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Dynamic, Real-time, On-demand Personalisation at Scale (DROPS)

About the Project

The £1.2m EPSRC-funded DROPS (Dynamic, Real-time, On-demand Personalisation at Scale) project will explore how decentralisation, personal data and our Internet-connected possessions come together on the Hub-of-all-Things (HAT) platform. Its first focus will be the privacy, trust and identity issues arising from the development of personalised e-books for children.

The project is a collaboration between WMG and researchers at the universities of Warwick, Surrey, and the West of England, working with the HAT Community Foundation, a non-profit promoting the use of HAT micro-servers for decentralized, person-controlled personal data.

 What DROPS aims to do

  • To develop a new cloud-enabled containerised space called ThingsSpace that manages the computational process of personalising technology, such as e-books, in such a way that a user's personal data is protected. ThingsSpace will use an existing personal data store, the HAT, to store personal data subsequently used by the e-book's algorithm to adapt to the child's pedagogical needs
  • To use ThingsSpace as a springboard to document and evaluate the privacy, trust and identity issues resulting from its design and use. This evaluation will lead to the development of different economic and business models creating a feedback loop with the technical design.

Creating Impact

Teachers and parents serving as the gatekeepers of children's e-books are often not cognisant of the privacy risks these complex technologies raise for young people who cannot yet give consent. Through co-creation workshops with these key stakeholders, we will develop their understanding of how personalised technologies operate and the privacy issues that arise, to help shape their personal and professional practice.

By combining the latest state-of-the-art technology in personal data storage (the HAT) with privacy requirements, we will develop novel technology in dynamically personalised digital products. DROPS will create new design methodologies and techniques that ensure there is alignment between good pedagogy, user experience and privacy in e-books. This knowledge will be disseminated and transferred through directly working with publishers of e- books showcasing the viability of our technology to their existing offering. Through this collaborative engagement with the commercial sector, we will also develop novel approaches to the economic models that take into account both privacy and financial viability.

We are committed to building the skillset of future technology designers, in the domains of privacy and digital learning, and will develop projects and teaching materials across the four institutions involved in DROPS.

Public engagement will capitalise on the interdisciplinary partnerships and involve knowledge exchange activities such as workshops with children's media industry and publishers, high-profile media coverage, student projects and placements and relevant national and international conferences and scholarly publications.



Project Timeframe

July 2018-June 2020