Computing in context: Brazenbury scenerio
Brazenbury is one of a series of New Towns proposed as part of the Government’s M3 Corridor development plan to provide up to half a million new homes in the next ten years. It’s due to be built on a greenfield site between Petersfield and Midhurst and thanks to a private partnership initiative with the international tech giant HAL, Brazenbury will be one of the UK’s first fully smart communities. HAL has undertaken to install full smart technology in every home and business within Brazenbury and has a ten year contract, with an optional five year extension, to use the town as a testing ground for all its smart infrastructure projects, with a legal agreement to leave the town in a ‘fit and proper state’ at the end of the project. Those who choose to live in Brazenbury will be given a 25% golden-handcuff agreement on the cost of their home: the Government will contribute 25% of the property’s market value provided the owners sign a contract, agreeing to full participation with all relevant HAL projects and to remain in the property for at least fifteen years – a breach of either condition will make them liable for the full, outstanding market value of the home.
Due to this requirement, there will be no rental homes in Brazenbury and no property within the town limits may be purchased on a buy-to-let basis until the HAL project has come to an end. To encourage the community to be self-sufficient, rental on small business premises is being offered at cost to anyone who has already signed a residential contract to live in Brazenbury.
A number of industrial partners are already signed up for collaborative smart projects to be trialled in the town. These include:
- Computer mediated primary care – Brazenbury Medical Centre will have access to a variety of smart monitors that will be able to automatically record and monitor various common chronic health conditions remotely. This may include taking blood pressure and blood glucose readings (to monitor diabetic patients); gyroscopic stability monitors to indicate whether frail patients may have suffered a fall; and foetal heartrate monitors to check on the health of unborn babies.
- Smart social services – designed to work alongside the computer mediated primary care, smart social services combine complex data mining to identify the most vulnerable members of the community and provide preventative intervention at a very early stage to reduce the risks of more complex and expensive interventions later. This may include identifying women at risk of post-natal depression prior to the birth of their child; arranging for modifications to the homes of newly diagnosed dementia patients to reduce the risk of accidents; creating care pathways for victims of domestic abuse and stream-lining processes related to end-of-life care
The unique opportunities presented by the Brazenbury initiative have led to a considerable amount of publicity, as a result of which various charities, think-tanks and special interest groups have offered a number of suggestions for additional developments, all of which would need financial input from the UK Government. Due to the rules around funding bids Brazenbury Borough Council (BBC) have selected just three additional projects: two related to safety and one related to community cohesion and sustainability. They have been successful at the initial bid stage but they have to make sure that they answer a number of questions the bid committee have raised about the projects when they submit the paperwork for the next stage of the process. If the Council can’t do that, it’s likely that their bids will be rejected. You have been tasked with providing persuasive, well-argued answers to the following questions that BBC can use as the foundation for their revised bids.
- c) The Leader of the Council’s first reaction to these concerns was that if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from this kind of data gathering. The rest of the council want an objective assessment of whether this reaction takes the concerns seriously enough. Based on your research, is the council leader right or not and explain why you have come to this conclusion [15 Marks]
Project 2: Safe Surf [40 Marks]
Due to recent issues with trolling and other forms of inappropriate behaviour online, Brazenbury Borough Council is proposing to set up a community ‘splinternet’ with its own social media, micro-blogging, dating and peer-to-peer retail platforms, all of which will have editorial policies (rules about what can and can’t be done) set collectively by the residents of Brazenbury. Many residents like the idea because they believe it would allow them to feel safer and to be less concerned about harmful material their children may be exposed to online but concerns have been raised on a number of fronts and BBC need help addressing the following:
- a) Which of the negative behaviours commonly reported on social media should the Brazenbury splinternet deal with first [4 Marks] and why [6 Marks]? [10 Marks]
- b) The Council wants to understand what residents meant when they raised concerns about the ‘echo-chamber effect’ on community moderated platforms and what risks that might pose. Explain clearly what the echo chamber effect in relation to social media [4 Marks] and the risks that it poses [6 Marks]
- c) A number of individuals who provided feedback on the proposals were also concerned that blocking certain content concealed social problems rather than resolving them. Can restricting content be helpful or is it – on balance – a way to make society look better rather than actually improving things? Your answer should look at the arguments in support [8 Marks] and against blocking content [8 Marks] and conclude whether blocking content is ultimately a useful thing to do [4 Marks]
Project 3: Elder Tree [30 Marks]
Many communities have difficulties providing sufficient social care for the elderly and disabled and Brazenbury Council understands that it will have to make use of innovative technological solutions if it wants to avoid the same issues.
As part of the town planning process, the Council has set aside two cul-de-sacs, each laid out for twenty-five properties, to form a warden-managed assisted living zone. Each property in the zone will be made wheelchair accessible and fitted with a variety of mobility aids to ensure that elderly and disabled residents can live in these properties comfortably and with the maximum level of independence.
In addition to physical aids, Brazenbury Council also intend to make use of a range of smart technologies within the assisted living zone, with the specific aims of improving safety and maintaining the independence of residents.
- a) Based on your own research, suggest THREE types of smart technologies that could be usefully incorporated into homes within Brazenbury’s assisted living zone: each of the examples should make a significant difference to either the independence or safety of elderly and disabled residents (and therefore should not be something other residents would routinely expect to need). It should also make use of the smart infrastructure described in the case study [3 x 5 = 15 Marks]
- b) For each of the three examples given in question 3a) explain the benefits to Brazenbury Borough Council in implementing each of these features