STEP 1 Mapping of data supply and communication needs for different types of end-users
In the MOBISTYLE project, the development of the ICT-based tools is supported by a people-centred approach, involving users as a necessary and knowledgeable stakeholder during the design and development processes. Identification of consumers and observation of their everyday lifestyle is a prerequisite in such approach in order to understand their needs. Figure 1 presents the developed MOBISTYLE methodology; a four step anthropological approach helping to develop user-friendly ICT tools.
Figure 1: MOBISTYLE approach integrating social science aspects into occupant behavior research. Developed by Podjed, D., IRI-UL: email@example.com.
In the first phase, the MOBISTYLE project is focusing on an anthropological observation of users, scrutinizing their level of engagement with building components, technology, energy systems and ICT tools in their everyday life. The anthropological approach enables to access 'thick data', as an in-depth understanding of human behavior, able to penetrate beyond the quantified behavior of 'big data' collected via technological solutions. This understanding defines requirements for developing the ICT tools in order to provide user-friendly and attractive services.
Through anthropological observations, it is possible to understand not only how and when people consume energy, but why do they actually do it. This additional layer of personal information opens opportunities to understand and educate users at the individual level, increasing their awareness of how and when their daily habits have an effect on energy consumption. One of the most promising outcomes of this methodology is the shift in perception from passive building occupants to pro-active users, who become co-creators of their surrounding environment.
Focus groups, supplemented by participant observation, have proven to be a useful research technique for studying users' habits, motivations, needs and expectations in the MOBISTYLE project since they allow researchers to study people in a less structured conversation pattern than typically occurs in an ethnographic interview.
For each demo case, one focus group involving 5-8 people users per case, was carried out. Findings from the focus groups, supplemented by one-on-one interviews and participant observation have been instrumental in preparing ten key recommendations which defined the boundary conditions for the further development of the MOBISTYLE ICT tools and awareness campaign, as illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2: MOBISTYLE recommendations for the ICT developers based on the focus groups findings.
The mapping in work package 2 also included mapping of all the different types of data that can be captured from in-home equipment and sensors like smart meters and heat metering tools, smart plugs, smart appliances and energy-aware products, intelligent controls and building automation etc. The MOBISTYLE aims to utilize the data gathered by existing sensoring devices installed in the buildings and translate this data into attractive and easy comprehensible information for the identified building users. As showed the outcomes of work done at an earlier stage of the MOBISTYLE (see outcomes of MOBISTYLE deliverable D2.2 and D2.3), combined information on energy use with other relevant information such as the actual indoor environmental quality, personal health is more interesting for building users than just pure energy consumption data. The MOBISTYLE ICT based solutions will therefore combine and make use of data recorded by different measuring devices allowing monitoring of building’s energy consumption, IEQ and personal health. In this way the aim is to improve the current usage of sensor technologies and contribute to a more wide-scale application of sensoring technologies. The demonstration of MOBISTYLE concept is applied for 5 demonstration locations presenting a range of different location in Europe, different building types and diverse size, use patterns. As discovered during the MOBISTYLE demonstration site preparation work (during month 12-month 18), price of sensors was not the main issue. The main bottleneck is related to connections between the different devices, network architecture, protocols and softwares. As part of the work package 2 (resulting in deliverable D2.5), the preparation work at the demonstration sites included an investigation on which of the devices can be applied to which situations and how different devices can be connected into one system.