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About this book

This book constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 6th IFIP World Information Technology Forum, WITFOR 2016, San José, Costa Rica, in September 2016.
The 16 full papers and 6 short papers presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 45 submissions. Within the general theme ICT for Promoting Human Development and Protecting the Environment the papers are organized in the following topical sections encompassing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations: ICT and cross-cutting development issues; ICT and environmental problems: ICT and human development problems; and ICT and economic development problems.

Table of Contents


Environment and Sustainable Development


The Role of ICT to Achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

This paper is aiming at illustrating the potential of ICT for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals which were declared by the United Nations in 2015 as binding for all nations of our planet addressing both developing and developed countries. ICT must play a significant role if the SDGs should be achieved as projected in 2030. The paper gives an overview of some of the existing efforts in this area and is written as an appeal to all professionals, scientists and IT-professional and their organization to take a holistic approach for all ICT-activities and projects to always include and monitor the effects of their work on the SDGs. The impacts of ICT on sustainability are twofold: On the one hand there might be negative effects on sustainability such as the generation of electronic waste, on the other hand ICT is definitely an enabler to more efficient resource usage, education and business operations which is critical success factor for achieving the SDGs.
A. Min Tjoa, Simon Tjoa

Principles for Re-Designing Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

Many information systems claim to be “green”, meaning in support of environmental sustainability. But at closer look we find that these claims are often unsubstantiated; in other words, many green systems are not making any environment more sustainable. We identify three main root causes. First, the ‘environment’ is often ill-defined. Second, systems often overlook that ‘sustainability’ is a targeted function dependent on the goals of some stakeholders, which may include designers, users, organizations, policy makers, society or the planet as a whole. Third, we find that research on green information systems often overlooks conceptualizations such as ecology, environment or sustainability that originate in the sciences of the system, i.e., the basis on which information systems are built. To address these issues we present eight new design principles unique to the development of Green Information Systems that can act as prescriptive coherent design theory for developing information systems that improve environmental sustainability.
Richard Baskerville, Jan Pries-Heje, Jan Recker

Automated Plant Species Identification: Challenges and Opportunities

The number of species of macro organisms on the planet is estimated at about 10 million. This staggering diversity and the need to better understand it led inevitably to the development of classification schemes called biological taxonomies. Unfortunately, in addition to this enormous diversity, the traditional identification and classification workflows are both slow and error-prone; classification expertise is in the hands of a small number of expert taxonomists; and to make things worse, the number of taxonomists has steadily declined in recent years. Automated identification of organisms has therefore become not just a long time desire but a need to better understand, use, and save biodiversity. This paper presents a survey of recent efforts to use computer vision and machine learning techniques to identify organisms. It focuses on the use of leaf images to identify plant species. In addition, it presents the main technical and scientific challenges as well as the opportunities for herbaria and cybertaxonomists to take a quantum leap towards identifying biodiversity efficiently and empowering the general public by putting in their hands automated identification tools.
Erick Mata-Montero, Jose Carranza-Rojas

Environment Monitoring Using Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Technologies

A Case Study of the Odd-Even Rule for Pollution Control in Delhi
195 countries gathered in Paris in 2015 to conclude the legally binding climate agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Continuous environment monitoring is a prerequisite for designing policies which can reduce global climate emissions. Only a handful of countries have the capabilities to carry out advanced climate measurements. Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Technologies can lower the technological and financial barriers for developing countries to monitor climate emissions. The authors made use of environmental COTS technologies along with information and communication technologies (ICT) to assess the impact of pollution control initiatives rolled out by the Delhi government on experimental basis.
Vikas Nath, Artash Nath



Challenge to Promote Deep Understanding in ICT

The international Bebras challenge on informatics and computational thinking is well-known in over fifty countries as an informal school activity. Running the contest annually for more than ten years, we have noticed that the students (and their teachers) consider the activities as a very exciting learning experience in problem solving and increased understanding of what lies beyond ICT. The crucial point of the challenge is the tasks: they focus mainly on the informatics (computer science) concepts and help in understanding beyond technology, they are short, attractive, and answerable in a few minutes; some of them have multiple-choice answers or are open-ended, and others have interactive components (solving by dragging, clicking, sorting, etc.). The performance of the Bebras challenge in many countries during the last years has shown a high acceptance by school students at all levels. The challenge also involves a fairly high number of female participants.
Valentina Dagiene

