According to a Gartner forecast, 8.4 billion connected things are being in use worldwide in 2017 — an increase of 31 percent from 2016. The IT research firm expects that number to reach 20.4 billion by 2020.



First Workshop on User Experience Aspects of Smart Connected Objects and Things Engineering 

In conjunction with

ICSOC 2020 – The 18th International Conference on Service-Oriented Computing

December 14-17, Dubai, United Emirates Arab


Workshop Organizers

Prof. Ahmed Seffah 

Zayed University Interactive Media Lab (ZU-IML)

College of Technological Innovation)

Prof. Peter Forbrig

Institute of Software Engineering

Rostock University, Germany 



From a broad perspective, this workshop aims to explore the User experiences/Human-Computer Interaction concerns in service and service systems design, engineering and innovation practices. Especially, the workshop explores user experience and usability concerns in the context of connected objects and services with the Internet of things. We viewed connected objects and services as a colony moving together of Web and mobile services, highly inter and intra-connected. Built on the top of the Internet of Thing, they also interrelates physical objects (real and virtual sensors capable of collecting data, for example) and digital services (mobile and Web for examples). Such highly interconnected very wide range of swarming services are also building pushing the border of the human-software-physical world interaction.

In this workshop, we argue that connected Services and Objects require an approach to the design and engineering of software systems. Such services is increasingly popular for its ability to simplify the deployment, customization while ensuring the quality of software applications. The design and evaluation issues of these innovative services are one of the key areas to focus on for growth and innovation within local and global software engineering economy. Furthermore, as part of the emerging new discipline, service science and management (SSME), connected objects and services are crossing, and in some cases reshaping the HCI discipline and traditional boundaries of the whole field of software engineering. SaaS should be fully grounded in user-centric engineering to developing with and for people as well as for making SaaS useful, usable and accessible.


This workshop aims to be a forum for sharing engineering approaches and avenues to close the gaps between the emerging SSME and relevant design communities including HCI and software engineering. Some of topics the workshops will explore are (not limited to these) include:


·       Connected objects in HCI research

·       User experiences design applied to connected objects

·       Definition and characterization of smart connected objects

·       Toolkits for the physical-digital services and objects integration

·       Web and mobile integration with sensors

·       Design patterns

·       User interfaces and usability testing of connected objects

·       Usability versus security concerns

·       Applications including healthcare, industry 4.0 and smart cities




Vargo and Lusch define a service as the application of specialized knowledge and skills, through deeds, processes, and performances for the benefit of an organization or for another organization [Vargo, 2004]. The singular service breaks down into direct (i.e. services) and indirect (products and money) forms.  Among the wide range of IT-based services, SaaS is a promising trend where software developers and providers offer their independently developed software functions through networks. Transfer of ownership does not occur; the software is effectively hired, albeit for no charge in many cases.  SaaS success heavily relies on Internet of things technologies progress. In this context, Web services are moving from being a static “brochureware-oriented Web sites to very sophisticated and highly interactive system services. Furthermore, with the advent of the ambient and pervasive computing, services can be accessible from various diverse host locations and computer devices. 


For example, GPS (Global Positioning System) and iPhone/Android are among the devices that feature thousands of interactive information-oriented services. Other examples of more complex service systems include CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) that are more frequently offered as open source SaaS. End users can pick and customize on the fly the services that he or she needs. Before the advent of SaaS, managing, tracking and reporting on the huge amount of customer information was accomplished either by enormously expensive software solutions or by using out of the box software that offered limited capabilities, required heavy customization, integration and continuous maintenance.


Offering a CRM or an ERP as a set of interrelated SaaS make it possible to manage customer relationships in a centralized online location, to share information in a real time environment, to access it from anywhere in the world, and to use a large variety of devices.  For small and medium -sized companies, SaaS are a unifying platform to serve their customer interests, facilitate greater communication and efficient feedback with very low and affordable costs. The SaaS model brings also to the small to medium-sized business looking for maintenance free solution, an easy to use, customizable, continually upgraded, backed by a service level guarantee, and most importantly with a very low cost compared to traditional software packages.  However, there is a dearth of user-oriented studies in the area.  A recent report by Gartner, suggested lukewarm satisfaction with SaaS based software.


Specific Focus of the Workshop


In the context of the new emerging cyber-physical systems and IoT technologies services for connecting digital artifacts and physical objects in the world, has a wide range of potential applications and challenges from the HCI/Human perspective. In this definition, a wider range of data sources should be considered, including data that is private and personal; data that is open; data deriving from the environment from networked sensors; data both from and about people. These datasets, when put together or linked by and via humans, have the same importance and consequences as the personal data in the original HDI definition. In this research, HDI is also about the interactive technologies and interaction patterns in the context of cyber-physical systems (Seffah, 2017).


