Digitisation has ushered in a new era of value creation where cross border data flows generate more economic value than traditional flows of goods. The powerful new combination of digital and traditional forms of innovation has seen several new industries branded with a ‘tech’ suffix. In the education technology sector (EdTech), which is the industry context of this research, digitisation is driving double-digit growth into a projected $240 billion industry by 2021. Yet, despite its contemporary significance, the field of entrepreneurship has paid little attention to the phenomenon of digital entrepreneurship. As several scholars observe, digitisation challenges core organising axioms of entrepreneurship, with significant implications for the new venture creation process in new sectors such as EdTech. New venture creation no longer appears to follow discrete and linear models of innovation, as spatial and temporal boundaries get compressed. Given the paradigmatic shift, this study investigates three interrelated themes. Firstly, it seeks to determine how a Pure Digital Entrepreneurship (PDE) process develops over time; and more importantly, how the journey challenges extant assumptions of the entrepreneurial process. Secondly, it strives to identify and theorise the deep structures which underlie the PDE process through mechanism-based explanations. Consequently, the study also seeks to determine the causal pathways and enablers which overtly or covertly interrelate to power new venture emergence and performance. Thirdly, it aims to offer practical guidelines for nurturing the growth of PDE ventures, and for the development of supportive ecosystems. To meet the stated objectives, this study utilises an Insider Action Research (IAR) approach to inquiry, which incorporates reflective practice, collaborative inquiry and design research for third-person knowledge production. This three-pronged approach to inquiry allows for the enactment of a PDE journey in real-time, while acquiring a holistic narrative in the ‘swampy lowlands’ of new venture creation. The findings indicate that the PDE process is differentiated by the centrality of digital artifacts in new venture ideas, which in turn result in less-bounded processes that deliver temporal efficiencies – hence, the shorter new venture creation processes than in traditional forms of entrepreneurship. Further, PDE action is defined by two interrelated events – digital product development and digital growth marketing. These events are characterised by the constant forking, merging and termination of diverse activities. Secondly, concurrent enactment and piecemeal co-creation were found to be consequential mechanisms driving temporal efficiencies in digital product development. Meanwhile, data-driven operation and flexibility combine in digital growth marketing, to form higher order mechanisms which considerably reduce the levels of task-specific and outcome uncertainties. Finally, the study finds that digital growth marketing is differentiated from traditional marketing by the critical role of algorithmic agencies in their capacity as gatekeepers. Thus, unlike traditional marketing, which emphasises customer sovereignty, digital growth marketing involves a dual focus on the needs of human and algorithmic stakeholders. Based on the findings, this research develops a pragmatic model of pure digital new venture creation and suggests critical policy guidelines for nurturing the growth of PDE ventures and ecosystems.
The construction industry contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of nations through infrastructure development, and job creation culminating into the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Quantity Surveying Professional Service Firms (QSPSFs) play a critical role in the construction industry by ensuring that projects are delivered within cost, required quality and duration by providing technical and knowledge-intensive services to clients, contractors and stakeholders. Irish QSPSFs are facing challenges such as tender price inflation, intense competition, a skills shortage and disruptive technology. These challenges coupled with the cyclicality of the sector create a turbulent business environment for Irish QSPSFs, yet there remains a paucity of empirical evidence pertaining to how strategic decisions are made by these firms. Strategic planning is critical to addressing the challenges confronting business organisations such as the Irish QSPSFs; however, to date strategic planning has focused to a greater extent on manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, consumer products and light manufacturing, whereas there remains limited empirical investigation within the construction industry. This study aims to address this gap by examining the strategic decision-making process of Irish QSPSFs operating in the changing environment of the construction industry. What sets the research apart is that a Dynamic Capabilities (DC) perspective has been used with focus on sensing; seizing; and transformation, culminating into its integration into the development of a strategic decision-making framework. This study is entrenched in the pragmatist philosophical stance with emphasis on the positivist and interpretivist position and adopts mixed method by using quantitative and qualitative approaches over two phases. The first phase involves a survey administered with support from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) to 350 member practices whereby a single senior Quantity Surveyors (QS) in each practice was invited to participate. Seventy-two usable survey questionnaires completed by respondents were prepared for data analysis. The second phase of the research comprised of interview with ten chief executives or managing directors of Irish QSPSFs. The study found the most preferred strategic choice at the corporate level of QSPSFs as the expansion of services to new markets and sectors. At the business level, the investigation discovered the differentiation of services as the main strategic choice of QSPSFs. Furthermore, participation in strategic decision-making is very critical to the success of strategy formulation in organisations. This study identifies the factors that drive participation in strategic decision-making as the knowledge and competence of staff; personality traits; and the ability of people to make decision at the operational level of the organisation. The investigation also found that strategic change has occurred in QSPSFs over the past ten years. This strategic change is attributable to turbulent environmental conditions such as economic recession, in particular reference to the prolong economic recession 2008-2013. The investigation identified the specific strategic changes that occurred in QSPSFs as growth and expansion into new markets; agglomeration, and changes in the ownership and management structure. The negative and positive impacts of economic recession on QSPSFs have also been identified in this investigation. For instance, a radical shift in strategic response from being proactive to reactive; and self-preservation of ownership structure are the ii adverse effects of economic recession identified by the study while knowledge acquisition; and risk profiling for identification and capturing of opportunities are the positive impacts of economic recession. The study found significant statistical evidence to confirm a strong relationship between the turbulent business environment and the strategic decision-making process characteristics of QSPSFs. A strategic decision-making framework was developed on the basis of field work undertaken which was subsequently validated by respondent practices. The framework is the first of its kind pertaining to construction PSFs.
