
are in its infancy (Halevy et al., 2005).
There are two methodologies that could be followed for the processing of extracted
data: ETL– extract, transform and load or II- integrate information. The ETL methodology
follows building data warehouses using the extracted data, whereas using the II methodology, the extracted data get processed on the fly, providing the required information but
avoiding the necessity for further database construction (Halevy et al., 2005). Both methods use integrated queries that are broken down and run over disparate Data Sources and
the results get processed to produce integrated information. These methods still need user
involvement to produce accurate results.
Compared to the large volume of data existing in business and government agencies, the home information management involves heterogeneous Data Sources and Originator systems, and large temporal variation in generation of data. The extracted data are
heterogenous in structure and in the format of elements. The main aspects are semantic
heterogeneity of data originating from various Originators and the problems in understanding semantic relationships, for example data extracted from a number of Bills or invoices,
or details of processed food obtained from different manufacturers’ database. Techniques
need to be developed to integrate the extracted data for storage and further processing.

7.4

Technology Needs and Limitations For Development of
Robotic Devices
The proposed Kitchen Hand can deliver desired functionality by the application

of a number of advanced technologies. Humans learn the tasks around kitchen by several
years of observation and progressive learning and most often the complexity involved is

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overlooked.

7.4.1

Technology Needs
An autonomously operating Kitchen Hand is a complex device combining many

technical aspects of manipulation, perception, adaptability, safety and ability to learn.
These aspects are discussed in the following sections.
Manipulation
Sophisticated manipulation tasks are required for the Kitchen Hand to operate
effectively. Preparation of items for cooking involves very complicated tasks of using tools
and objects in very complex ways. These include opening lids, removing items from containers, peeling skin, separating edible and non-edible parts, washing, slicing, and mixing.
Performing these tasks requires basic manipulative tasks of lifting, grasping, turning, rotating, moving, lowering, and pressing. In addition, the manipulation involves handling of
tools, rigid objects like vessels, and non-rigid objects like eggs. Sophisticated manipulation
requires perception to understand the context and objects, and learning to adapt to variations. Technology needs and limitations of current technology in these areas are briefly
discussed below.
Perception
A robot can operate effectively if it can perceive the objects to handle and the
surrounding environment, thus having contextual knowledge. The envisaged Kitchen Hand
needs to deal with two sets of objects. The first set of objects is items that can be well
defined in their shape, colour, and other appearance. For example regularly used vessels,
utensils, and spice containers belong to this category. The other set is items that are not
well defined in their shape and size. Examples of such objects are raw food items. There
is a certain amount of variations to these objects’ colour, size, shape and physical state.
For example a raw egg needs soft handling, whereas a boiled egg can be peeled applying
certain pressure. Operation of a Kitchen Hand requires significant effort in the case of poor
perception. Perception is improved through vision and tactile sensing and these are briefly
discussed here.
• Vision

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The primary need for achieving functionality is correct identification of objects, identification of grasp points to hold objects, orientation for placing objects correctly, and
detection of task relevant features of the objects such as the sharp edge of a knife.
• Tactile Sensing
The Kitchen Hand needs to handle objects with contact, so tactile sensing is a critical
modality for manipulation. This is important for the hand to explore the object in
contact without altering it or causing damage. Tactile sensing complements vision to
perceive as well as to apply the right pressure in handling objects. For example softer
objects such as fruits, or wine glass should be handled with less pressure applied.
Humans use tactile sensing for identifying texture, to perceive the object state, good
or bad, or right mixing.
• Odour Sensing
Other than vision and touch, odour sensing is used to detect spoilage of food by
humans. In many cases this is an essential requirement as the vision or tactile sensing
may not differentiate good and spoiled items correctly.
Adaptability
There are variations in object shape, colour, placement and positioning. There
can be dynamic variation to the kitchen work bench area without the involvement of the
robot and this requires adaptation. A busy Home User needs to get a task done without
the user being present for saving time: for example the preparation of items for cooking
following a given recipe and using a set of raw items. Autonomous operation with minimal
Home User involvement requires the ability to adapt to changes in objects, tools to use and
context.
A mass produced Kitchen Hand on installation into a custom built kitchen needs
to be oriented to the specific kitchen set up. How easily this could be done? Do we need to
retrofit kitchen items with sensor embedded RFID tags for enabling identification?
Taking the example of moving contents from a cookware to a tableware, a human
can choose the correct sized tableware without measuring, calculating the volumes and
comparing these.

