Universities to research IT as a Utility

A consortium of UK universities will research the challenges associated with the use of IT as a utility

A consortium of UK universities will research the challenges associated with the use of IT as a utility as part of a £1.5m investment by the Research Council.

The University of Southampton will establish a research network of universities to develop IT as a Utility (ITaaU) as part of the Digital Economy Programme.

With businesses and consumers increasingly using on-demand service the research will address some of the barriers facing ITaaU.

University of Southampton said in a statement: “In our ever increasing connected digitally-driven society, many people are accustomed to broadband access to applications ranging from unlimited storage email accounts, to social networking on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to web-based services for managing and sharing documents, music and photographs.” 

“Increasingly, commerce and industry use the same technologies to support their staff, market their products, service their customer base and manage their supply chains.”

The three-year ITaaU Network+, as it is known, will bring together researchers, users, content and data providers as well as processors. It aims to better understand the provision, uptake, usability, security, of applications and services delivered in the future Internet, amongst other things.. 

According to the university, the project will work towards simple, usable and safe IT provision from smart services, surroundings and information stores. It will also examine the perceived barriers that inhibit new users of these services.

University of Southampton professor Jeremy Frey, who is leading the network, said: “Cloud models for access to applications and infrastructure are now well established, and are changing the way users interact with applications, especially where the application is accessible from multiple devices and users.”

Frey said services built on the internet are now crucially important to almost everyone in the UK.  “For many of us it will pervade the way we follow the Olympic events.  We are already used to the Hawkeye system at Wimbledon, [providing] rapid access to all the statistical data and up to the minute news via the web and the move to deliver governmental services over the Web and even while we are on the move, via our smart phones.”

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