research interests past & present (key words)

current projects

E-health & quality of life

The healthcare sector is increasingly looking towards the use of ICTs to help care providers and patients more effectively communicate and keep track of personal medical/lifestyle information. The number of available mobile and web-based applications is growing in areas like 24/7 consulting and self monitoring systems, however adoption of these emerging technologies remains limited to date.

This study aims to answer the following question: how can tech developers bring their IT innovations (app/web) to the market? What ecosystems are developing around successful health apps and which stakeholders are involved in the process and how (patient, care provider, care giver, insurance company, municipality, etc.)? To answer this question, this study first aims to identify which types of IT innovations are currently available in the personal care/independent living context. Next, interviews will be conducted with stakeholders in the sector to learn about the opportunities and barriers to adoption and further diffusion of these technologies.

(Research conducted for Kenniskring Business Model Innovation at The Hague University)

social Media use by emergency responders

In this study we investigate how emergency response organizations use social media during the emergency preparedness and response phases. Using qualitative (interviews and documents) and quantitative (Facebook posts) data, we identify several types of uses of social media in emergency preparedness and emergency management, as well as factors related to the organizational context that affect this use. Findings indicate that social media support various purposes of use, including information dissemination, obtaining input from the public and other organizations, and participation by other emergency response organizations.  Branding of the organization during the emergency preparedness phase was found to be an important aspect of information dissemination, and helps social media to be useful tool to connect with the public and other organizations during the emergency response phase. Nevertheless, social media use in the emergency response domain still has to overcome leadership and staff adoption barriers.

A first analysis was carried out in 2014. Results were presented at ITS Europe 2014 and ECIS 2015. Over the next months we aim to continue studying emergency responders in order to extend the number of participants in the study as well as to identify possible changes of social media use over time.

This research is conducted in collaboration with Edgar Maldonado from Metropolitan State University of Denver and Nicolai Pogrebnyakov from Copenhagen Business School.

Previous projects

Keeping public events safe with information technology

Ensuring people’s security during public events is an important, yet daunting task. Many people still remember the disaster of the 2010 Loveparade music festival held in Duisburg, which lead to the death of 21 visitors and 500+ injured due to an overcrowded ramp between tunnel underpasses and the festival area.

Many ICTs are available to support event security. Information on crowd whereabouts provided by telecom operators can help both visitors and emergency responders in determining where (not) to go. Technologies can help event organizers to count visitors, guide visitors to less crowded parts of the open urban space, etc. Geographic information systems visualize geographic points where emergency response is needed, show safe and unsafe exit routes, or visualize toxic gas clouds and provide triggers to communicate electronically with emergence responders working in the geographic area into which the cloud develops. Integrated emergence response systems in event control rooms provide policy makers with an actual overview to support adequate decision-making. Multi agent software systems working on private or open networks support instantaneous information exchange between many systems of many organizations to gather in the first minutes of the golden (first) hour of disaster recovery to help people evacuate and to support emergency responders to get into the area simultaneously. Dynamic traffic management system could create green lanes for to exit or enter the area of disaster.

Despite these developments, most technologies have only been deployed on ad-hoc and stand-alone basis. Large scale rollout has not yet taken place, partially due to lack of a viable business model and partially due to a lack of collaboration between the various stakeholders.
The development of an ecosystem of ICTs to support public safety during events in open urban space could be seen as a ‘system innovation’ in which different organizations with different economic models, ranging from private ICT industry to private event organizers, public governmental agencies, municipalities and emergency response organizations need to collaboratively invest in an ICT ecosystem, of which the economic viability is not yet proven yet, and as such offers many, partially unknown, cooperation challenges. This study identified cooperation challenges. Results were presented at ITS Europe 2014.

Coordination between aid organizations and volunteer & technical communities during disaster response

Affected communities increasingly use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to disseminate requests for help and share information about their surrounding. While potentially a rich source of information for aid organizations to use as input for their response efforts, the vast amounts of data floating around on social media require tremendous efforts to be analyzed; data need to be filtered, verified (as information may be false) and organized. So-called Volunteer and Technical Communities (V&TCs) have taken efforts to aggregate this information for example by plotting maps to support aid organizations in their relief efforts, and by developing and running software that helps reunite separated families through registration of missing and found people.

The rise of citizen and VT&C participation in humanitarian relief brings new coordination challenges to the traditional mix of state, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. Questions arise such as what ways do volunteers participate and in which contexts does information exchange arise? How do these volunteer organziations organize themselves and how does this affect their collaboration with traditional aid agencies? How can traditional aid organizations take advantage of the information that these new actors add to the scene? Answers to these questions are needed for aid organizations to more effectively coordinate their efforts with these communities and to be able to fully take advantage of the services they provide as well as for V&TCs to thrive.

Results of this study were presented at ISCRAM 2014.