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- Online food
Research in the International Journal of Services and Operations Management has investigated what influences the use of online food delivery services in India and the impact that is having on public health. The online food delivery sector in India has annual revenues of well over $7 billion. A significant proportion of this sector, about 85 percent, is restaurant-to-consumer services and the remainder, is services by direct providers.
The suspicion is that increasing reliance on food other than home-cooked food could be affecting lifestyle and health by side-stepping the traditional activities involved in preparing and eating a meal with family, friends, or even alone. Additionally, there are issues surrounding the quality of food delivered to one's door in terms of calorific content, how much of the food is considerably processed, and the presence of additives. Conversely, some food from suppliers may well be more nutritious and the time freed up from the drudge of cooking and clearing up may well allow people to be involved in other quality activities with those family and friends.
Arghya Rayof the International Management Institute Kolkata, Pradip Kumar Bala of the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, India, and Rashmi Jain of the Feliciano School of Business in Montclair, New Jersey, USA, explain that the advent of online food delivery services has had a significant effect on the food industry and our lifestyles in recent years. The team used a mixed-method approach, starting with preliminary qualitative interviews of online food delivery service users and followed by a quantitative survey of almost 300 Generation Y users in India. Generation Y is commonly defined as people born between around 1981 to 1996.
The team found that emotional values, conditional values, monetary values, and health consciousness all had a significant impact on consumers' intention to use online food delivery services. Moreover, continued use leads to ongoing changes in food consumption patterns. The researchers point out that their work may not necessarily extrapolate to other countries, especially those with very different food standards.
The team suggests that suppliers should improve standards given the ever-increasing use of online food delivery services if there is not to be a long-term and potentially detrimental impact on consumers. The findings also point to differences based on gender, age, and location, such data might allow those same providers to better tailor what they offer consumers to particular demographics.
Ray, A., Bala, P.K. and Jain, R. (2023) 'Assessing the factors influencing continued use of online-food-delivery services and the impact on health: a multi-group analysis', Int. J. Services and Operations Management, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp.1–36.
- Avoiding bird nest powercuts
Research in the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing addresses a significant safety issue facing power supply companies – the presence of bird nests on power line towers and other infrastructure.
Haopeng Yang and Enrang Zheng of the School of Electrical and Control Engineering at Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, and Yichen Wang and Junge Shen of the Unmanned System Research Institute at the Northwestern Polytechnical University all in Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, have developed a real-time detection system capable of swiftly identifying bird nests on transmission towers.
At first glance, one might imagine that the presence of a nest on a power transmission tower, or pylon, would be harmless, but there are serious issues with damage and the potential for avian activity to "trip" safety cutouts on power systems, leading to outages for consumers. This is particularly true of substantial nests built high up on pylons by raptors, storks, and other large species.
Unfortunately, the detection of such small objects as bird nests and the passing of the information back to a control centre have represented an ongoing challenge due to their small size and the potential data loss during detection. The team's new system, uses an algorithm that can identify and so detect bird nests at different scales allowing for rapid risk identification. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), often referred to as a drone, fitted with a camera can patrol the towers, record and analyse images using an onboard computer running the team's algorithm and report back to the controllers with information that flags specific towers with a nest problem. The team's algorithm readily overcomes the problem of the background scenery in an image of a pylon being checked detecting only the presence of nests.
The research team says they have achieved an average accuracy rating of 90.05%. This high level of performance meets the demands of the State Grid for high-precision and real-time line maintenance inspections. The automated detection system precludes the need for costly regular manual inspections.
Yang, H., Zheng, E., Wang, Y. and Shen, J. (2023) 'Real-time detection system of bird nests on power transmission lines based on lightweight network', Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, pp.217–225.
- In debt to fashion
The Indian retail industry contributes more than 10 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP). A new study looks at how impulsive and non-rational consumer behaviour in the Indian clothing sector potentially leading to personal debt can have a detrimental effect on the economy as a whole. Moreover, the work points to how promoting more rational purchasing decisions could be better for consumers as well as leading to a more sustainable and responsible industry.
Of course, marketers work to promote products and they will use emotional means to do so that will often trigger a non-rational response from a would-be customer. Conversely, who, in a free society, is to tell a customer what they do and don't need when it comes to clothes shopping. After all, people buy clothes for obvious practical reasons, but also for self-expression, for enjoyment, and many other non-practical reasons.
