Aug 13 2013

Three research questions for big and open data

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CarlaBoninaOn the 1st and 2nd of July 2013, the LSE hosted the second New Economic Models in the Digital Economy (NEMODE) Community Meeting. In this post, LSE Tech fellow Carla Bonina shares the three research questions that emerged as part of the big and open data group: the value of open data, the labour market needs for profiting for big data and the ethical implications from experiments using big data.

During the first days of July, we welcomed the second NEMODE+ community meeting at the LSE. NEMODE+ is a network initiative funded under the Research Councils UK Digital Economy research programme that brings together academics and practitioners to explore new economic models in the digital economy. During the first day, we heard insightful updates on projects that have already been funded by the NEMODE+ network. Day one also covered the overview of eight new projects that have been funded as part of NeMinDE, a sister initiative under the RCUK Digital Economy programme.

Day two was a hands-on project. One of the objectives of NEMODE+ is to stimunemodemeeting_bigdatagrouplate new ideas, propose areas of research and policy engagement around the opportunities and challenges that digital technologies bring to the UK economy and society. Therefore, part of the activities of day two included working in groups around six areas of interest proposed by the delegates in advanced. I took part in the sub-group clustered around big and open data, along with four colleagues from other institutions. As a result of the brainstorming exercise, we arrived at three main research questions that were later presented to the whole community. I share these as follows with a brief explanation of the sub-set of questions or issues to address. Continue reading

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Jul 15 2013

Convergence of Computing Science, Networks and the Law: Reflections from the workshop at UPenn Law

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Silvia_EC2 JLiebenauSilvia Elaluf-Calderwood and Jonathan Liebenau from the LSE Tech attended an invitation-only Roundtable on Computer Science and the Law and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, on the 24-25th of June. In tihs post, Silvia and Jonathan present the  highligts of the workshop – the first of its kind – aiming at building bridges among scientists, engineers and law professionals interested in convergence, regulation and economics of the internet.


inetmap_medium_916142On 24 and 25 June 2013, the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted an workshop on Computing Science, Networks and the Law. Participant institutions inlcuded the University of Colorado, the London School of Economics, ETH Zurich, Raytheon BBN Technologies, Princeton University, University of Nebraska College of Law, George Washington University, UCLA School of Law, Setton Hall University School of Law, New York University, Robinson_Yu LLC, Santa Clara University School of Law, School of Engineering and Applied Science UPenn and the hosts. Google, Verizon, and other companies were present as observers.

The workshop opened with an informative tutorial by Prof Christopher Yoo that brought together his view on the broad questions of convergence and his new research on modularity theory as applied to the internet. This set the agenda to understand the shortcomings of current approaches to providing new regulation and revising existing assumptions from both the USA and the rest of the world.  From that and subsequent discussion it has become clear that there is a renewal of efforts to try to understand what the issues are in regards to the internet and the convergence of digital products and services with the physical infrastructure of the telecommunications networks. From the legal point of view emergent technologies challenge the status quo of many aspects of regulation currently in place for the telecommunications industry. Professor Yoo has been working on his description of the emergent internet and its implications for law and economics. The main idea of this workshop was to open the mainly US centric debate on the future of the internet to other avenues (e.g. European debates on internet sustainability, etc.) but also explore current themes from the views of firms and regulators.

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Jul 11 2013

Read the conversation during the NEMODE community meeting held at the LSE

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StorifyOn July 1 and 2 2013, LSE Tech hosted the second community meeting of the New Economic Models in the Digital Economy Network (NEMODE).

Read the conversation we had over twitter during the two-day event, which gathered around 80 researchers and delegates from companies participating in the network to discuss current and prospect research projects.

If you haven’t already done so,  register to be involved in the community. This can easily be done via the website:

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Jul 1 2013

LSE Tech welcomes the second NEMODE community meeting

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LogoindexNEMODE logo with art





LSE Tech welcomes the second community meeting of the New Economic Models in the Digital Economy Network (NEMODE). This two-day event gathers around 80 researchers and companies that participate in the network. The event will serve as the basis to assess current research efforts and progress future plans and funding.

