IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2019 - 8

Guest Editorial

by Margot P.C. Weijnen

Next-Generation
Infrastructure
Systems and Services

A

t the 2017 IEEE International
Con ference on System s,
Man, and Cybernetics (SMC)
in Banff, Canada, SMC S o c ie t y
(SMCS) President Edward Tunstel
organized an IEEE SMCS Founders
Panel session. At that session, four
past presidents of the IEEE SMCS-
Thomas Sheridan, Bill Rouse, Jim
Tien, and Chelsea White-shared
their reflections on the Society's
past ambitions and present-day
accomplishments. While there are
many successes to celebrate, some
of the Society's ambitions extend
beyond today's achievements, especially regarding the recognition of
the social dimension of the systems
we study in the SMC community. To
ensure more relevance of our work
for public policy makers and corporate decision makers, we should not
only study the complexity of human-
machine interactions but also recognize social complexity at higher
system levels.
For infrastructure systems and services, the need to account for the social
dimension is beyond dispute. Infrastructure systems connect millions
of users; supply them with energy,
water, information, telecommunication, transport, and mobility services;
and remove waste and wastewater.
Through interactions with users,
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2019.2916266
Date of publication: 5 August 2019

8

force us to rethink the foundations
on which we built our economies: the
infrastructure systems that provide us
with essential services for economic
productivity and social interaction. Obviously, we cannot redesign and rebuild
our infrastructure overnight. However,
we can start introducing promising
technologies, such as those supporting a cleaner and more sustainable energy and mobility infrastructure.
whose needs change over time, infraIn all visions of the future, infrastructure systems must adapt. The
structure systems are gaining a cruinteractions also work the other way,
cial digital dimension through the
as the technological characteristics of
Internet of Things (IoT). Among its
infrastructure systems elicit certain
many benefits, the IoT will enable usbehavioral responses from their users.
ers to intensively interact with network
Institutions moderate these conand service providers, culminating in
stant interactions across spatial and
time-of-use pricing or even real-time
temporal scales, shaping the evolulocation- and user-dependent pricing.
tion of infrastructure systems and
Such schemes come at the pr ice
changing their emerof m a s s i v e d a t a
gent behavior. These
e xchange, which, in
For infrastructure
define both the rules
turn, requires inno of the game and how
vat ion in digital insystems and
the game is played
frastructures and
services, the need
by infrastructure and
expanded capacities.
to account for the
technology providIn shaping the
social dimension
er s, net work a nd
in frastructure sysmarket operators,
tems of the future,
is beyond dispute.
users are expected
service providers, regt o be come mor e
ulators, and so forth.
Institutions, however, also change
re sponsible and responsive actors
with changing technologies, user
with the knowledge and capabilities
needs, economic conditions, and
needed to play their roles as active
societal preferences. Institutional
participants in, for example, the enchange is thus a vital ingredient of
ergy and mobility markets. Many usthe evolution of infrastructure sysers may become prosumers, whether
tems. At the same time, path depenby installing solar panels on their
dencies limit the adaptive capacity of
roofs or by using cars that provide
infrastructure systems.
public transport services or flexibilWhile many infrastructure sysity services to the power grid. The
tems have evolved and served us
trend toward decentralization in the
well over many decades, they are now
provision of services, either from
challenged by new technologies and
within infrastructure systems or
emerging threats to our societies and
in competition with an established
economies, such as global warming,
infrastructure, is rapidly changing
urbanization, terrorism, cyberrisks,
the infrastructure landscape. The
and food and energy insecurity. These
emergence of data platforms and

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE Ju ly 2019



IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2019

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