UbiPOL (Ubiquitous Participation Platform for Policy Making) (UbiPOL)

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Published on: 03/11/2010
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UbiPOL aims to develop a ubiquitous platform that allows citizens be involved in policy making processes (PMPs) regardless their current locations and time. It is suggested that the more citizens find connections between their as-usual life activities and relevant policies, the more they become pro-active or motivated to be involved in the PMPs. For this reason, UbiPOL aims to provide context aware knowledge provision with regard to policy making. That is citizens using UbiPOL will be able to identify any relevant policies and other citizen's opinion whenever they want wherever they are according to their as-usual life pattern. With the platform, citizens are expected to be more widely aware of any relevant policies and PMPs for involvement during their as-usual life therefore improved engagement and empowerment. Also, the platform will provide policy tracking functionality via a workflow engine and opinion tag concept to improve the transparency of the policy making processes. Finally, the platform enable policy makers to collect citizen opinions more efficiently as the opinions are collected as soon as they are created in the middle of citizen's usual life. UbiPOL is provides security and identity management facility to ensure only authorised citizens can have access to relevant policies according to their roles in policy making processes. The delivery of the opinion and policy data over the wireless network is secure as the platform use leading edge encryption algorithm in its communication kernels. UbiPOL is a scalable platform ensuring at least 100 000 citizens can use the system at the same time (for example, for e-Voting applications) via its well proven automatic load balancing mechanisms. The privacy ensuring opinion mining engine prevents unwanted revealing of citizen identities and the mining engine prevents any unrelated commercial advertisements are included in the opinion base to minimise misuse of the system.

Policy Context

The project is part of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission.

Description of target users and groups

European citizens.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

A. Project management and coordination (WP1)

The general objective of WP1 is to take care of project management and promote co-ordination between the other WPs. Task 1.1 is devoted to the logistics for the project, which includes: the development environment; the management of the specifications; the choice of tools; the production of code; the selection of infrastructure for the field trials; the choice of devices etc. This task leads to decisions that directly affect all other WPs. All of the other tasks of WP1 are ongoing from the beginning to the end of the project. The second task is to ensure the dissemination of information inside the consortium by managing communications, and providing software version control using previously selected tools. There is one other important task: project co-ordination. This WP is also in charge of the relationship with the European Commission, the timely delivery of results and the organisation of project reviews with the Commission.

  • To co-ordinate and manage the project and to take care of the relationships and communication between project contractors and commission;
  • To support the objectives of the ICT program and to liaise with other projects both inside and outside the ICT program;
  • To control and refine the objectives of the project, and give assurance of timeliness and quality of project results;
  • To define the logistics of the project;
  • To manage an internal repository of software and reports;
  • To manage financial reports of the project;
  • To manage sophisticated communication within the consortium;
  • To manage frequent project meetings;
  • To manage consortium agreement and IPR management.

Policy Making Process Model (WP2)

This work package aims to develop a policy making process model that is used to specify policy making processes in relation to point-of-interests on the geographical map. The UbiPOL Map Model will be the basis of the Ubiquitous Participation Platform.

  • To ensure the deliverable of this work package (policy making workflow model) is based on latest review on at least ten relevant studies on policy making processes and six major process modelling frameworks in software engineering;
  • To identify at least six modelling constructs to define and inter-relates policy issues, processes, actors, agencies, point-of-interests on geographical maps and their relationships; and
  • To validate the policy making process model through the interviews with at least three real world policy makers in each four different countries including UK, Turkey, Hungary and Portugal.

Ubiquitous Participation Platform (WP3)

WP3 is in charge of the development of the Ubiquitous Participation Platform. The first task is to set up the common development environment across all participating teams, in accordance with the WP1, Task 1.1 choice. The design phase begins in Task 3.2 of this WP, and is followed by an implementation phase (Task 3.3). Implementation starts with the core algorithm, and passes it through the test and validation cycle before other modules are implemented. An integration task appears as soon as several modules have to be integrated in order to form the Ubiquitous Participation Platform (Task 3.4). WP3 provides UbiPOL version 1.0 at month 18. This first version is tested in lab trials, with a first draft of the UbiPOL application. This marks a major milestone in the project, as it means the end of development phase 1 and allows the commencement of development phase 2. This lab trial concludes by summarising the status of the first implementation, thus documenting issues to be addressed by the specifications for version 2. The final version version 2.0 is provided at month 25. A maintenance task starts at this point in time to support the use of the Ubiquitous Participation Platform until the end of the field trials.

