My Research Programme (2002 - Now)

Innovative Auto-ID and LBS - Chapter Two Innovation Studies

This chapter will explore literature in the field of innovation in order to establish a conceptual framework for the auto-ID trajectory research. The primary aim of this review is to provide a critical response to the literature on technological innovation. The review will also serve to: (i) identify and understand widely accepted definitions, concepts and terms, born from past innovation research as a guide for further research; (ii) review theories, theoretical frameworks and methods adopted by other researchers doing similar innovation studies (especially in the area of information technology) in order to choose an appropriate approach for this study; (iii) understand what aspects of complex high technologies (high-tech) have already been explored by researchers and what aspects have been neglected and to discover any similarities or differences in existing findings.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Two Literature Review

The primary purpose of the literature review is to establish what relevant research has already been conducted in the field of auto-ID innovation. It is through this review of the broader research topic that a specific proposal can be accurately formulated. First, a critical response to the literature on technological innovation is required. Second, a thorough evaluation of research on auto-ID technologies is necessary. Third, an attempt to locate works that deal with both innovation and auto-ID will be made. If these works are scant, then the question of whether this warrants a sufficient gap for further research will be posed. Can this thesis act to fill the void in the literature by offering a first attempt at understanding the innovation of technologies in the auto-ID industry?

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Three Research Design

A qualitative research strategy was chosen over a quantitative one due to the complexity of the research problem. The study grants the qualitative researcher the ability to focus in on a grand tour question throughout the thesis, followed by subquestions within (Anderson & Kanuka 2003, p. 35). In this instance the investigation is mainly preoccupied with the auto-ID trajectory. This type of strategy allows the researcher unlimited inquiry in areas that he/she believes is required, finding synchronicity with the systems of innovation (SI) framework underlying the study. Intrinsic to this type of research, as stated by Creswell (1998, pp. 16-17), is a commitment to collect extensive data. This researcher has chosen to conduct data analysis using categories or like themes to make sense of the large amount of data collected. In this thesis, long quoted passages also characterise the style of presentation, not only to substantiate claims made by the researcher but also to show the diverse positions held by the various auto-ID stakeholders, pointing to key pieces of evidence throughout.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Eight The Auto-ID Trajectory: Converging Disciplines

Having studied the past and present applications of manual and automatic identification technology it is now feasible to investigate the likely future of auto-ID. While this chapter can be considered predictive in nature, it is based on leading-edge research, most of which has not been cited collectively as has been done here, in the auto-ID trajectory context. As identification techniques and devices have evolved incrementally since the 1900s, the turn of the twenty-first century has witnessed a new breed of auto-ID innovations; traditional devices that have found uses in non-traditional applications, many of which can be considered radical in their novelty. By tracing these developments the possible trajectories can be determined shedding light on the short-to-medium term course of auto-ID over the next fifty years. It should be noted that the trend towards digital convergence, shown within the auto-ID industry itself in chapter seven, is also present at a macro level, across different disciplines. Thus this chapter will inexorably be linked to showing how auto-ID devices have been utilised in other fields of study, such as medicine, and the innovative applications that have been born from these newly-formed relationships. This is a significant contribution to auto-ID research; not only being able to understand the autonomous nature of auto-ID but also being able to comprehend where new research dollars are likely to be spent, granting one the ability to ponder on the implications of subsequent developments. In addition, the chapter will present a view of complementary and supplementary peripheral technologies that are essential parts of this trend toward technological convergence. Finally, the human metaphor will be used to explore the auto-ID paradigm, beginning with auto-ID devices that are carried, to those that are worn, to those that penetrate the skin, and to those that wish to do away with the flesh altogether.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Ten: Conclusion

The principal conclusions from the findings given in chapter nine are threefold. First, that an evolutionary process of development is present in the auto-ID technology system (TS). Incremental steps either by way of technological recombinations or mutations have lead to revolutionary changes in the auto-ID industry- both at the device level and at the application level. The evolutionary process in the auto-ID TS does not imply a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach,[1] rather a model of coexistence where each particular auto-ID technique has a path which ultimately influences the success of the whole industry. The patterns of migration, integration and convergence can be considered either mutations or recombinations of existing auto-ID techniques for the creation of new auto-ID innovations. Second, that forecasting technological innovations is important in predicting future trends based on past and current events. Analysing the process of innovation between intervals of widespread diffusion of individual auto-ID technologies sheds light on the auto-ID trajectory. Third, that technology is autonomous by nature has been shown by the changes in uses of auto-ID; from non-living to living things, from government to commercial applications, and from external identification devices in the form of tags and badges to medical implants inserted under the skin.

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