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A Gehre, P Katranuschkov, V Stankovski & RJ Scherer

Towards Semantic Interoperability in Virtual Organisations

Abstract: Virtual organisations (VOs) are amongst the most advanced forms of doing business to date. Their emergence and growing capacities are closely related to the networking and collaboration capabilities provided by a supporting ICT infrastructure. However, whilst considerable progress in the development of such infrastructures has been achieved over the years, interoperability still remains a major challenge. In this paper we analyse the nature of the semantic interoperability problem, review the state of the art, and derive a set of requirements. On that basis, we propose a novel semantic interoperability framework for VOs, utilising current semantic Web technologies, and suggest possible design and implementation methods for its achievement. Reported is in-house work of the authors as well as on-going research in the frames of the EU project InteliGrid (IST-2004-004664).

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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Technische Universität Dresden.


A Löfgren

Socio-technical management of collaborative mobile computing in construction

Abstract: The constant changes of plan and unanticipated events in the production process at construction sites result in communication patterns that are dynamic, spontaneous and informal. Most of the existing ICT tools do not sufficiently support informal communication for powerful collaborative problem-solving, management of site resources, handling of parallel process activities and do not correspond to the basic needs and work patterns at the construction sites. Mobile computing technologies have the potential to provide an inclusive wireless mobile ICT platform (voice and data) that can enable improved support for informal communication and on-demand data at construction sites, which can result in improved project collaboration leading to increased efficiency and productivity in the construction process. Still, an implementation strategy for collaborative mobile computing at construction sites is complex and must consider numerous issues regarding system capabilities, mobility, applications, services, integration of existing ICT systems, user interface and user devices to meet the requirements and behaviors of site workers in the mobile distributed heterogeneous construction environment. A mobile computing platform needs to be designed, implemented and managed with a socio-technical bottom-up approach realizing end user and group needs, understanding the separate issues of adoption on different organizational levels, and recognizing mobile computing as a process integrated enabling technology for improving collaboration and project communication throughout the whole construction process.

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A Moum

A three level approach for exploring the ICT impact on the building design process applied to a real-life project

Abstract: An understanding of how ICT impact on the building design process and the architect's role and contribution within it can be crucial for the building project success. This paper introduces a possible approach of organizing and structuring design process actions and roles, and how ICT impact on them. This approach is based on the definition of three building project levels and could contribute to a better overview of how ICT impact on the building design process and on the architect's role and contribution. The aim of this paper is to illustrate how this approach can be used to explore the ICT impact on a real-life project.

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A Thorpe, MJ Ward, S Bowden & ADF Price

Facilitating the link between point-of-production workers and corporate ICT systems in construction

Abstract: Web-based project management systems (WPMS) are becoming more widespread within construction and have shown to be beneficial in improving communications and document transfer between project participants. However, the challenge of integrating point-of-production workers into such systems still remains largely unrealised. This paper describes current applications within construction that are addressing these challenges. The technologies employed vary from tablet PC's, PDA's to RFID tags. The paper examines in detail a web-based data capture and management system for piling works, utilising a site-based web server and wireless network. The system effectively allows for the expansion of existing WPMS to include construction site workers, whilst improving the management and understanding of the project in terms of quality, cost and progress. The paper also agues that improved data reliability and robustness can be achieved by integrating the point-of-production operations into corporate ICT systems.

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A Zarli, Y Rezgui

ICT for Energy-Efficient Urban Communities: The IREEN Roadmap and the Case of a Developing City

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A. Hryshchenko, K. Menze

A Comprehensive Vision on Cartography of EU And International Research Initiatives with RTD Gap Analysis in the Area of ICT for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Abstract: This paper analyses the status of current researches in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the improvement of Energy Efficiency (EE) design and operation of buildings.Currently, research and technology developers focus on different domains and sub-domains in the area of EE, such as the integration of renewable energy sources and related monitoring, simulation, and management software. In order to improve harmonisation between different research and technology developments (RTD) including International and European research projects and scientific programs these activities need to be categorised and analysed. As a result of RTD gap analysis, the challenges, commonalities, deficits, and potentials for collaboration are identified contributing to the development of a “Scientific Road Map”. This paper focuses on development of a comprehensive vision on Cartography of recently completed, ongoing, and recently announced research European projects and International research initiatives for further implementation of its results in global vision of the REEB project [cf. http://www.ict-reeb.eu/index.html], and proposes a systematic categorization approach to identify gaps in the current research agenda in the area of IT for Energy in Buildings.Our RTD gap analysis is based on a qualitative categorization specifying common classification criteria.At the present, there are more than 270 projects worldwide were analysed, five Main Classification Categories (MCC) were developed.The proposed methodology should allow the identification of deficits of the related research activities within the specified (in T3.1, D3.1) categories.