  • To realise an Operating System Agnostic Ubiquitous Participation Platform, capable of deployment on at least four operating systems including: MS Window XP/Vista, WIN Mobile, Apple iPod (provided that they support a JavaTM Virtual Machine) for the dissemination to the most of citizens;
  • To produce back-end components along with APIs that can be customised (or reused) for applications in at least two different countries including the UK and Turkey;
  • To produce scalable server architecture to serve at least 100,000 concurrent requests from citizens;
  • To ensure that the Ubiquitous Participation Platform can operate in both the wired (TCP/IP) and wireless (GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or 3G Network), so that the UbiPOL application can run seamless across both environments.

Technology solution

UbiPOL Services and Applications (WP4)

In this WP, Task 4.1 is to design the UbiPOL services and applications. It starts at 10 project month. The implementation of those UbiPOL services follows in Task 4.2 and lasts for 8 months, however, after a few months, Task 4.2 delivers a skeleton of the UbiPOL services for use in the lab trials. This marks a further major milestone in the project, as it means the end of development phase 1. Task 4.2 then puts more focus on the development of the applications, which involves the use of the UbiPOL services and instantiating them with specific applications. The integration of the applications with UbiPOL version 2' carried out in Task 4.3, and is done in parallel with the preparation of the field trials in WP5. A maintenance task of the UbiPOL application is launched during the field trials so as to correct any imperfections discovered during the deployment phase.

  • To prove that the Ubiquitous Participation Platform can be used to develop two real world applications in the UK and Turkey using its components and their APIs;
  • To demonstrate that the five generic services can be re-used to support at least four policy domains in two different countries (two policy domain in each country) for ubiquitous citizen participation using the platform APIs;
  • To prove the viability of both the infrastructure and UbiPOL services through two independent field trials deployed in the UK and Turkey, running the same five generic services, but in different operational contexts. Each field trial will involve users roaming over large areas, a duration of at least one month;
  • To evaluate the use of at least two different device/operating system combinations, during the two field trials.

Evaluation of concept (WP5)

At the very beginning of the project, this WP defines the evaluation metrics of the system in lab trials and field trials (Task 5.2). This is done in parallel with Task 5.1 to reflect any social and political background on policy making processes of the trial countries (UK and Turkey). And defining requirements (Task 5.3) and specifications (Task 5.4) are followed until the seventh project month. Then this WP suspends its activities, while WP3 and WP4 develop the Ubiquitous Participation Platform and the UbiPOL applications respectively. WP5 resumes its activities in the twenty fifth project month, to specify, prepare, and carry out the trials. The last task of WP5 is the evaluation of the field trials.

  • To evaluate two operational performances (usability and reliability) of the UbiPOL application, when used in conjunction with the Ubiquitous Participation Platform and four different target policy making processes combinations.
  • To evaluate three benefits (for improved citizen engagement, transparency of policy making processes and efficiency in collecting opinions) of using UbiPOL applications in the context of citizen participation in policy making in the middle of their everyday life in culturally different two countries: the UK and Turkey;

Dissemination and Exploitation (WP6)

WP6 is in charge of the dissemination of the results outside of the consortium, and the contractors will determine their exploitation of the results. Specifically, they will study the possibility of giving away the UbiPOL platform, possibly through open source software. Apart from academic channels, UbiPOL partners will interact with all the stakeholders of UbiPOL technology to disseminate the project outputs. The participation in a cluster activity will be evaluated by the Consortium, as well as the possibility to re-use UbiPOL in other EC projects.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

UbiPOL aims to provide a ubiquitous participation platform that allows citizens to participate in the policy making process during their everyday life through providing relevant policies and others opinions that affect their life wherever they are located. The specific objectives of UbiPOL are:

  • To develop an executable policy making process model that is related with geography through;
  • To develop a Ubiquitous Participation Platform that can support more than 100,000 concurrent citizens and consists of;
  • To develop generic UbiPOL services and applications that can be re-used for ubiquitous participation of citizens in policy making processes in different cultural contexts and different sectors;
  • To validate the platform and services via field trials
  • Empowerment and engagement of citizens through a new governance model.
  • Mass cooperation platform. UbiPOL will develop a platform that enables policy makers to cooperate with mass number of citizens for policy making.

Lessons learnt

This field must be supplied by the project responsibles based on the experience gained during the project.

Scope: National, Pan-European