Komal Malik and Manoj Joshi of the Amity Business School at Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow Campus, used an experiential research design to survey and capture non-rational behaviour shopping behaviour among Indian consumers. "Non-rationality can be referred as the influence of emotional factors rather than tangible gains and losses associated with a choice," the authors write. In addition, in their paper in the International Journal of Business and Globalisation, they reviewed the existing literature to provide context. The team's analysis considered factors such as brand loyalty, gift and special occasion purchases, social affinity, lifestyle choice, the feel-good factor, offers and discounts, changing fashion, personality.
The researchers found that consumer behaviour was driven by rational as well as non-rational factors, but it was the latter, associated with impulse purchases that was often associated with consumers spending on credit. If such consumers do not have the funds or disposable income to back their purchases then repeated impulse buys, has the potential to lead to greater debt. Understanding and addressing this behaviour is crucial for both marketers and policymakers, the research suggests.
Malik, K. and Joshi, M. (2023) 'I saw it, I bought it! The irrational buying behaviour in retail sector', Int. J. Business and Globalisation, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp.17–27.
- Just how FAIR are your digital, scientific resources?
Currently, there is no established method for automatically assessing the level of FAIRness (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) of semantic resources. The term "semantic resources" refers to various types of data, information, or knowledge artefacts that are represented in a structured and standardized way. These resources can include ontologies (technical, structured glossaries), vocabularies, data sets, and other relevant knowledge. An example is the AgroPortal semantic resource repository, an online platform for storing and organizing semantic resources related to the domain of agri-food and environment.
Writing in the International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies, a team from France has used the AgroPortal as a case study to help them develop a metadata-based automatic assessment methodology for such resources, which they call Ontology FAIRness Evaluator (O'FAIRe).
Emna Amdouni, Syphax Bouazzouni, and Clement Jonquet of the University of Montpellier explain that making digital scientific data openly available remains an important challenge for the scientific community and funding agencies. The FAIR movement arose in 2014 to help address this challenge and has been largely embraced. However, FAIR, as many observers have pointed out, is only representing specifications for digital objects, or entities, rather than being a standardised or technically based system. There has thus been a need for a way to independently assess how well an entity adheres to the principles of FAIR.
In this context, the team's proposal is aligned with existing initiatives and consists of 61 questions, primarily based on metadata descriptions, and using ontology libraries or repositories to ensure unified metadata for FAIRness assessment. The team implemented O'FAIRe in AgroPortal and successfully conducted a preliminary FAIRness analysis of 149 semantic resources in the agri-food/environment domain. The proposal should allow FAIR digital entities to be assessed objectively pushing us towards a more encompassing system in which entities and resources can be read and used competently equally well by humans and computers without barriers and problems arising because of inconsistencies across and within domains.
The researchers conclude that their work addresses many of the scientific and technical challenges regarding the implementation of the 15 FAIR principles for ontologies and semantic resources. The team writes that their work might now "guide the semantic community to put the FAIR principles into practice and enable them to qualify the degree of FAIRness of their semantic resource."
Amdouni, E., Bouazzouni, S. and Jonquet, C. (2022) 'O'FAIRe makes you an offer: metadata-based automatic FAIRness assessment for ontologies and semantic resources', Int. J. Metadata Semantics and Ontologies, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.16–46.
- Blogging influencers could be music to a marketeer's ears
In the ever-changing digital landscape, bloggers have risen to prominence as influencers, playing an important role in helping consumers pick and choose the products and services on which they want to spend their time and money. However, even with the many disparate social media apps that distract consumers from "traditional" blogs, there remains a huge number who have influence across many different spheres and represent a useful resource for marketers.
The problem remains how to identify and classify the many, many bloggers for best impact in a marketing campaign. A research study in the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising shows how a comprehensive framework can classify consumer bloggers based on their unique content creation approach.
Beatrice Ietto and Federica Pascucci of the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, have drawn on social-practice theory to construct their classification framework. In this theory, content creation is viewed as habitual behavior shaped by socio-cultural contexts. The team has focused on an extensive netnographic analysis of Australian music bloggers to offer new insights into the critical factors that influence a blogger's content creation approach.