If you haven’t already done so,  register to be involved in the community. This can easily be done via the website:

Join the conversation! Suggested hashtag for the event: #nemode2013

Venue:  London School of Economics, Clements House

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Jun 27 2013

Are independent regulatory agencies necessarily better for efficient regulation? The case of communications regulation in Israel


talDelegation of communications regulation to independent authorities seems to be a well-accepted norm these days; the ‘best way to go’. In this post, Tal Sokol reflects on different regulatory models and offers an assement based on the case of Israel. Afetr all, the author suggests, the general dislike that undelegated regulators seem to have received in the literature may be overrated.

Since the EU Regulatory Framework was established in 2002, more countries than ever delegated communications regulation from ministries to Independent Communications Regulatory Authorities (ICRAs). Today, out of thirty-four OECD member countries, only seven still have un-delegated regulators, headed by a government minister. Of those, only three are European: Estonia, Finland and Hungary. As the calls for delegation seem to have won the debate, it’s interesting to reflect on the performance of different regulatory models over the recent years. Did delegation indeed provide superior regulatory outcomes in communications?

At least in one prominent example, an un-delegated communications regulator proved to implement rather bolder policies in a faster time frame than comparable European ICRAs. The Israeli mobile telephony market, regulated by a minister of communications, experienced substantial increases in consumer surplus, choice and investment over the past three years. The swift shift was achieved thanks to the un-delegated model, not despite it. With a comparative perspective in mind, it’s worth revisiting the assumptions that led to delegation and examine whether they still hold.

Why should communications regulators be independent? The five most commonly cited reasons are that governmental ministries have dubious commitments; are not transparent enough; have close ties to regulatees and favour their welfare; lack professional expertise to analyse the market; and, consequently, lack public legitimacy for their policies (see Majone, 1996 and more specifically Thatcher, 2002). Continue reading

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Jun 19 2013

#LSEbigdata workshop: new business models in the digital economy

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LSEposter_finSWelcome to the LSE/NEMODE Workshop on Big Data and New Business Models

There are growing expectations about the potential economic value and innovation that may emerge from the exploitation of big data—that is, the increased volume, variety and velocity of data in the economy. The age of big data has opened a new landscape for emerging businesses based on cutting-edge technologies and new service infrastructure such as cloud computing.

In this workshop, we bring together experts from the industry, policy makers and academics to discuss the opportunities and challenges of data-driven business models in the digital economy. We focus on business models and disruptive innovations to examine the relevant activities, components and actors involved as well as to assess appropriate methodologies to study value creation in the big data landscape. After a discussion of the big picture, we will have a session dedicated to the financial services sector.

The event will form the basis for compiling and assessing current research on the subject, building further research efforts and articulating networking activities organised by the network, companies and researchers supported by the New Economic Models in the Digital Economy Network (NEMODE).

Join the conversation! Suggested hastag for this event: #LSEbigdata

Workshop coordinators

Dr Carla Bonina and Dr Jonathan Liebenau, LSE Tech

Participants’ profile

Start-ups and established firms working with big and open data, public organisations generating and using big data, non-profits and academics in the big data landscape.

Agenda Continue reading

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Jun 11 2013

Smartphones, platforms and business models: policies for the apps economy

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PKarrberg-150_62x82The combination of mobile technologies and cloud computing lower the cost of experimentation and innovation in what we can call the “apps economy”. Patrik Karrberg at LSETech shows how an understanding of delivery platforms, especially its architecture and related business models, could be used to identify key success factors informing policy makers. Patrik has received research funding from Research Council UK (New Economic Models for the Digital Economy) for his work on platform innovation, due to be presented autumn 2013.

The apps economy is a lead indicator for investments and innovation in the telecom industry

In a previous post LSETech reported on the size of the smartphone service sector for cloud services in the UK, US, Germany, and Italy. One challenge when estimating the size of an emerging industry is the lack of readily available macro-economic indicators. Another challenge I will deal with here is how to identify the platforms connecting developers to apps users, and the resulting competitive landscape that policy makers should address.

We can consider smartphone services, and in particular the apps economy, as a leading indicator for investments and innovation in the telecom industry overall. The information and communication sector contributes some 4.5% to European gross value-add in 2011 and is an important high-tech employer. Previous research shows that mobile phone penetration correlates with GDP growth, and as apps are now integral to smartphone usage, we believe that studying it contributes to our understanding of the manner in which mobile phones relate to economic growth.