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Training
There are unique and customised methods individuals use in their kitchen in handling jobs. Again considering the example of moving contents from a cookware to a tableware, there could be a built association rule established from past experience. How easily
can a Kitchen Hand be trained to get accustomed to a kitchen? This involves building
knowledge about positioning of items, use of tools and appliances, and accessing storage
locations such as drawers, and cupboards.
Safety
A Kitchen Hand needs to work alongside humans which requires safety in motion
to avoid chances of injury to humans by exertion of force by unexpected physical contact.
This requires compliance, force control and sensitive actuation for movement.
Many of these technology applications are required in the case of the Cleaner Arm
in a limited way.

7.4.2

Adaptive Robotic Controller
A kitchen can be classified as a semi-structured environment compared to the

well defined structured environment of factory and the unstructured environment of open
field. There are a number of fixed artifacts around kitchen work bench and a certain
unpredictability from human movement and movement of other objects. The methods of
carrying out tasks and tools used are also variable to an extent.
The ability to sense, learn, react quickly and adapt is essential to achieve satisfactory autonomous operation. It requires Computational Intelligence (CI) to design algorithms for the adaptive autonomous operation of robot that can exhibit quick reaction
and consistent behaviour. A human arm has 70,000 nerve fibres connected to the spinal
cord (Adee, 2009). In addition, humans use other sensory input such as vision, smell, and
hearing to react. Here the tradeoff is to get quick enough reaction and adaptation that can
safely and satisfactorily provide the required operation.
There are a number of methods and techniques currently in active research for
algorithm design. Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Genetic Algorithms (GA), Genetic
Programming (GP), and Fuzzy logic are the prominent software based methods (Wang,
2002). Evolvable Hardware (EHW) where self reconfigurable integrated circuits may provide

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faster operation and Field Programmable Gate Array is a multi-input multi-output digital
device that may be cheaper and more promising.

7.4.3

Task Specific Algorithms
The requirement is coarse grained instructions to operate the Kitchen Hand. The

tasks carried out around the kitchen bench are very complex in manipulative movements
and handling of tools and objects. It is required to break these tasks into appropriate
granularity to map them against operational instructions. A Home User may be comfortable
with coarse grained instructions such as move an object from one location to another, but
not finer grained instructions of lift, turn, move specific distance, lower and place.
It is required to identify the basic tasks, break them down to finer tasks, and then
formulate algorithms. These algorithms need to be appropriately converted to coordinated
mechanical movements of various joints and other parts.

7.4.4

Current Technology Limitations for Developing Kitchen Hand
Current technology is limited to achieve fully autonomous Kitchen Hand that can

automate tasks related to the preparation of items for cooking and cleaning the kitchen work
bench. Required modalities of sophisticated manipulation, perception and adaptability are
yet to be developed for reliable operation in an affordable robotic device.
Robots have been successful in controlled environments performing few tasks using
a few known objects and humans are kept away from the vicinity for safety reasons. This
requires limited sensor-input. The controlled environments are characterised by known or
simplified objects and uncluttered environments. Present day robots can perform tasks in
human environments slowly and a human operator has to take significant effort to achieve
sophisticated manipulation tasks (Kemp et al., 2007). Tasks considered as trivial by humans
requires executions of large sets of code. Again input has to be collected and processed
from a number of sensors such as position, force, pressure other than task related sensors
(Kargov et al., 2006). Software also plays a major role in achieving the required results and
standards; reusable modules are yet to be formed (Brugali & Reggiani, 2005).
Vision based on a small number of 3-D models of known objects, detecting locations
of grasp points, are work in progress (Sian, Sakaguchi, Yokoi, Kawai, & Mauyana, 2006;
Saxena, Driemeyer, Kearns, Osondu, & Ng, 2006). The scalability of these techniques to

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handle a large number of manipulable objects is yet to be demonstrated. Currently, object
identification using machine vision distinguish objects in a contrasting background; there is
a limitation to identify objects having little contrast to their surroundings.
It is found that the current technology of tactile sensing based on Force Sensing
Resistors (FSR) is insufficient to meet the requirements for robots manipulation in human
environments (Kemp et al., 2007). Current vision algorithms are based on machine learning
and the ability to deal with uncertainty, or unobservable properties of objects using inference
is still lacking. These are essential factors for autonomous operation in a reliable way. Odour
detectors are used with human assessors, and the current technology for autonomous e-nose
systems is not ready to be incorporated as part of a Kitchen Hand due to its bulkiness and
cost (Powers, 2004).
The kitchen workbench area may look simple and limited in area, but it is quite
dynamic and complex for the robot to perceive. Any undefined object unexpected within
this area can appear as any Home User misplaces an item. Perception is associated with
vision and tactile sensing (Australian Robotics and Automation Association, 2008). These
are areas of ongoing research.

