A number of key research themes underpin CODA’s research strategy, including sustainability, disruptive technologies, security, and predicting consumer behaviour. Here, we provide a brief introduction into some of our research.
Big data analytics forsustainability – environmental, social and economic – involves engaging global research partners and stakeholders. For example, business bears some responsibility for the dramatic decline in biodiversity in the past century, and for the rapid increase in mismanaged plastic waste in the last 50 years. We are developing projects applying various analytical methods, such as artificial intelligence and econometrics, to examine the impact of international trade and development on the environment. We hope to inform future business policy decisions regarding impacts on the environment.
More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this is rapidly growing. The development of smart cities is leading to transformations in urban economies, utilising new technologies, building resilience and reshaping the distribution of resources, social relations and the built environment. We are developing projects utilising big data analytics to inform decisions regarding the sustainability of smart cities, including environmental resilience to extreme events, digital democracy, distribution of wealth and poverty, and quality of life of citizens.
The swift proliferation of smartphones and apps has driven rapid growth in new online business models, including sharing economy platforms such as Uber and Airbnb. The wider impacts of such disruptive business models are not well understood. Alongside benefits, new business models can introduce negative externalities and market failures (Professor Barnes recently gave a keynote speech at the European Parliament on this topic). Initial studies in developed economies suggest that Uber use might lead to a reduction in private car use, reducing pollution. Anecdotal evidence suggests a possible reduction in public transport usage, which could increase pollution. The impact in developing economies is unclear. We are currently researching the impact of Uber-type services on pollution in developed and developing economies.
The logistical and security issues surrounding mass movement of people, including for major events and tourism is a perennial problem around the globe. We are collaborating with partners in Saudi Arabia to develop a project for security and identification of visitors to using Blockchain and Internet of Things technology. Another security project involves working with industry partners to predict the risk or likelihood of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in supply chain partners based on data covering technology, organisation and surrounding environmental features.
New technologies associated with, for example, the social web, voice recognition, augmented and virtual reality, big data and artificial intelligence, are having a profound impact on consumer behaviour. It is important to understand how and why consumer behaviour is changing and use this to predict and inform business decisions. For example, we have used machine learning to analyse text from huge volumes of hotel reviews to determine controllable hotel dimensions for managing customer interactions from the “voice of the customer”. We are working with an Enterprise 2.0 software provider to predict factors driving adoption of services after a free evaluation period, in order to try to increase the conversion rate. Other projects focus on, e.g., information bias and compression in review systems, consumer engagement in virtual reality environments, health analytics and gamification.
This provides a brief insight into some of our plans. We are rapidly developing a global network of collaborators and welcome discussion on future opportunities with researchers and practitioners.