In traditional engineering, technologies are viewed as the central piece of the engineering design, where the physical world consists of a large number of diverse technological artifacts. The real world, however, also comprises a huge amount of social components -- people, communities, institutions, regulations and everything that exists in the human mind -- that have shaped and been shaped by the technical components. Smart urban ecosystems are examples of such large-scale Socio-Technical Systems (STS) that rely on technologies, particularly Internet-of-Things (IoT), within a complex social context where the technologies are embedded. Despite that the two aspects are deeply intertwined, designing applications that embed IoT in large-scale STS is slowly transitioning from a traditional engineering approach towards a Socio-Technical (ST) approach. The latter has not yet entered the mainstream of design practice. In this chapter, we review the literature and present our experience of adopting an ST approach in designing a community-oriented smart grid application. The challenges, process and outcomes are discussed. The chapter is concluded by offering a set of lessons learned derived from this experience which are also relevant to the design of other smart urban ecosystems.
Title of host publication
The Internet of Things for Smart Urban Ecosystems
Franco Cicirelli, Antonio Guerrieri, Carlo Mastroianni, Giandomenico Spezzano, Andrea Vinci