Two views of delivery platforms: “Supply-chain” and “Exchange”

Understanding how apps delivery platforms connect markets for software development and cloud infrastructures is necessary background for policy makers interested in evidence about the manner in which ICT relates to public goals.

app policy components (for blog)

Fig 1: Service delivery components

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Jun 4 2013

Tapping into big data and new business models

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LSEposter_finSLSE Tech is organising an industry/academe workshop addressing the role of big data on business model innovation. The aims are to bring together leading decision makers in the UK to debate about the promises, perils and reality of new business models emerging from big data, and to strengthen the network of firms and researchers involved.

The event is supported by the New Economic Models in the Digital Economy (NEMODE) Network.

Organisers: LSE Tech in collaboration with NEMODE Network. Workshop coordinators: Dr Carla Bonina and Dr Jonathan Liebenau

Workshop duration and format: Half-day workshop including a networking lunch; two sessions; 3 lightening talks in each session with a commentator followed by roundtable discussions.

Session I: Big data and the big picture: what is the potential for business model innovation?

Session II: Big data in the financial services: disruptive innovations and new business models

Target participants: Technology decision makers working on big data analytics, public and private institutions providing data, government bodies driving digital initiatives based on big data, and researchers working in the field.

This workshop is by initially by invitation only, but we may be able to offer remaining places to those interested, especially in the industry. If you would like to be considered for a place at this event, please send an email to Louise Newton-Clare < > to register your interest.

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May 30 2013

Internet Governance: the latest in the debate over who controls the internet

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D_LazanskiThis blog has been active in commenting the issues sorrounding internet governance and its discussions post WCIT in Dubai last year. In this piece, Dominique Lazanski reports the latests debates that have just taken place in May around the fight for the control of the internet.

Internet governance is a hot topic at the moment. In the run up to the International Telecommunications Union’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) last December, the idea of Internet governance became more widely known among the many who don’t participate in the concept as part of work or research. I’ve just come back from the ITU in Geneva where the World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) went on concurrently. These events were the latest in the debate over who controls the internet.

The WCIT was a watershed moment in Internet governance. It was about the Internet, but wasn’t, but was in the end. Intense discussions went on for two weeks over issues like security, spam, and broadband connections. At the end of the day the International Telecommunication Regulations, a treaty, was not signed by a number of countries that couldn’t live with proscriptive regulations. The WTPF this last week was the first time since the WCIT that the delegations met again to discuss a number of the issues. But the WTPF was not a treaty making conference and it only lasted three days. Quite a different experience than in December. Continue reading

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May 28 2013

The BlackBerry Veil: mobile use and privacy practices by young female Saudis

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sunilaloboPrivacy concerns in the digital economy are increasingly a global matter. The possible revival of the Communications Data Bill in the UK amidst fears over the vulnerability of the nation to terrorism highlights the topicality of this piece and the potential risks associated to ceding  individual-to-government privacy for the sake of national security. In this post, Sunila Lobo presents the summary of an award winning paper coauthored with LSE Tech Silvia Elaluf-Calderwood,  which suggests that Saudi Arabian female youth share similarities with youth around the world in their use of mobile phones, but negotiate privacy in a unique way. Therefore, universal notions of privacy are challenged.

Set in the context of Saudi Arabia (population about 26 million as of July 2010; including more than 5 million foreigners), the dominant Arab nation in the Middle-east, the research is of particular interest due to the importance of mobile media for communication in this restrictive society and the sensitive nature of the context for conducting in situ research. In addition, most reports and studies of this region address the market and operator level rather than individual consumer-level concerns.

The telecommunications market in Saudi Arabia was liberalised in 2007 with Mobily, Zain and Saudi Telecom (the incumbent) the three licensed mobile service providers. The entry of Zain into the market in August 2008 generated higher levels of service competition and lower prices. The entry of an alternative fixed line operator, GO Telecom (used to be called Etihad Atheeb), further intensified competition. The trend since 2007 has been for slow fixed subscriber growth, with decline for the first time in Q3 2009, while there has been significant mobile subscriber growth over the same period. By Q4 2009, the totals were 45 million mobile subscribers and about 4.2 million fixed line subscribers (Communications and Information Technology Commission Report, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; August 2010:p. 5). The mobile subscriber numbers are evidence that many people in Saudi Arabia have multiple mobile subscriptions, each for different purposes. Further, the availability of increasingly affordable broadband access has fuelled development of a digital economy comprising e-government, e-health (or mHealth), e-education, e-commerce and smart cities, with the largest investment in education. This is aligned with its vision of a knowledge-based economy, for its majority youthful population. Continue reading

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