Scope of the Workshop

Background

Manufacturing and industry undergo a digital transformation. The latter is discussed under different labels in different countries. Germany for example coined the term “Industrie 4.0” while in the US it is often referred to as “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT). Generally, manufacturing technologies are steered towards more automation and interconnectivity. However, the paradigm of complete automation is increasingly revised and the role of the human within this disruptive shift is more and more acknowledged [10].

HCI is by definition at the forefront of these developments and in a position to contribute methods and tools to cope with this challenge. This new reality has profound consequences for people, organizations, and societies. Jobs across all domains will be affected [4] as software and machines are able to take over different kinds of tasks to various extents. Thus, in many situations, IIoT applications must not solely be discussed from a technological viewpoint but as one part of a socio-technological system within organizational settings and affecting many different stakeholders.

New technologies, such as augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) or biofeedback, can be of assistance [3] when individual and increasingly diverse needs of a heterogeneous workforce need to be addressed and satisfied. If well designed, the latter can be an accelerator for well-being, work satisfaction, personal achievement, inclusion, acquisition of new skills, and competencies. Thus, they can improve productivity, efficiency, and economic success, fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.

Workshop Goal and Scope

We propose this workshop to explore the design space of IIoT applications as well as new implications on cooperative work. We understand a design space as a room of possibilities in terms of applicability and feasibility [1] addressing implications for the following dimensions:

The Role of the Human

Technological Developments

Organizational Implications

Research Methodology

As well known within CSCW, designing and implementing IIoT is an interdisciplinary endeavor. We therefore invite a wide field of researchers and practitioners with heterogeneous backgrounds to contribute their expertise. Hereby, we anticipate formulating opportunities and challenges regarding the four dimensions mentioned above through a combination of presenting original research, giving room for discussion and applying interactive design methods.

We argue for a better understanding of the role of new technologies as assistive tools and how their introduction impacts organizational structures and qualification requirements instead of being regarded as a replacement for human work [12]. Consequently, it is equally important to investigate the process of developing and designing such technologies and to make them most appropriate to fit human and organizational needs.

Workshop Topics

The Role of the Human in a digitized working environment has yet to be investigated further. As a result of the ongoing penetration of all work processes by digital tools, job profiles and requirements are changing dramatically and increasingly require competencies such as the ability to imagine work contexts, technical interrelationships and a profound understanding of the processes within the value chain. In addition to adapting the training structures, job-related qualification opportunities are relevant for the employee base of companies. The integration of learning and qualification opportunities into work processes should be thought of as an integral part of good work [6]. Therefore, interfaces that integrate communication and coordination infrastructures into the workplace allowing on the job qualification are needed. These interfaces help to establish a new skill set consisting of constructive planning activities, such as specifying needs, monitoring the progress and verifying the result of processes [5].

Technological Developments should critically reflect the latest developments in hard- and software and their appropriation. Intelligent systems based on machine learning or complex data analytics (such as decision support systems) have the potential to offer new insights for innovations in industry. Yet, their acceptance depends on how well they are aligned with user expectations and its match of organizational circumstances. One major challenge for future research will focus on how hybrid modes that progressively learn from both – data and an individual’s experience [9]. Complex reasoning processes need to be broken down and presented in an integrated way to build trust (explainable AI). In this regard new technologies such as AR and VR interfaces offer opportunities to preview or simulate and thereby explain causes and effects. Yet, to make them truly usable it is necessary to first understand the specific use contexts, especially since industrial settings impose additional requirements for future systems [1].

Organizational Implications need to be considered when focusing on IIoT within industry settings. Significant effort will have to go into transferring and implementing novel processes and tools into existing organizational structures with all their implications. Since the introduction of first digital tools to manufacturing and other processes in industrial contexts, their importance, influence and interconnectivity have drastically changed. Architectures of “systems-of-systems” and the IoT pervade all areas of the company and make it increasingly difficult to understand how changes to the design of a certain system affect organizational and other socio-technical structures. While this is also valid for other areas [11], industrial contexts are particularly challenging as there is often a high pressure due to tool availability times, barriers to recreate real environments (e.g. due to expensive machines), stronger regulations, (e.g. due to certified processes) and task specific expert knowledge. Moreover, small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up the majority of e.g. Germany’s economy, require tailoring of existing implementation strategies and design processes, especially with regard to interactive system’s development.

Research Methodology should consider that real-world settings and organizational matters of fact impose constraints on researchers and designers. One major concern is getting access to users for purposes of conducting field studies, co-creation sessions, testing and evaluating designed IIoT applications in practice and the like. Researchers find themselves confronted with all kinds of implications ranging from issues of confidentiality and security to legal and ethical circumstances. One approach in this context are Living Labs, which provide innovation infrastructure and a research methodology for a holistic design process. In Living Labs several stakeholders from academia (researcher), industry (designer, manager, decision makers), public sector (associations, decision makers, politicians, unions) and employees (e.g. machine workers) collaborating together in a continuous and open design process over a longer period of time [2]. Another strong characteristic of the approach is the access to real-world environment [4], which are in this case production processes but also ‘sheltered’ artificial environments. For instance, Ogonowski et al. [7,8] reflected the approach from a meta-level and present lessons learned from a methodological perspective in ICT-design for domestic contexts. However, there is only little known on methodological challenges for Living Labs in industry.

Workshop Structure

Morning

Pitches & Panels: The morning will be reserved for short presentations and discussions. Position papers will be pitched in 5 minutes. After three pitches we will have a panel Q&A. Thus, we aim to have a focused and lively informational session that will provide the basis for the interactive afternoon session.

Afternoon

Design Space Exploration (DSE): In the second half we will focus on identifying research opportunities. To this end, we will form interest groups according to the four dimensions discussed earlier. Using structured brainstorming (e.g. Future Wheel) each group will produce a poster as research artifact. Each group will present their posters followed by a discussion round. We will use graphic facilitation to consolidate the four contributions and create a common workshop sketch as final outcome.

Wrap-Up and Next Steps: The workshop will close with a general discussion about how to take the results further. We plan to coordinate a special issue in a HCI-relevant journal. Finally, we will conclude the day with dinner and further networking.

References