Computer Animation as a Vehicle for Teaching Computational Thinking

Several platforms and programming languages exist nowadays designed and built to help educators introduce kids and youngsters into computational thinking. Some of them employ visual elements as the primary output of code in order to provide an immediate and engaging feedback for students. Computer animations, digital drawings and videogames are common products in these environments. With the rising popularity of animated films, children and teenagers may find more attractive to enroll in computer animation courses than in computer programming ones. Based in our own experience conducting computer animation workshops, we believe that this interest can be combined with the aforementioned introductory programming environments to introduce students to both computational thinking and computer animation as complementary subjects. In this paper we will present a general strategy to accomplish this based on what we call animation patterns.
Leonel Morales Díaz, Laura S. Gaytán-Lugo

Transforming Low Socioeconomic Status Schools to Learning for Well-Being Schools

This article presents the initial finding about the complexity of dealing with a transformation of a low socioeconomic school into a learning for well-being school. The article looks at the problem through the lens of complexity theory to discuss the different components, subsystems and the different kind of changes that need to take place for the transformation process. The article concludes with some suggestions for developing a framework that may help practitioners and researchers when approaching this kind of complex change.
Heilyn Camacho

Transformative Applications of ICT in Education: The Case of Botswana Expansive School Transformation (Best) Project

Best project was launched under auspices of World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) Education Commission during 2005 to investigate transformative applications of ICT in education. Activity Theory, Development Work Research and Change Laboratory were underpinning frameworks used. Results at first school showed it was isolated from community and activities integrating school subjects with community human resources were designed. Findings at second school suggested that teachers failed to motivate most students due to social problems and categorization of students. Problem-Solving and development system was designed to overcome identified contradictions. Lastly, alternatives to exclusive school-subject interpretation of ICTs within test-oriented pedagogy curriculum practices at third school were replaced using mobile technologies. A lighter technological infrastructure was achieved. However, contradictions identified could not be overcome through one-time change, but required continuous internal development and learning in the school communities.
Paul Thabano Tapela Nleya



Identification of Design Patterns for Serious Games in an Educational Videogame Designed to Create Awareness on Dengue and Malaria Fever

An educational videogame may sound like the perfect solution to combine an educational process with a fun experience. Even though this holds true in some cases, most of the times educational games do not guarantee positive results in the cognitive development of the player. This is because they are designed to contain educational-related topics but do not focus on the real impact that is achieved on the player. In this paper, we identify different design patterns in the educational videogame “Pueblo Pitanga: Enemigos Silenciosos” and we share the results of applying these patterns and the impact the players. This videogame was designed to create awareness on Dengue and Malaria fever in young kids and teenagers. It was designed and developed by Green Lava Studios for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Eduardo Ramírez Elizondo

A Community Assets Infrastructure for the Secure Use of Mobile Computing Devices in the Rural Health Landscape

The ubiquity of mobile computing devices in the workplace has created a vast landscape of opportunity in rural communities centered on the increased population access owing to the improved mobility. Healthcare workers are able to reach previously disconnected communities and homesteads to deliver health related services through the use of custom mobile computing devices or applications that facilitate the viewing, recording and updating of patient records. Notably, the presence of electronic patient information presents privacy and confidentiality challenges that if not addressed, may affect the delivery of health services thereby negatively impacting on the overall health outcomes of the communities. Deficit based solutions target the needs and challenges of the communities in developing solutions and have been widely used; however, little emphasis has been placed on utilizing the existing asset resources that contribute positively to the overall health outcomes in the development of solutions. This paper leverages off an asset model developed by Morgan and Ziglio to identify existing community assets in a rural community through the use of a survey issued to community health workers and the supporting IT staff. The results point to assets in the cohesive social structures centered on the trust bond between the patients and the providers. Moreover, mentoring support structures and periodic training activities keep the health worker skills up to date. Furthermore, a positive appreciation of health information sensitivity and the need for patient privacy and confidentiality provide for productive interactions between health workers and patients.
Kevin Kativu, Dalenca Pottas

Digital Equity


Progressing Toward Digital Equity

In the computer domain, the objective to be reached in order to give opportunities equality to all persons is defined as Digital Equity. However, different international organizations are working to reach this goal. The analysis of the key points for reaching this objective and how international organizations (International Telecommunications Union, United Nations, International Federation for Information Processing) are working for this goal will be presented in the paper.
Ramon Puigjaner

