Waternomics

Why an Applications Platform?

As explained in the first post of the series the idea of the Applications Platform came as an outcome from the need to cover a wide range of user needs. But apart from filling in this need there are a number of additional benefits that stem from the design of the platform for all different user types that will be presented in this post.

Benefits for end-users

WApP has been designed to offer all end-users convenience and usability by providing the following benefits:

One place to concentrate all applications needed

User only need to use one URL to use any application they like.

Simple selection and deployment of any additional application

As soon as the user finds an application that he wants to use its installation and usage is a matter of 2 clicks.

Single sign-in process across all applications.

There is one login screen for all applications and user management is based on the main Waternomics applications platform user management structure. By the term user management structure we refer to the set of groups, roles and users of the platform and their relations between them. This means that there is no need for each application to create a separate user management structure or for users to remember different user names and passwords for every application.

Applications categorization

Applications can be separated in categories based on their functionality to facilitate easier discovery. Categories in the Waternomics applications platform currently include the following:

Monitor: Includes applications that allow users to monitor their consumption and have it presented in meaningful for them ways.

Learn: Includes applications that provide educational and informative material to users. Given the wide variety of user roles and groups in the system having a common user management allows for such applications to filter and target news and material delivery specific for each users’ needs.

Explore: Includes applications that allow users to explore the potentials of the dataspace in terms of analytic services and related applications. Many of the applications in this category provide a way to configure and run a service on the data gathered in the dataspace in order to notify and prompt the user for specific actions e.g. many of these applications are linked to the notifications feature that will be presented in a later post.

Play: Includes gaming applications or applications with gamification elements that help user to learn and educate themselves through playing or through interacting with them in non-leisure contexts.

Applications targeted for the end-user

Based on a user’s role, suitable applications can be selected as install options for specific users so as to best match applications to end users and encourage installation of the most useful applications.

Easy creation of custom user made applications

Users can create their own applications by mixing and matching from a variety of readymade components available on WApP. This is especially useful for creating custom made dashboards addressing specific needs.

Social collaboration in creating applications

Applications developed by end-users can easily be shared with other users in their groups and roles or users from other groups and roles as well. This way the dashboard created by an environmental manager in the airport can easily be shared and used by other environmental managers and technicians within the same airport in an effort to enhance collaboration though sharing of information.

Redundancy of applications

Similar to other applications ecosystems, the Waternomics applications platform allows for multiple applications to be developed for a specific problem or need of a user. Therefore, it allows for the necessary redundancy of applications so that users can have more than one options to select from. This way it also encourages the creation of an ecosystem of competitive applications in different domains.

Benefits for administrators

Administrators are the users who are responsible for maintaining and managing the necessary infrastructure of the WApP.

Based on the organisation scheme and business models administrators can either be members of a user organisation such as the IT department of the Linate airport or members of a third entity which is responsible for managing the infrastructure such as Ultra4 for Thermi’s pilot. Either way, WApP has been designed to provide administrators with the following range of benefits to facilitate their work:

A single user management structure for all applications

All applications work under the same user management structure so the same set of roles, groups etc. can be used in all applications

Management of applications delivery.

Administrators can easily manage which applications are available to which users based on the user management structure.

Easy creation of custom made applications

Administrators can also create their applications based on ready-made components and target them to specific roles, groups or users.

Extensibility

Administrators can easily include in the market place new applications developed using the components provided by the platform or by third parties and target them to specific users.

Benefits for developers

WApP offers third party developers an accessible and forward looking system providing:

Extensibility

One of the key reasons for selecting the marketplace approach was the extensibility it can provide for the platform. Third party developers can easily include their apps in the Waternomics applications platform and benefit from its facilities.

Easy discovery of third-party applications

Easier discovery of their application through inclusion in the market place ecosystem. Moreover there is no need to develop their own user management structure since they can use the single sign on process of the market place.

Data Accessibility

Apart from the role of a marketplace for end-users the Waternomics applications platform includes also links to applications and data sources that are included in the dataspace and developers can exploit and use in their apps. This way, it also serves as a toolbox for developers connecting them with appropriate linked open data sources.