7.5

Implementation Plan
The previous sections discuss the technology needs for developing the proposed

products and also reveal the limitations of current technology in related areas. This study
has developed a plan commencing now and extending till Year 2020 for the incremental
development of the envisaged products and services based on software and robotics; this
includes corresponding technology investment in related areas. The required technology
areas are of significant research activity due to application in fields other than HA. It is
required to re-assess and update the plan every few years. Commencing with information
management services, the UIS system is envisaged to progressively provide decision support and knowledge based reasoning. The following sections describe the details of the
implementation plan to transform the concepts into realistic products.
The steps include:
• Design and development using existing technology
• Research and investment in new technology

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• Development and implementation of policies
• Development and implementation of standards
• Other commercial aspects.
Each of the above steps are further discussed in the following sections.

7.5.1

Design and development using existing technology
There is existing technology to achieve partial functionalities for the envisaged

software based products and robotic devices (Exact Dynamics, 2008).
Development Plan for Software Based Products and Services
A progressive and incremental approach can be used in developing and marketing
the proposed products, where the amount of automation and functionalities improves from
version to version. Modular approach can be used in building the products and services.
This naturally follows from the modular approach used in the identification of automation
needs using the Family System reference model and 7 subsystems.
The modules to be built can be prioritised from the amount of data available and
data extraction possibilities. As per these criteria, for example, out of the seven subsystems
Finance may be of higher priority.
It is quite feasible to have a prototype of the system providing partial information
management services by Year 2012, as shown in Figure 7.1. The main bottle neck is in
automation of Data extraction from Data Sources, and the conversion and formatting for
the generation of Data required for further processing. A reachable target in this area is
less than 70 percent as per the discussions provided in Section 7.3. Considering this gap
is initially filled by manual data entry options, progress can be made in development of a
prototype. This remains an achievable goal from the following factors.
1. There is existing technology to achieve partial functionality for the Document Management (Volarevic et al., 2000).
2. Current technology for Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) is efficient in organising structured data, generating information by collating data and
triggering events based on set conditions. These provide efficient search facilities as
well, enabling accessibility to information, the limitation being the requirement of

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using structured queries. Technology is well developed to provide online access to
databases over the Internet.
3. Ubiquitous access to information and facility to communicate reminder messages is
quite technically feasible. Wearable computing devices are unceasingly available to the
users typically attached to the body or clothes (Narayanaswami, 2006). The suitability
of functionalities available with present day cell phone, as an example of a wearable
computing device is provided in Section 6.2.3. Other promising contributors include
wireless technology, precise localisation of objects, and web services (Preuveneers &
Berbers, 2007).
4. The currently used POST in retail centers has communication facility and upgrading
the existing software to include authentication, and transfer of purchase receipt and
item details, is technically feasible with current ICT.
The main bottleneck in promoting the system into practical use is data availability
and accessibility issues. These issues are discussed in Section 7.5.3.
Development of Robotic Devices
The proposed Robotic Devices with partial functionality can be developed using
the current technology. This is in view of existing commercially available robotic devices
such as Manus ARM that can perform specific task with human control (Exact Dynamics,
2008) in a limited way. Another encouraging development is prosthetic arm of DARPA
that will soon be clinically tried on humans (Adee, 2009). As this prosthetic arm is neurally
controlled by signals from the brain sent through the nervous system it is a break through in
the integration of mechatronics and nueroscience. It is possible to commence with simplified
perception by building ability to identify well-defined objects with RFID or bar code. The
kitchen work bench can be cluttered to an extend and here human intervention can assist till
technology improves. In addition kitchen work bench can be classified as a semi-controlled
environment due to the fact that lighting conditions, positioning of many objects such as
appliances, and containers is relatively permanent. Restricted movement of the Kitchen
Hand also makes it less of an uncontrolled environment.
Initial endeavor may be development of a Kitchen Hand that can perform well
defined tasks under supervision and human control. The preliminary effort can be achieving

6.7

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Figure 7.1: Roadmap Matrix for Development of Software based Products

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automation of specific tasks such as moving items off the stove.

