Research Focus

Our research focuses upon understanding the impacts and opportunities of the networked society and in creating solutions to further the networked society. We seek to enable innovative interdisciplinary research that delivers positive social outcomes.

Improving our understanding of the networked society is essential to make sense of how emerging technologies will impact us socially, economically and politically. Research that furthers our understanding will better equip us to respond to the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the connected future.

New technologies provide the opportunity to create innovative services to address pressing social problems. We enable research that is creating the networked society through the development of new applications, tools, and standards that ensure that the connected future delivers benefits to society.

Given the unique interdisciplinary approach of our research agenda, and our approach to commissioning and undertaking novel research, we cannot strictly classify our research into separate themes. Instead we focus the technologies, application and policy domains shaping the networked society. Our flexible research focus allows the Institute to cultivate a diverse body of research that will understand and create the connected future.

Technologies of the Networked Society

Digitising, networking and automating technologies are the fundamental building blocks of the networked society. We have identified the following technologies that are currently having the greatest impact upon the networked society.

  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence technologies are transforming work, information, manufacturing and transportation.
  • Internet of Things – the increased connection of devices – things – to the internet is enabling the delivery of new services across the economy, including resource management and optimisation, tracking and monitoring.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality – these open up new forms of social interaction, story-telling and alternative workplace collaboration inside immersive environments.

Applications of the Networked Society

The application of digital, networked and automated technologies is having different impacts across a number of domains. In order to improve understanding and deliver social impact we enable research that focuses on specific applications and use cases of technologies within the networked society. Current areas of interest include:

  • Urban Environments – cities are increasingly becoming connected across multiple domains creating an emerging fabric that has direct impact on the urban environment, health, infrastructure and transport.
  • Professional Services – increases in connectivity, computing power and new concepts such as blockchain, are driving disruptions, enabling the automation of many services and powering emerging ‘fintech’ ecosystems.
  • Health – the networked society is enabling new approaches to healthcare, ageing and wellbeing. Research will focus on how digital, automated and connected technologies are transforming the delivery of health services, improving patient outcomes, increasing access and reducing costs.
  • Agriculture – connected devices are improving the capacity of farmers to manage and monitor their produce and improve the efficiency of supply chain and delivery.

Impact of the Networked Society

The third area is broadly defined as the policy impacts and challenges that arise from the networked society. A thorough understanding is required to inform and shape economic, policy and regulatory settings that will achieve desired goals.

Key areas of research undertaken include the use and regulation of data in relation to government, economic value and privacy, regulation of new services within the networked society, such as autonomous vehicles, and the socio-economic issues resulting from increased connectivity.

Additionally, the Institute will enable research that focuses on security and privacy as networks are the essential infrastructure of the networked society. Keeping networks and data secure and reducing and mitigating identity theft are some key security challenges.