The work shows that blogger in this niche create content primarily driven by their subjective evaluation of four key dimensions: personal influences, audience influences, community influences, and commercial influences. These dimensions play a pivotal role in shaping the blogger's content creation strategies and determining the nature of their engagement with their readership.
With the details of these insights to hand, the team created a multidimensional framework for the classification of bloggers as "passionate", "hype followers", "sophisticated and sub-cultural", "celebratory and overly positive, and the "professionals". The framework could offer marketing practitioners a useful resource for identifying and collaborating with the most appropriate bloggers that mesh well with their promotional strategies. The framework goes beyond the simplistic metrics of site "hits" and "reach" and looks at how the blog functions and how that would seamlessly work with a marketing campaign.
Ietto, B. and Pascucci, F. (2023) 'Classifying bloggers based on content creation approaches: implications for influencers marketing strategies', Int. J. Internet Marketing and Advertising, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.335–358.
- What's up Whatsapp? Cracking evidence from messenger apps
WhatsApp use has grown rapidly in recent years, allowing users to send text messages, voice, and video over an internet connection safe in the knowledge that third parties cannot intercept their correspondence without somehow breaking the end-to-end encryption used by the app.
The app is a boon for the security conscious, the socially vulnerable, and those with something to hide, such as rogue politicians. Of course, an app owned by a large corporate entity, in this case Meta (formerly Facebook) will be subject to legal pressure in the USA when it comes to allowing law enforcement access to those encrypted messages. Elsewhere those seeking to undertake criminal investigation may need a warrant to allow them to crack in order to obtain evidence for a prosecution or public inquiry, for instance.
Research in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, offers a way to overcome this significant obstacle in obtaining admissible evidence from Whatsapp for use in court. The work could lead to fewer inconclusive investigations and more successful criminal prosecutions.
The new algorithmic approach to Whatsapp forensics developed by Aritro Sengupta and Amit Singh of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in New Delhi and B.M. Vinjit of the National Institute of Technology in Haryana, India, sidesteps the specific hardware and software specifications of a mobile phone and allows Whatsapp data to be recovered from any device and even those seized phones that would not normally succumb to conventional forensic analysis. Moreover, the forensic analysis leaves no digital footprint and so does not compromise the evidence.
The demonstration suggests that law enforcement agencies and forensic investigators now have a forensically sound method of extracting WhatsApp data, streamlining their investigations, and bolstering their ability to build a strong case. The team will continue developing their forensic tools so that they might also be used with messenger apps other than Whatsapp.
Sengupta, A., Singh, A. and Vinjit, B.M. (2023) 'A platform independent and forensically sound method to extract WhatsApp data from mobile phones', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp.259–280.
- An energy-saving dimmer switch for streetlighting
A new approach to reducing the energy costs of streetlighting without compromising the safety and activities of pedestrians and drivers in towns and cities is discussed by researchers from India in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing.
The team of Pragna Labani Sikdar, Abhinav Anurag, and Parag Kumar Guha Thakurta in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the National Institute of Technology in Durgapur, West Bengal, reveals an approach to energy-efficient street lighting that strikes a balance between energy conservation and providing sufficient lighting for the people using the streets. The implications of this research are far-reaching, as it has the potential to revolutionize how cities and communities approach their street lighting infrastructure and reduce energy costs as well as a city's carbon footprint.
The key lies in equipping each street light with a sensor and dividing them into zones along a street. The sensor network of the streetlights can, based on detecting the nearest pedestrians or vehicles, control illumination levels appropriately so that nobody is left in the dark, but less energy is used lighting empty streets. This segmentation approach to lighting could offer precise control of total output across a city. To achieve optimal energy efficiency, the researchers take into account the length of each zone and a factor known as "brightness decrement per zone." By fine-tuning this factor, they can strike a delicate balance between energy savings and maintaining an adequate level of lighting utility.
The team has carried out extensive simulations to evaluate the approach with successful results. The implications are far reaching for cities the world over where environmental concerns and energy costs are both vying for space at the top of planning agendas. Moreover, the notion of light pollution, which affects the natural world as well as astronomical studies, might be reduced somewhat with the implementation of a dimmer switch for streetlighting.