7.5.2

Research and investment in new technology
Technology investments are required for both software based products and robotic

devices to achieve the full perceived functionality.
Technology Investment for Software based Products
There is a requirement for further research into methods of data extraction and
data integration producing relevant and meaningful information retrieval. The current
search methods using structured queries formulated from strings of specific terms need to
be improved in automating the query formulation and analysing the results.
The main bottle neck in achieving the full functionality is data extraction. Out
of this, the data extraction from unstructured data such as emails and from other text
documents remains a major puzzle to be solved. It is unlikely that this can be completely
resolved to achieve the full automation by Year 2020. Therefore, a compromised procedure
may be followed to obtain maximum results within limited resources and time.
Three approaches can be used in gradually reducing the data entry requirements.
• Structuring of Data Sources by Originators
Primarily, XML (eXtensible Markup Language) based standards with semantic meaning can be developed in association with the Originators of the Data Sources who are
the External Entities. This can only be a gradual process due to the amount of changes
required with the systems of Originators. Organisation and establishment of publicly
available templates can also accelerate the standardisation and use.
• Converting Data Sources into structured documents
XML being a standard for defining structured documents of text-based data, retrieved
documents can be transformed into structured XML format that provides semantic
meaning for further access.
• Two part delivery of Data Source
Referring to the four different types of Data Sources listed in Section 6.1.1 data extraction and further processing are required mainly for the For Action or FA type

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Data Sources. The data to be extracted from the total content of any particular Data
Source can be 15 percent or less. For example the data relating to school events and
dates required for further scheduling purpose can be less than 5 percent of the total
content of a school newsletter. Working with the External Entities a consensus on delivering the required data in a mutually agreed format, in addition to the Data Source
can speed up the process. In the case of semi-structured Data Sources this could be
easy as the Data Source is formulated by merging structured data from database.
These approaches could be more efficient than developing methods to extract data from
different types of Data Sources formatted following the current practices.
Following these approaches this study anticipates achieving 90–95 per cent of automation in data extraction by 2020. Commencing with a first prototype with a data
availability of 30 per cent in Year 2012 and with gradual improvements in data extraction
and data availability, by Year 2020 the implementation is anticipated to be completed. The
progressions that could be achieved in various years are shown in Figure 7.1.
Technology Investment for Robotic devices
Gradual improvements in perception, and motion control could achieve a Kitchen
Hand that could prepare the raw items such as meat and vegetables and transfer them to
the vessel for cooking and clean the work bench.
There are many areas that need further improvement. These include:
• Manipulation
This requires improvements in tactile sensing, sensor fusion and sensor-actuator system.
• Perception
Improvements in machine vision is critical for achieving perception.
• Adaptability
It is required to improve machine learning for achieving adaptability to dynamic variations in human environments.

6.7

6.7

2030

Future

7.9

2020

Long-Term

Roughly
Defined
Objects

8.7
tcudorP
detamotuA
yllaitraP

tcudorP
detamotuA
ylluF

2016

epytotorP
detamotuA
yllaitraP

2014

Well
Defined
Objects

tcudorP
detamotuA
yllaitraP

epytotorP
detamotuA
yllaitraP

35.7

8.6

2012

short-tem

colour
consistency

Use Tools

tcudorP
detamotuA
ylluF

noillib 5.7

noillib 6.6

current

Tagged
objects

Adaptive behaviour Adaptability to Environment
Tactile Sensing
Odour
Responsive Reaction
Turn
Rotate
Grip

smhtiroglA evitpadA
metsyS rotautcA rosneS

noitalupop
gnigA
seilimaf
ysub

Year
Target Market Size
Euros Per Annum
Products
Robotics

Cleaner Arm

Kitchen Hand
Technology Needs
Vision, Object
Identification

evitaitinI D & R

Adaptability
Sensing
Operational Speed
Manipulation Degree of movement

scinortahceM
erawdraH yranoitulovE

194
Chapter 7: Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities

Figure 7.2: Roadmap Matrix for Implementation of Robotic Devices

Chapter 7: Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities

195

Initial focus can be on automating simple manipulation tasks such as grasping,
holding, and placing objects in the right position by partially autonomous Kitchen Hand.
Design of appropriate tools to handle objects can reduce the complexity of manipulation.
Considering the high amount of input processing required for sensor data and multiple output to be generated for controlling coordinated movement, hardware based techniques such as Evolutionary Hardware (EHW), Micro electromechanical sensors (MEMS)
are areas to explore to achieve higher efficiency at reduced processing power. Findings of
more effective tactile sensing techniques using indium tin oxide-quartz crystal microbalance
(ITO-QCM) rectifying some of the problems with existing tactile sensors are also encouraging (Patel, Huebner, Saredy, & Stadelmaier, 2008).

