Making sense of wearables: New-emerging markets and mediascapes
The EPINET workshop, titled: "Making sense of wearables: new-emerging markets and mediascapes" was held in Brussels, 5 Nov 2013. The aim of this embedding event was to involve the expertise of professionals from a range of public and private agencies involved in the development of wearable sensor technologies and ICT innovation policy.
Provisions for the delivery of healthcare to European citizens have been under review for some years (e.g. ESF Forward Look, 2012). Among other things, the trend is toward more personalized care, toward patient responsibility, more patient choice and greater precision in medicine. But reform in the organisation and delivery of care is often instigated by tightening budgets as much as by increasing and changing demand for care. Changes in priorities are already affecting the ways in which roles, relations and responsibilities are defined and delegated in care-taking. Provisions of care are shifting from public provisions to private investment, from healthcare to self care, away from clinics, into the home and toward so-called mobile health (mHealth).
Key aims of the embedding workshop:
- Bring into contact different and possibly incompatible perspectives and viewpoints.
- Explore and clarify the diversity of experience in researching the innovation domain in question.
- Explore and clarify the diversity of interests in reference to a small set of policy-relevant concerns of the WP3 team.
- Explore and clarify points of convergence and complementarity among different professions and expertise in shaping more broadly focussed evaluations of the state of the art and what the future could be like.
The workshop brought the question home of what it is to be a particular kind of scholar, an expert, a practitioner in the networks that form around this domain of innovation. This became evident as the participants clarified their positions but perhaps more so in performing their orientations to singular aspects of wearable computing and sensor technology. They talked about bio-hackers and open source enthusiasm, home made wearables and personal means to analyse data. They talked about institutional structuring and lack thereof, complications in medical practice, technical complications in the delivery of reliable products and services, of limitations in energy storage, new kinds of rubbish, ways of thinking about data owner-ship, data analysis and management, gender stereotyping, so on and so forth. Importantly, the combined expertise of the partners and the evaluations they have made over time has accumulated particularly instructive depictions of state-of-the-art developments, in anticipating complications and pointing the way toward important policy considerations. Embedding these findings with the expertise of our invitees, has now provided for additional insights and understandings that are greatly enriching this work and helping to shape a unique epistemic network.