Post-harvest life of fresh produce is limited due to high metabolic activity and microbial spoilage. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) has proven to be one of the most effective techniques to extend the shelf life of fresh produce commercially. Obtaining of an optimum concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the package depends upon the product properties, the environmental conditions of the cold chain, the permeable film, some of which are subjected to natural variability during the food distribution chain. This variability may generate produce that is out of specification that will lead to food waste. Uncertainty analysis of this problem may lead to relevant interventions to prevent these losses. The hypothesis of this work was to create a mathematical model that predicts key quality factors for MAP packaged fresh products in the supply chain distribution, which will help to assess the food losses in relation to quality thresholds. The model developed simulated the respiration rate as function of O2 and CO2 concentration and produce temperature using Michaelis-Menten equations. The exchange of gases (O2, CO2) and water vapour between the fruit surface, package atmosphere and external atmosphere was modelled taking into account the process of transpiration and condensation. In the transpiration model, the fresh produce surface was assumed to be perfectly saturated and the energy of respiration was used to evaporate surface water. Temperature changes in the headspace due to metabolic heat, convective heat transfer and heat exchange by gas transmission through the package were accounted for. The quality attributes of fresh produce included weight loss and colour change (L, a, and b values) for mushroom, from Botrytis and its fermentative activity for strawberry and weight loss and spoilage for tomato. ii These conditions were simulated for real and variable i) export cold chain and ii) retail display storage to evaluate the effect of cold chain variability (temperature and relative humidity) on the quality of fresh produce and associated waste generation. The prediction of propagation of biological variance on the quality of fresh produce during storage was obtained using a mathematical model. Sensitivity analysis of the stochastic MAP model pointed out the influence of input parameters on the quality of fresh produce. The conclusions of the study showed that the toolbox developed is able to interpret cold chain data: 1) mathematical prediction of quality; 2) simulation of cold chain conditions allowing for different variability components; 3) estimation of waste generation kinetics based in all quality criteria and thresholds; 4) sensitivity analysis to identify the most sensitive technological parameters; and 5) identification of interventions that affect the benchmarked technological parameters.
The rainwater harvesting pilot project was commissioned by the National Rural Water Monitoring Committee in 2005 to assess the feasibility of supplementing treated mains water used for non-potable purposes. The project involved the design, installation, commissioning and monitoring of rainwater harvesting facilities in a rural housing development in County Carlow and in a 250-acre livestock farm in County Meath. Construction was carried out between 2005-2007.
The science fiction genre has always been a hotbed for questions about the existence of life and what it means to be human. Food, like water and oxygen, is necessary to sustain life, but also is a key indicator of culture. One of the things that fascinates us about science fiction is how an imagined future culture might look. Blade Runner 2049, although not centred around food, interweaves food and agriculture into a dystopian narrative on evolution and a bio-engineered labour force, while asking us what it means to have memories and to be human.