7.5.3

Development and implementation of policies
Availability and accessibility of necessary data is an important requirement for

the development of the ideas on software based products and services. It is highly dependent on the Originators to make required data available and accessible electronically. The
Originators are the External Entities, as detailed in section 4.2.
Availability and Accessibility
Currently electronic data are available from very few External Entities. Policies
governing data availability are yet to be formulated. National or international policies could
guide businesses and organisations to provide electronic data for use with proposed software
products. Such policies can govern what is to be made available in case of a transaction
as well as the time of availability. Data can be made available as required by the Home
User or at specific time. Delivery of data is also a policy issue. There should be guidelines
on the responsibility of maintaining the quality, content and timeliness of data delivery.
Formulation of international policies can be time consuming and difficult. National policies
could be used for guidance on international practices.
Accessibility of available electronic data also needs policy guidelines. There are
issues of security, authenticity, and protection from misuse or unauthorised modification of
the data. There is a need for guidelines on accessibility within a family or household also.
The family members should have authorised access to the stored data as agreed between the
Originator of data and the family. Different members of family may have different access

Chapter 7: Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities

196

modes and also various data items may have diverse accessibility rules such as read, modify
or reproduce.
Such policies are detrimental in achieving success of all the envisaged software
products.

7.5.4

Development and implementation of standards
The major problem with electronic data is the heterogeneity in format and source.

There are hardly any standards in formats and layouts that could be used. The existing
DTD does not support semantic referencing to document content. Standardization in this
area can reduce the amount of work required in data extraction. Emergence of XML
solves the problem of syntax incompatibility, but diverse semantics creates problems in
understanding the meaning. W3C’s Resource Description Format (RDF) and RDF Schema
for resource description can be used for creating standards for metadata design (Pashtan,
2005). Standards are required to guide the amount of information to be transferred as part
of a transaction.
Standardization in formats can reduce the incompatibility across Data Sources.
There could be some consensus on data formats and availability of international standards
to follow.

7.6

Roadmap Validation
It is important to note that the roadmap presented here is an initial technology

roadmap that can initiate further discussions; the two product areas can be separated
and detailed roadmap for each of the products could be developed refining the roadmap
provided here. Discussions provided in Section 2.6.2 on the assessment of roadmap indicates
the absence of objective tests or reference standards.
Nevertheless the success of the roadmapping process can be evaluated by
1. Knowledge created during the roadmapping process
The success of the roadmapping process is evident from the knowledge created as
part of this study by the development of the Family System reference model and
the UbiHoPe conceptual framework. The new method, of REFUSS for future user
requirement elicitation is another contribution to the field. The roadmap created by

Chapter 7: Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities

197

the roadmapping process provides knowledge about future market, products that may
meet the identified market needs, technology gaps, and technology investment needs.
2. Roadmap produced
The roadmap should provide a path to reach the objective of futuristic vision identified
at the commencement. The effectiveness of this can be verified by the success of
the various projects implementing the roadmap. Such verification is a longitudinal
method that can be conducted in the course of time. The completeness of the roadmap
produced having the market, product, technology gaps and technology investment
needs is an immediate measure. Based on this, the roadmap produced is complete
with cohesive components.
3. Roadmap Quality
As per studies conducted by (Kostoff & Schaller, 2001), the critical factors that can
be used for assessing the quality of roadmap include:
(a) Awareness of the evolving technology by relating the retrospective, present and
prospective components
The roadmapping process in this study has commenced with a literature review
focussing on the development of technology for the past four decades. The technology gaps for the product development are identified by studying the current
technology available and the technology needs of the future products.
(b) Criteria
A roadmapping process starts with a well-defined criteria; thus meeting the criteria is a measure of quality.
This study has commenced with the aim of identifying realistic market needs
and identifying product ideas to meet such market needs. The market needs are
identified by understanding the current user needs from the theoretically founded
Family System reference model developed as part of this study; the future user
needs that make up the market needs are derived using the formal approach
of REFUSS developed as part of this work. The product ideas are developed
systematically to meet the market needs identified, thus meeting the criteria of
the roadmap development.

Chapter 7: Innovative Product Ideas and Investment Opportunities

198

(c) Relevance to Future actions
The criteria met by the roadmap should provide recommendation for future
actions.
By identifying the market and product needs for the market, the roadmap has
developed an initial action plan for future technology investment in different areas
for developing the products. The Family System reference model, scenarios, and
the REFUSS can be used for further refinement and revision of the roadmap to
maintain currency and relevancy.

7.7

Chapter Summary
This chapter has presented a concise roadmap depicting estimation of a target

market and number of product ideas. The market estimation provided is indicative of
a substantial market for affordable products and services. Subsequently, an analysis of
technology needs for the software based products and proposed robotic devices are provided.
The author has identified technology gaps in various areas and has exposed technology
investment needs. The two roadmap matrices included in this chapter illustrates possible
development plan for converting the conceptual products into practical applications. The
chapter summarises previous chapters with the presentation of the roadmap matrices seeding
further research.