Telecenters for the Future in Tea Estates of Sri Lanka

This paper reports on a study conducted at one of the Sri Lankan tea estate districts, exploring the present day status of telecenters to examine how they have succeeded in meeting the initial high expectations attached to them. During a field study, two major types of telecenters have been examined through observations, interviews and document analysis. Our findings suggest that the challenges of the initiation phase still prevail. The hopes are placed on the younger generation, as they are regarded as those who can benefit from the ICTs and thus contribute to the development of the remote communities of tea estates. In the concluding discussion, we advocate for the possibilities of co-designing new services that might help to transform the telecenters to meet the needs and requirements of the tea estate communities of today and tomorrow.
Sirkku Männikkö-Barbutiu, Thomas Westin, Ranil Peiris, Peter Mozelius

Mobile Internet Tariff Models: Technical or Political Decisions? A Costa Rican Case Study

We focus on the discussion about the proposal of shifting to a post paid mobile Internet tariff model based on usage, and its impact on universal use and service access for the poor sectors of the country. This proposal aims to address the problem of cellular data network saturation, by charging per downloaded kilobyte instead of allowing unlimited use. We analyze the position of important actors using the Advocacy Coalition Framework. The study reveals the absence of public policies on IT connectivity and infrastructure in Costa Rica. Based on the results, we conclude that the proposed change does not solve the saturation problem, but rather imposes limitations on access and usage for low-income people, generating social exclusion and digital divide.
Alexander Castro-Reyes, Gabriela Marín-Raventós A Bottom-up Initiative for Building Free Telecommunication Infrastructure

Building telecommunication network infrastructures is a key issue both, in developing regions and isolated areas in order to facilitate people not only access to information and new technologies, but also to give them the opportunity of self-organize. Nevertheless, despite the huge importance of the network infrastructure for the development of people, building a neutral and open communication system is not a priority for governments, so community networks are a solid and real alternative.
In this document we present, a bottom-up community network, born in Spain, having over 30,000 active nodes, totaling more than 55,000 km in network links, and showing a sustained growing rate. is an opportunity to build a distributed telecommunications infrastructure governed by the participants in an indiscriminate way.
But a network such as is not only of interest in developing areas. In many countries, internet connections, despite being a basic service, are usually monopolized by a small number of private companies. An open and free network as offers users the opportunity of being participants in the decisions regarding infrastructure and services.
Miguel Pérez, Pablo Boronat, José A. Gil, Ana Pont



Typifying Mechanisms for Gender Digital Equity in Latin America

Gender digital equity in Latin America and the Caribbean is our goal. We analyze gender specific structural inequalities that constitute barriers for women’s access to ICT: such as education, traditional cultural beliefs and practices, and economic inequality. We argue also that male-dominated ICT design and implementation (functionality, content, and human-computer interaction) can inhibit gender digital equity. We present a model to typify the existing mechanisms for reaching gender digital equity and propose a new mechanism: creating gender consciousness in ICT design and construction, and attracting women to the ICT field. The proposed model reflects the four mechanisms and depicts the possible means through which they can be implemented. Moreover, the model appoints actors capable of and responsible for such means. Recommendations for the ICT community regarding gender digital equity are also included.
Gabriela Marín-Raventós, Marta Calderón-Campos

Women in ICT: Opportunities for Their Inclusion in an International Labor Market

ICT is a key sector for developing contemporary economies and it entails an opportunity for increasing the employment rates internationally. Women were traditionally underrepresented; therefore, we need to reinforce their role in the international labor market. Before the implementation of positive actions, we need to know what is the situation and experiences of women in ICT workplaces. Through the Spanish Labor Force Survey we analyze the evolution of women. Despite the economic crisis, data shows that women have as good job prospects as men in the ICT labor market. However, women present higher levels of qualifications than men in the same category which may be interpreted as a sign of gender discrimination. Significantly, women display more critical opinions regarding the average work week.
Ana M. González, Beatriz Revelles, Elisabet Almeda, Núria Vergés Bosch, José S. García

Economic Development and Infrastructure


Can E-Commerce Provide a Solution to the Coffee Paradox?