Sikdar, P.L., Anurag, A. and Thakurta, P.K.G. (2023) 'Efficacious tuning in energy efficient street lighting', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp.53–63.
- Booting up artificial personality in AI systems
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used increasingly in many different walks of life from the large language models and image-generation tools that can produce readable text and intriguing graphics based on a prompt to the algorithms that analyse input and predict a feasible output for modelling climate and weather systems, road traffic, and even human behaviour.
There are AI tools that are being developed for online customer services, healthcare, education, art and music, and many other aspects of our lives. These systems would inevitably involve a person addressing an AI via a computer interface, a touchscreen, or an audio-video system of camera and microphone, and receiving answers to their questions or being asked questions by the AI itself to help them in some way. At the moment, such interfaces, which are often referred to as AI chatbots lack the versatility and human touch of a real person and so there is some way to go before we see them truly integrated into our lives.
Research in the International Journal of Computational Systems Engineering introduces the concept of artificial personality (AP). In this work, Takayuki Fujimoto of the Department of Information Sciences and Arts at Toyo University in Saitama, Japan, promises to bridge the gap between the bland bots and bots that respond with more human-like characteristics. This next generation of AP-enabled AI, would likely make our working with and using such tools much more appealing to a wider range of people, especially those so far reluctant to engage with this rapidly advancing technology.
Fujimoto challenges the state-of-the-art paradigm in AI and suggests ways in which its limitations might be overcome, side-stepping the existing AI frameworks and developing AP from the ground up. Ultimately, he foresees a time when AP allows us to develop versatile AI systems that seamlessly integrate into human lives. The research focuses on the concept of eXtended Intelligence (XI) as the basis for designing a system that reproduces humanness in computer systems, XI represents the technological successor to AI and incorporates the ideas of AP.
XI will blend the strengths of human intelligence – processing sensory data, understanding, abstract thought, and free association – with the strengths of artificial intelligence – information storage and retrieval, processing, prediction, and objective analysis, explains Fujimoto.
We are yet to consider in detail the ethics and morality, the privacy concerns, and the technical obstacles of AI, let alone AP and XI but researchers are making rapid progress.
Nevertheless, the future paradigm shift from AI to AP and XI will have far-reaching implications taking us to the next level of computer intelligence away from the industrial narrow AI or the entertainment-focused AI. XI with its inbuilt AP will not only perform tasks tirelessly, but will be able to respond to our emotions, preferences, and needs in much more subtle and useful ways than current AI technologies. One might even imagine XI acting as a caring personal assistant, providing companionship, and offering serious advice, all because the technology can comprehend and respond to our unique personalities.
Fujimoto, T. (2022) 'Reproduction of humanness based on eXtended intelligence: concept of artificial personality and its mechanism', Int. J. Computational Systems Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.30–40.
- Patient, heal thyself! With the help of bioinformatics
Healthcare costs continue to rise due to the burden of major diseases like cardiovascular, oncological, neurological, and metabolic conditions. These conditions account for about three-quarters of costs and resources. However, modern medicine does not generally seek to prevent or cure such problems, rather it addresses symptoms when they arise and then, if complete remission is not achieved, largely manages the conditions as chronic illnesses.
The next advances in medicine could help us avoid certain health problems altogether and to treat acutely those that do arise so that they are reversed or the person goes into complete remission. There are, according to optimistic research in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations opportunities to use the body's natural ability to repair itself within a short timeframe with the help of bioinformatics.
Luuk P.A. Simons Department of the department of Computer Science at Delft University of Technology, in The Netherlands, recognises that healthcare and medicine has many challenges to overcome before we approach this self-healing utopia. But, the latest advances in rapid recovery research point towards using daily bioinformatics feedback and biomarkers (natural chemicals in our body that are associated with different health or disease states) in our bodies to guide treatment. Simons suggests that this approach would allow people to develop a quantified self-profile, which he refers to as an "endoself." The endoself would offer a person crucial insights into their health and potentially give them biological opportunities for self-repair and cure.
This approach might be described as a paradigm shift. It entails moving away from our reliance on symptomatic diagnostics and the subsequent pharmaceutical and surgical interventions, towards an approach that uses bioinformatics and biomarkers to identify health problems the moment they arise and to trigger a wound-healing paradigm, perhaps with the minimal of interventions we might refer to as external fixes. Ultimately, this approach would be to the benefit of everyone in terms of individual health and costs to healthcare systems.