Chapter 8

Conclusion
This chapter summarises the contributions made by this research work. A discussion on the strengths of the contributions is made; as well, extensions to this work are
presented here.

8.1

Contributions
This research has developed an Initial Technology Roadmap for Home Automa-

tion (ITRHA) that identifies a target market, ideas on potential products, and technology
investment opportunities. The ITRHA can be used as a reference document for further
analysis and developments in the HA industry. The ITRHA consists of the Family System reference model, the UbiHoPe conceptual framework, the eHome conceptual model,
the roadmap implementation plan and the graphical presentation of the roadmap matrices.
This research has developed a new method named Requirement Elicitation of Future User
by Systems Scenario (REFUSS) to identify market needs by systematically relating user and
process specific information with a futuristic vision formulated using scenario technique.
The development of ITRHA is done by applying a method integrating technology
roadmapping and scenario technique that is yet to be in wide practice.
This study has developed the concept of Family life cycle to expose the temporal
variations in Family responsibilities and this knowledge is used to uniquely identify different
market segments.
The Family System reference model developed as part of this study rectifies the
lack of systemic approach in the HA industry, in addition to meeting the first research
199

Chapter 8: Conclusion

200

objective given in Section 1.3. This model establishes a theoretical foundation to the developments in the HA industry. The Family System identifies major Family Processes and
seven subsystems to manage these processes. This reference model is used to expose the
interaction of families with External Entities and the importance of information management tasks involved in daily functioning of the family. This study has defined three types
of processes, Soft Process, Hard Process and Hybrid Process, and these definitions are used
to group the processes for identifying potential automation products/services.
The development of the method REFUSS detailed in Chapter 5 completes the
second objective of this research. REFUSS establishes a formal method in identifying automation needs by relating process knowledge obtained from the analysis of the Family
System with the future user characteristics of Home Users following specific lifestyle trend.
This method integrates the system modelling with the scenario technique within the framework of technology roadmapping. The newly developed method of REFUSS is applied to
derive the user requirements thus meeting the third research objective of identifying the
market needs.
The eHome conceptual model developed as part of this study reveals functional
requirements, hardware and software components of a potential system automating identified Soft Processes. The UbiHoPe framework identifies the system components, networking
and data communication needs for achieving ubiquitous information needs of Home Users.
The author has revealed the importance of home information management; this study also
has revealed the absence of home information infrastructure and supporting systems.
Based on the analysis conducted using the Family System and process automation
needs established using the REFUSS, this study has proposed potential robotic devices of
Kitchen Hand and Cleaner Arm as well as software based products of Electronic Document Management System, Information Management System, and Ubiquitous Intelligence
System. Technology needs for these products and services are investigated and suggestions
on research and development investments are provided. The research objectives stated in
Section 1.3 are completed by the identification of the above mentioned products and the
technology investment needs for those products.
The target market estimations are indicative of a large potential market that can
be tapped into with appropriate initiative. The roadmap produced as part of this work
provides a new perspective and a systemic approach. This work could initiate formulation
of consensus on industry requirements and assist decision makers in formulating technology

Chapter 8: Conclusion

201

investment strategies.

8.2

Validity
This research work has followed a qualitative research method integrating technol-

ogy roadmapping and scenarios. The reliability and validity of qualitative research methods
are discussed in Section 3.1. Applicable criteria that can be used for validating this research
finding are discussed in Section 3.6 based on the research method followed in this study.
The three specific measures of validity of this study are met as discussed below.
1. Objectivity
Logically coherent and well reasoned results meeting the research objectives as discussed in the Section 8.1 are proof of this validity.
2. Theoretical Validity
The theoretical validity is established from the procedures followed in the study. This
study has used process modelling techniques following structured modelling to develop
the system model. This is a theoretically founded and proven method used in information system modelling. The author has extended the symbol set to suit this study.
Further analysis of the system is carried out using object-oriented modelling by the
application of business process modelling. Application of these modelling techniques
ensures the required theoretical validity for the system model developed.
This study has integrated scenarios with roadmapping and for the purpose of scenario development this work has followed scenario technique which is a theoretically
established method for creation of scenarios with causality. Therefore, the REFUSS
method developed as part this study is theoretically sound.
Further development of the conceptual framework of UbiHope and the derivation of
products are based on the detailed analysis conduced using the process modelling
techniques, thus ensuring validity and correctness.
3. Validity of Roadmap.
The roadmap developed as part of this work can be evaluated using the assessment
criteria given in Section 3.6. These include consideration of technology evolution,

Chapter 8: Conclusion

202

use of global data and suggestions for future actions in the roadmap. The literature
review conducted in Chapter 2 and Chapter 7 is used to study the past and present
technology developments in the field. This information is used to derive the technology
gaps and technology investment needs provided in Chapter 7. Therefore the roadmap
is valid from this aspect.
Results of previous studies conducted on lifestyle related problems and technology use
in domestic environment, and statistical data are collected mainly from three countries
geographically distributed in three continents. This satisfies the second criterion for
validity of the roadmap.
Thirdly, the roadmap contains propositions of innovative products and technology investment needs for the development of these products. This provides recommendation
for further action, thus meeting the third criterion.