Keywords: information and communication technologies, energy efficiency, research and developments, RTD, categorization, gap analysis

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A.V. Hore, R.P. West & A. Redmond

The Future Scenario of Creating a Digital SME Community in the Irish Construction Industry

Abstract: The problems associated with the Construction Industry not being able to manage and communicate electronically product and project data between collaborating firms and within individual companies is compounded by the large number of small companies that have not adopted advanced Information Communication Technology (ICT). The typical nature of the service provided in construction, being an on-site and often highly customised service are generally identified as the reason for the low ICT uptake. The majority of Irish companies in the construction sector are Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). As eBusiness opens up the Irish economy to international competition Irish SMEs should use ICT as a generator of competitive advantage to become more effective and efficient with eBusiness technologies. The Construction IT Alliance in Ireland has identified a programme that can create a digital SME community that will promote ICT services in the Irish Construction Industry in order to compete in the global economy.

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A.V. Hore, R.P. West

CITAX: A COLLABORATIVE ICT STANDARDS MODEL FOR THE IRISH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Abstract: The Irish construction industry is facing a series of fundamental challenges that is affecting every player in the AEC lifecycle, from architects to engineers to quantity surveyors to owners to tenants. Despite technological advances in recent years, the Irish construction industry lags behind other industries in respect to ICT investments. Although there is a pressing need for innovation, existing procurement and tendering procedures in Ireland largely discourage new ideas and put further pressure on thin margins that characterise the competitiveness of the construction sector. The low level of inter-company ICT connectivity reflects the general fragmented and adversarial nature of the Irish construction industry, where the absence of dominant players has precluded the imposition of de facto inter-company ICT standards, as has been the case in the retail supermarket sector. This paper will present the results of a two-year research project which sought to demonstrate that, by the adoption of readily available ICT tools, particular business processes in construction could be dramatically improved. The paper goes on to describe the opportunities and challenges that have arisen as the project draws to a close. It will, in particular, focus on the introduction of ICT standards within the Irish construction industry. The ultimate goal is not only to have ICT standards in place, but also to provide the impetus to ensure that as many stakeholders as possible use them. How this might be achieved is also part of the project and its success will be judged by the extent of the adoption of the standard by the industry.

Keywords: Construction, ICT standards, re-engineering

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AD Dawson & N Pham

Process Complexity and Cultural Baggage - Barriers to Change

Abstract: Recent research at Deakin University in Australia has focused on developing a highly detailed understanding of current organisational interactions and information flows in the construction industry. This is leading to the development of a detailed process model which is being tested against a field study construction project. The field study reveals highly complex information flows and interdependencies between stakeholders such as designers, project managers, clients, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. This, combined with the results from a recent project identifying inhibitors to the take up of IT in the construction industry undertaken by the IAI-Australasian Chapter allow conclusions to be drawn as to whether the current construction industry structure lends itself to increased levels of ICT or whether fundamental cultural changes are required before further beneficial ICT implementation is able to be achieved.

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Aisha Abuelmaatti, Vian Ahmed

Collaborative Environments and its Effects on Construction Companies: The Current Context

Abstract: The ability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve and enhance organisation’ productivity as well as their competitive situation has never been greater. Emerging technologies in the UK offer the construction industry many opportunities for computer supported collaborative environments, with regards to addressing some of the aspects that result in a complicated and complex construction process. However, the organisations adopting these technologies usually fail in achieving the full benefits from their implementations. Previous studies in the area have shown that 80 to 90 per cent of ICT investment did not meet their performance objectives. The fact of the matter is that collaborative environments have been evolving and effectively employed in large organisations and are believed to have high potential for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), but the use of collaboration technology remains low among 99% of enterprises in the UK construction industry usually referred to as SMEs employing less than 250 employees. The growing popularity of collaborative environments in the construction industry has, unfortunately, not been matched by parallel empirical research for SMEs.The work reported in this paper serves two purposes. First, the results of an intensive literature review reveals general causes of failure in ICT implementations, and the key areas to focus on during ICT implementation for collaborative working. Second, results from exploratory case study that was conducted in order to assess the use of collaborative environments and their adaptation approaches are analysed in order to further explain what issues are preventing SMEs from achieving their utmost collaboration potential. Therefore, the paper blends a combination of factors which may affect the success of collaborative environments for SMEs and are believed to contribute towards the improvement and implementation of collaboration systems.

Keywords: Construction, ICT standards, re-engineering

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