The Case of Costa Rica
In spite of the boom in coffee consumption worldwide, farmers in coffee-producing countries are subject to increasingly lower prices. This situation is referred to as the “coffee paradox”, and affects the livelihood of millions of coffee farmers and their associated workers. ICT may provide a way to address this problem by eliminating intermediaries in the global value chain for coffee; therefore, we study the effect of e-commerce systems used in Costa Rica for trading coffee on prices received by local actors and discuss whether these systems provide a solution to the coffee paradox. Based on this discussion, we propose a new e-commerce system.
Francisco J. Mata, Ariella Quesada, Gabriela Mata-Marín

Innovation and Governance: The Role of Sharing Economy

The sharing economy originates from the development of new business models that help to record important data concerning economic development, by showing they can attract the attention of investors and the public at large. This paper tackles with the main issues related to technological development and to the ever increasing predominance of intangible or immaterial goods thus focusing on the so-called ‘sharing economy’. The players and the interests involved have been observed, together with the conflicts that institutions are called to anticipate and manage. Some principles that may offer some inspiration have been suggested too. Our objective was to show how the sharing economy may be considered as a remarkable economic resource for Italy in terms of both employment levels and tax revenue growth. In fact, it could be a great opportunity to establish new companies that, by implementing new business models, would have a positive effect on the industries that are currently suffering from the economic crisis and are relegated to grey areas or illegality. By evaluating the existing critical aspects of the Italian context in relation to industry regulations and governance, the paper aims at suggesting some pragmatic solutions to develop an ecosystem to facilitate the emergence of innovative companies that could boost employment. Mobility, tourist hospitality, work and training sectors have been taken into consideration.
Elia Brugnoni, Alberto Polzonetti, Matteo Sagratella

e-Bridge 3.0: A Strategic Approach to Structural Health Monitoring of Bridges in Costa Rica

The general condition of road infrastructure is a major weakness of the Costa Rican economy. In particular, a significant percentage of national bridges show an average or critical condition regarding parts of their structure. On the other hand, road and bridge infrastructure is crucial for the national economy since it promotes activities such as tourism and commercial trade. In this context, proper planning and prioritization of infrastructure projects is of high importance for related government institutions. In order to support these strategic activities, it is necessary to gather and monitor up-to-date information originating from different distributed systems and tools. e-Bridge 3.0 is a recent on-going project at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) aimed at the design of a bridge monitoring system to integrate strategic information about bridge structures. Modern business intelligence techniques will be applied to generate strategic performance indicators regarding for instance general reliability and remaining lifespan. This paper introduces the e-Bridge 3.0 project as an initiative towards the establishment of a national bridge monitoring system, which would have a significant impact on the effectiveness of national civil infrastructure management.
Cesar Garita, Giannina Ortiz

E-Government and Smart Cities


ICT and Citizen Efficacy: The Role of Civic Technology in Facilitating Government Accountability and Citizen Confidence

This paper examines whether civic technology ICTs provide an effective method for enhancing the political efficacy of citizens and their perceived accountability of governments. Using a survey-based methodology, a quantitative analysis was conducted of the users of civic action sites in the UK, Kenya, South Africa and USA. The key question examined is whether the particularized or citizen-audit actions that these sites facilitate have a spill-over effect in altering the level to which citizens believe they are able to hold government to account. The results suggest that citizen efficacy and perceptions of government accountability are enhanced. Stark differences in user demographics between territories demonstrate a wide spectrum of civic technology usage, however, with common confidence in the efficacy of the ICT. The findings suggest that publication and user-facilitation of government information through the medium of civic technology in developed and developing countries increases feelings of external efficacy and government accountability.
Rebecca Rumbul

Promoting Quality e-Government Solutions by Applying a Comprehensive Information Assurance Model: Use Cases for Digital Signature

Information and Communication Technologies, and specifically e-Government developments, occupy a relevant position in the national agenda of many countries worldwide. But development of such projects requires a careful planning, mostly when legal implications are bound to technological systems. This is the case when considering digital signature technology, as an essential element to support trust for e-government services. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive, systemic, and systematic, information assurance process to audit technological solutions for e-government services, and we show examples using digital signature from Costa Rica. Our approach supports applications developed with heterogeneous infrastructure and technologies. It also comprises the entire assurance process, including identification of threats and vulnerabilities, risk analysis, policy definition, and definition of security controls.
Ricardo Villalón-Fonseca, Alejandro Mora-Castro, Rodrigo Bartels-González, Miguel Carballo-Chavarría, Gabriela Marín-Raventós

Emergence and Ubiquity in the Smart Cities

This paper aims to add two concepts to the term of Smart City, ubiquity and emergence. The first term used recently in computer science to describe the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in all areas of society, being the basis of two new research areas that currently have great interest, called the Internet of Things and smart environments. The second term, widely used by some sciences (biology, theology, etc.) to describe the behavior and dynamics that occur in the real phenomena in their areas. In this paper, we analyze their contributions to help to design cities more autonomous, with more capacities of self-management and adaptation.
Jose Aguilar


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