8.3

Strengths of Contributions
This research has pioneered to develop a roadmap for the HA Industry. This study

has been motivated by the lack of products with desirable features and many project failures
by investing in ill-conceived ideas following technology-based visions. A new perspective
on HA is developed by developing a reference model named Family System that is used
for analysing family processes following a systemic approach as opposed to the bottom
up approach followed so far. This study is unique in its initiative to analyse the lifestyle
related problems and reveal the essential need for technology assistance in managing home
and personal life. This study has identified the lack of applicable formal methods for eliciting
future user requirements as the underlying problem for the current situation for the HA
industry.
As a solution to these problems this work has developed the REFUSS, a theoretically founded simple and applicable method that can be used by the HA industry to
identify Home User requirements and thus identify market needs. The main advantage of
this method is its identification of the large number of external factors that influence the
Home User lifestyle, thus enabling systematic re-assessment of future market needs.
The roadmapping process followed in this study is unique as it integrates roadmapping with scenario technique and this technique is still in its conceptual state.

Chapter 8: Conclusion

203

The HA industry lacks a systemic approach and top-down view; this is rectified by
the Family System reference model developed in this work. This produces a new perspective
for the HA industry, which has been following a bottom up approach engaging in task level
automation. The identification of External Entities and the communication between Family
and External Entities reveals the importance of home information management as well as
the influence of these communications on Families’ activities.

8.4

Extensions
The ITRHA developed as part of this work contains an implementation plan for

the development of proposed robotic devices and software based products. The next stage
in a roadmapping exercise is the initiative to deploy the roadmap by the formulation of
working groups and clear strategies. Assisting Home Users to manage their everyday life
more efficiently, improving the overall quality of life, can indirectly reduce government
spending in different areas such as health and education. It is worth estimating the tangible
benefits and thus using that information for attracting resources for further research along
the formulated vision.
Proceeding with the implementation partially or fully requires further work in
research and development. This work initiates further research in a number of areas related
to robotics and information management. The proposed development of products can also
be pursued using existing technology to achieve partial functionality.
An industry-academic collaborative effort can be successful in driving industry
roadmapping. This can be beneficial for the University researchers as they can focus on
more relevant research problems and align their research priorities with long-term industry
requirements.

Appendix A

Communication Between Family
and Education Service Provider
A typical snap shot of generally occurring communication between an Education
Service Provider and Parents referred to in Chapter 4 is shown in the Figure A.1 given
below. The list of interactions is not exhaustive but indicative of essential exchange of
information that occurs in case of most common providers.

204

Appendix A: Communication Between Family and Education Service Provider

External Entity Comm. Received
By Family
Primary or
News Letter
Secondary
School
Progress Report
Tuition Fee Invoice
Special Events
Information
Parent/Teacher
Interview
Appointment
Schedule
Appointment
Confirmation
Stationary list

Frequency
Recd
Weekly

Termly
Termly

Comm. Sent

Frequency
Sent

Payment

Termly

Convenient
meeting time

Termly

Leave
application

As reqd.

Payment

Yearly

Infrequently
Termly

Termly
Yearly

Camp Information

Yearly

Special Events

Rarely

Private Tuition Invoice
Music
Invoice
Tuition Times
Dance
Invoice
Tuition Times
Swimming
Invoice
Tuition Times

Monthly
Monthly
Yearly
Monthly
Yearly
Monthly
Yearly

Payment
Payment

Monthly
Monthly

Payment

Monthly

Payment

Monthly

Sports

Invoice
Tuition Times

Monthly
Yearly

Payment

Monthly

Contact Times

Termly

Fees Advice

Termly

Payment

Termly

Exam Info
Results

Termly
Termly

University

Figure A.1: Communication between Family and Education Provider

205

Appendix B

Abbreviations
CI Computational Intelligence
DFD Data Flow Diagram
DPA Demanding Process Attribute
DTD Document Type Definition
EDMS Electronic Document Management System
EHW Evolvable Hardware
XML eXtensible Markup Language
FS Family System
GPS Global Positioning System
HVAC Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning
HAN Home Area Network
HA Home Automation
HISP Home Information Service Provider
ICT Information and Communication Technology
IL Ingredient List
206