As geographical observational data capture, storage and sharing technologies such as in situ remote monitoring systems and spatial data infrastructures evolve, the vision of a Digital Earth, first articulated by Al Gore in 1998 is getting ever closer. However, there are still many challenges and open research questions. For example, data quality, provenance and heterogeneity remain an issue due to the complexity of geo-spatial data and information representation. Observational data are often inadequately semantically enriched by geo-observational information systems or spatial data infrastructures and so they often do not fully capture the true meaning of the associated datasets. Furthermore, data models underpinning these information systems are typically too rigid in their data representation to allow for the ever-changing and evolving nature of geo-spatial domain concepts. This impoverished approach to observational data representation reduces the ability of multi-disciplinary practitioners to share information in an interoperable and computable way. The health domain experiences similar challenges with representing complex and evolving domain information concepts. Within any complex domain (such as Earth system science or health) two categories or levels of domain concepts exist. Those concepts that remain stable over a long period of time, and those concepts that are prone to change, as the domain knowledge evolves, and new discoveries are made. Health informaticians have developed a sophisticated two-level modelling systems design approach for electronic health documentation over many years, and with the use of archetypes, have shown how data, information, and knowledge interoperability among heterogenous systems can be achieved. This research investigates whether two-level modelling can be translated from the health domain to the geo-spatial domain and applied to observing scenarios to achieve semantic interoperability within and between spatial data infrastructures, beyond what is possible with current state-of-the-art approaches. A detailed review of state-of-the-art SDIs, geo-spatial standards and the two-level modelling methodology was performed. A cross-domain translation methodology was developed, and a proof-of-concept geo-spatial two-level modelling framework was defined and implemented. The Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) Observations & Measurements (O&M) standard was re-profiled to aid investigation of the two-level information modelling approach. An evaluation of the method was undertaken using II specific use-case scenarios. Information modelling was performed using the two-level modelling method to show how existing historical ocean observing datasets can be expressed semantically and harmonized using two-level modelling. Also, the flexibility of the approach was investigated by applying the method to an air quality monitoring scenario using a technologically constrained monitoring sensor system. This work has demonstrated that two-level modelling can be translated to the geospatial domain and then further developed to be used within a constrained technological sensor system; using traditional wireless sensor networks, semantic web technologies and Internet of Things based technologies. Domain specific evaluation results show that twolevel modelling presents a viable approach to achieve semantic interoperability between constrained geo-observational sensor systems and spatial data infrastructures for ocean observing and city based air quality observing scenarios. This has been demonstrated through the re-purposing of selected, existing geospatial data models and standards. However, it was found that re-using existing standards requires careful ontological analysis per domain concept and so caution is recommended in assuming the wider applicability of the approach. While the benefits of adopting a two-level information modelling approach to geospatial information modelling are potentially great, it was found that translation to a new domain is complex. The complexity of the approach was found to be a barrier to adoption, especially in commercial based projects where standards implementation is low on implementation road maps and the perceived benefits of standards adherence are low. Arising from this work, a novel set of base software components, methods and fundamental geo-archetypes have been developed. However, during this work it was not possible to form the required rich community of supporters to fully validate geoarchetypes. Therefore, the findings of this work are not exhaustive, and the archetype models produced are only indicative. The findings of this work can be used as the basis to encourage further investigation and uptake of two-level modelling within the Earth system science and geo-spatial domain. Ultimately, the outcomes of this work are to recommend further development and evaluation of the approach, building on the positive results thus far, and the base software artefacts developed to support the approach.
The Tribology Surface Engineering industry is a worldwide multi billion euro industry with significant health and safety risks. The thermal spraying sector of this industry employs the technique of applying molten surface coating material to a substrate via a thermal spray process which is implemented either by manual spraying or pre-programmed robotic systems. The development of autonomous robotic systems for thermal spraying surface coating would significantly improve production and profitability over pre-programmed systems and improve health and safety over manual spraying. The aim of this research was to investigate and develop through software simulation, physical modelling and testing the development of robotic subsystems that are required to provide autonomous robotic control for the thermal spraying process. Computer based modelling programs were developed to investigate the control strategy identified for the thermal spaying process. The algorithms included fifth order polynomial trajectories and the complete dynamic model where gravitational, inertia, centrifugal and coriolis torques are considered. Tests provide detail of the load torques that must be driven by the robot electric actuator for various structural changes to the thermal spraying robot and for variations in trajectory boundary conditions during thermal spraying. The non-linear and coupled forward and inverse kinematic equations of a five axis articulated robot with continuous rotation joints were developed and tested via computer based modelling and miniature physical robot modelling. Both the computer based modelling and physical model confirmed the closed form kinematic solutions. A solution to running cables through the continuous rotation joints for power and data is present which uses polytetrafloraethylene (PTFE) electroless nickel. This material was identified during the literature review of surface coating materials. It has excellent wear, friction and conductivity properties. Physical tests on a slip ring and brushes test rig using electroless nickel are presented which confirm the viability of using PTFE electroless nickel as a slip ring. Measurement of the substrate during thermal spraying so as to autonomously control the thermal spaying robot is a significant challenge. This research presents solutions for the measurement of the substrate using a low cost camera system and lasers in a single wavelength environment. Tests were carried out which resulted in the removal of a butane flame obscuring a test piece requiring measurement from the camera image so that substrate measurements can be made using image processing and analysis techniques such as canny edge detection and centroid measurements. Test results for the low cost vision system provide depth measure errors of ±0.6 % and structural measurements such as area and perimeter in the range -5% to -7.5%. These results confirm the efficacy of this novel flame removal technique.
The School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, Autumn Newsletter captured the many events, research, awards, significant contributions and special civic and community activities which the students and staff members of the school have successfully completed up to the Autumn period of 2018. The successful completion of these activities would not be possible without the active and on-going support of the 'INSPIRED' friends of Culinary Arts (school sponsors).
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