The following videos illustrate this definition and the vision of connected services and objects in this workshop at age of the emergence of cyber-physical systems, the underlying IoT and sensing technologies.  The videos also highlight the major challenges awaiting further HCI research. 



The workshop aims to bring together a mix of researchers and practitioners, both from HCI, software engineering, service engineering and SSME communities, to:



For the industry and HCI practitioners, the following are some of the practical outcomes of the workshop:



Proposed duration of the workshop


The workshop is full day including presentation of research and industry papers, activities in working groups, posters and panel sessions. 


Program committee members (TBD)


An estimate of the number of submissions that will be attracted based on workshops held in previous years or any other information


We can accommodate up to 24 participants at most including workshops organizers. Posters sessions will be during the common breaks, which make the workshop accessible to others. We are aiming for a balance between academia and industry, between local and international participants.


Plans for Invited Talks


We will invite a senior researcher from industry (TO be announced).  


A commitment as to whether the workshop organizers would like the post proceeding to appear in Springer together with the other workshops


Yes, we will publish the accepted position papers as well as the conclusions of the work in the proceedings of workshop. 


After the workshop, participants will be encouraged to extend their position papers for an edited volume that will be published as part of the Springer HCI series on Swarm Connected Objects and Services. 


Any further information deemed relevant, e.g. previous workshops held on similar themes


Submission process and participants. The workshop is planned as a full open day forum for brainstorming as well as two presentations from the participants or from guests’ speakers. These presentations aim to initiate the discussions on specific topics.


The first step towards participation in the workshop will be the submission of 6 pages (maximum) regular paper or 2 pages for position paper via an email to one of the organizers. The position paper should include the author interests in SaaS and SSME, their experiences in researching or developing a specific SaaS as well as the key concerns that they faced or think we – workshop organizers and participants - should discuss during the workshop. We also highly welcome contributions from developers and SaaS providers.


All position papers will be published on the workshop Website; a Web site that the first author is developing. After the workshop, this site will be maintained as an online forum for disseminating ideas and advances in SaaS and the related HCI and software engineering concerns. Just before the workshop, there will be also an online discussion between the organizers and participants to define the list of topics and questions that will be discussed during the workshop in brainstorming sessions.


Submissions describing early interests, on-going project results as well as doctoral theses will also be accepted.  Ph.D. candidates looking for ideas are highly encouraged to attend the workshop. All position papers and workshop minutes will be published online pre-proceedings before the workshop.


Tentative Program


Eight regular papers will be selected and presented as well as a series of posters (to be presented in break times) and industry case studies (there will be a panel to introduce the industry panels.


Session 1


·       Welcome Message (Fatima AlHarbi)

·       Computing The UX/HCI Challenges, Myths and Pitfalls in Service  (Prof. Ahmed Seffah)

·       Keynote talk (Invited speaker from industry) or industry case studies (Brief presentation to be discussed and investigated during the day)

·       Detailed plan and activities of the day


Coffee break


Session 2

·       Brief presentation of four papers

·       Panel and discussion (panelists are the paper presenters)


Lunch Break


Session 3

·       Brief presentation of four papers

·       Panel and discussion (panelists are the paper presenters)


Coffee Break


Session 4

Participants are invited to join on of the four working groups (This may change based on participants wishes, expertise and papers accepted)


·       Industry needs and priorities

·       Agile versus UX

·       Service security versus usability

·       New emerging services and trends


Closing session

·       Conclusions of the working of the working group

·       Ending word and thanks


City tour and dinner (organized by our industry sponsor)




1.     Bennett, K., Layzell, P., Budging, D., Brereton, P., Macaulay, L., and Munro, M. (2000) Service-based software: the future for flexible software. In APSEC 2000 (pp. 214-221).

2.     Deyo. J. Software as a Service (SaaS): A look at the migration of applications to the web. Accessed on March 3, 2010.

3.     Hefley, B. and Murphy, W. (eds.) Service Science, Management, and Engineering: Education for the 21st Century. New York: Springer, 2008.

4.     Pring, B., and Lo, T. (2009) Dataquest Insight: SaaS Adoption Trends in the U.S. and U.K. Report, Gartner,

5.     Spohrer, Jim. Paul P. Maglio, John Bailey, Daniel Gruhl, Steps toward a Science of Service Systems, in IEEE Computer, Jan 2007.

6.     Turner, M. Budgen, D. Brereton, P. Turning Software into a Service. IEEE Computers. 2003, VOL 36; PART 10, pages 38-45

7.     Vargo, S.L., and Lusch, R.F. (2004). The four service marketing myths. Journal of Service Research, 6 (4), pp. 324-335.

8.     Wild, P.J. (2010) Longing for Service: Bringing the UCL Conception towards Services Research. Interacting with Computers 22 (1), pp. 28-42.

9.     Wild, P.J. (2010) A Systemic Framework for Supporting Cross-Disciplinary Efforts in Services Research. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology 3(2), pp. 116-127.