Appendix B: Abbreviations

ITRHA Initial Technology Roadmap for Home Automation
ITRS International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors
LAN Local Area Network
MEMS Micro Electromechanical Sensors
NI Nutritional Information
RFID Radio Frequency Identification
RDB Relational Database
REFUSS Requirement Elicitation of Future Users by Systems Scenario
RDF Resource Description Format
SOAP Simple Object Access Protocol
SQL Structured Query Language
UIS Ubiquitous Intelligence System
UML Unified Modelling Language
UDDI Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration
VHN Versatile Home Network
VoD Video on Demand
WSDL Web Services Description Language
WAN Wide Area Network
WAP Wireless Application Protocol

207

Appendix C

Definitions
The definitions distributed in various chapters are reproduced here.

C.1

Definitions From Chapter 4

Definition C.31 Family is referred to as the traditional structured society consisting of
one or two parents and their children.
Definition C.32 Home User is any person who owns and or occupies a home and uses the
products and services of the HA industry.
Definition C.33 An External Entity is any functional unit that provides and or receives
any form of service or goods to the family and is not part of the Family.
Definition C.34 Data flow is any input received or any output sent by the Family System,
subsystems or processes within Family System that can be represented in electronic form.
Definition C.35 Resource flow is any material input received or any output sent by the
Family System, subsystems or processes within Family System that cannot be represented,
stored or transmitted in electronic form via a computer network.
Definition C.36 Data Store is any input, output or intermediate results that are stored in
electronic form.
Definition C.37 Resource Store is any material stock that cannot be stored in electronic
form.
208

Appendix C: Definitions

209

Definition C.38 Soft Process is any process that has only Data flows as input and output.
Definition C.39 Hard Process is any process that has only Resource flows as input and
output.
Definition C.40 Hybrid Process is any process that has both Data flows and Resource
flows as input and or output.
Definition C.41 A Family Process is a set of related activities carried out by family member/s providing input to produce defined output and this can be done regularly or occasionally.
Definition C.42 Managing Finance includes all activities carried out by family members,
individually or in group, that are money related.
Definition C.43 Planning and Preparing Meals includes all activities carried out by family
member/s individually or in group that are related to food.
Definition C.44 Family Health Care includes all activities carried out by family member/s
individually or in group to ensure good health for each of the family members.
Definition C.45 Supporting Formal Education includes all activities undertaken by family
members to support formal school and or tertiary education of offsprings.
Definition C.46 Household Maintenance includes all activities carried out by family member/s to maintain a house and vehicle/s, if any, that are functioning well to provide a safe
and comfortable environment and transport for the family.
Definition C.47 Engaging In Occupation includes all activities carried out by family member/s to identify, obtain, prosper and maintain occupation with remuneration.
Definition C.48 Recreation and Social life Maintenance includes all activities undertaken
by family members to organise social activities, and maintain social life.

C.2

Definitions From Chapter 5

Definition C.49 Process Attribute is a variable that partially describes the nature of process from the user’s perspective.

Appendix C: Definitions

210

Definition C.50 Process Operational Requirement is a variable that reveals the effort
required from the user for completion of the process producing quality output.
Definition C.51 User Characteristic is a variable that partially describes the state of a
user.
Definition C.52 Environmental Factor is any social, economic, political, legal, or technological factors that influence the lifestyle of the user.
Definition C.53 User Constraint is a variable that indicates the limitation of a user due
to specific User Characteristics attributable to the lifestyle followed.
Definition C.54 Demanding Process Attribute is any Process Attribute of specific value
that maps to Process Operational Requirement/s that are User Constraint/s of users with
specific User Characteristics. This implies that the same rule applies for all the users having
the same User Characteristics.
Definition C.55 Complex Process: A process operation becomes complex to the user if it
involves one or more of the tasks of accumulation of input data over a period of time, evaluation and selection of input, analysis and decision making for processing or cumbersome
and lengthy processing.
Definition C.56 Time consuming Process A process operation becomes time consuming
for the user if it involves 15 minutes or more of interaction, or attention required from the
user such that the user is withheld from fully engaging in any other activity.
Definition C.57 Routine Process A process operation becomes a routine activity for the
user if it requires repetition at the minimum of daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis.

C.3

Definitions From Chapter 6

Definition C.58 Data consists of one or more elements having specific values, from a
range of values, required as process input or produced as process output and can be represented electronically.
Definition C.59 Data Source is any electronically representable material containing Data.
Definition C.60 Originator is any External Entity, Home User, other person, system, or
application that creates or owns Data or a Data Source.

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