This healthcare shift relies on our knowing the biomarkers, of having ways to monitor them in near real-time, and to have means to stimulate the body to respond to potentially detrimental changes in the levels of those biomarkers in our bodies. Obviously, such stimulation might be pharmaceutical, but the paradigm shift is that it would be proactive in addressing a problem before obvious symptoms arise, rather than simply reacting to symptoms. There are barriers but Simons is optimistic that we can overcome these although one of the biggest obstacles, he suggests, is the shift from reimbursement-based medicine to evidence-based medicine.
We have seen with social media during the last decade or so a shift to a new paradigm in the dissemination and interpretation of news and information, one that involves individuals using tools to share and comment, rather than relying on traditional corporations to pick and choose what we read and watch. Simons' healthcare paradigm would, similarly, empower the individual to take up the new tools of the trade to take care of themselves rather than relying wholly on the medical-industrial complex.
Simons, L.P.A. (2023) 'Health 2050: faster cure via bioinformatics and quantified self; a design analysis', Int. J. Networking and Virtual Organisations, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp.36–52.
- Introverted leaders in the spotlight
A review in the International Journal of Management Development has highlighted the crucial role of personality types in the workplace. The study specifically focuses on dispelling the various misconceptions around leaders with introverted personalities. It reveals the key characteristics and qualities that make for effective leadership and compares the leadership styles of introverts and extroverts. The review could guide recruiters and human resource managers in improving their hiring practices and leadership development processes, making them more inclusive of introverts when identifying and nurturing potential leaders.
Hevvon A. Barnes of the University of Hartford, Connecticut and Susan M. Stewart of Western Illinois University, Moline, Illinois, USA, suggest that introverted leaders have long been misunderstood and their review seeks to challenge the deceived wisdom about their abilities. It is possible that by recognizing and valuing the unique strengths, talents, perspectives, and values of introverted leaders organizations could gain a deeper understanding of their contribution and build on it.
The team emphasizes that biases abound and while organisations with introverted leaders are obviously effective, the suggestion is that removing those biases and recognising the potential of introverted leaders could give a significant boost to an organisation. Taking proactive steps to address the misconceptions and foster a more balanced and diverse leadership culture, more accepting and respectful of introverts would allow those kinds of leaders to thrive and be more effective in their roles to the ultimate benefit of the organisation as a whole. The researchers add that interventions such as training programs, mentorship opportunities, and adjustments to organizational structures and practices might be used to achieve this efficiently.
There remain several areas for future research. For instance, there is still a need to explore the experiences of introverted leaders themselves in various organizational contexts and industries. There will also be a need to follow up on how effective particular interventions aimed at promoting the development and success of introverted leaders have been once implemented.
Barnes, H.A. and Stewart, S.M. (2022) 'Misconceptions about introverted leaders: how quiet personality types influence the workplace', Int. J. Management Development, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp.217–235.
Dr. Jun Li appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Lifecycle Performance Engineering
Dr. Jun Li from Curtin University in Australia has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Lifecycle Performance Engineering. The departing Editor in Chief, Prof. Hong Hao, will remain with the journal in the capacity of Advisory Editor.
Prof. Charbel Salloum appointed as new Editor in Chief of EuroMed Journal of Management
Prof. Charbel Salloum from EM Normandie Business School in France has been appointed to take over editorship of the EuroMed Journal of Management. The journal's departing Editor in Chief, Prof. Jacques Digout, will remain with EMJM as Honorary Editor in Chief.
Dr. Mark Tampuri appointed as new Editor in Chief of American Journal of Finance and Accounting
Dr. Mark Tampuri from the Academic City University College in Ghana has been appointed to take over editorship of the American Journal of Finance and Accounting.
Associate Prof. Jinyang Xu appointed as new Editor for International Journal of Precision Technology
Associate Prof. Jinyang Xu from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Precision Technology.
Prof. Guangwei Huang appointed as new Editor in Chief of International Journal of Global Environmental Issues
Prof. Guangwei Huang from Sophia University in Japan has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Global Environmental Issues.