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Enabling Consumer Awareness of Carbon Footprint Through Mobile Service Innovation (C-AWARE)

About the Project

C-AWARE aims to build services to improve users' awareness of their personal energy consumption, and modify their energy demand, by monitoring technology in the home, along with tracking user location via mobile devices; local analysis of a user's data, along with privacy-sensitive centralised data mining for broader trend analysis; and gauging the impact of various feedback channels on actual user behaviour.

The project assesses the feasibility of new energy information services and corresponding business models based on emerging sensor technology, fusion techniques and opportunistic networking. The services must be functional and compelling both to the individual user and to the user collective based on social perceptions of energy reduction need. They must also provide viable revenue streams for mobile operators and end-application service providers.


Underlying Theories

A reconceptualisation of service through a service-dominant logic (S-D Logic) was proposed by (Vargo 2004) as an alternative perspective to the traditional goods-dominant view of value. S-D Logic proposes that there are no ‘services’ or ‘goods’, but that all offerings are bundles of potential value, and goods are merely value propositions which are realised in use (Vargo 2011). It also proposes that an offering’s value is co-created only in use and in context by the individual. So, the potential exists for the occurrence of contextual invariances, when multiple individuals have the same contexts for value co-creation, i.e. a cluster of contexts.

For example, travellers at train stations wish to check train departure times wherever they are in the station, whether at the main hall, the newsagents or the café, and there are often information boards located in many places. Therefore, checking train departure times at different locations represents a contextual invariance. Such a contextual invariance could assist firms in achieving better coordination (value co-creation) capabilities.

Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2004) Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing, Journal of marketing, 68(1), p.1-17

Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2011) It’s all B2B...and Beyond: Toward a Systems Perspective of the Market, Industrial Marketing Management, 40, p.181-187

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Data collected from a survey on smartphone users conducted with China Mobile in Malaysia, Singapore and Beijing has demonstrated a role of context within co-creation, as opposed to simply considering a characterisation of the user in isolation. For instance, studying smart phone users in isolation would not take into consideration the multitude of applications (apps) that can be very valuable in different contexts.
The survey also demonstrated the influence of effectual reasoning (rather than causal reasoning) on technology use, requiring focus on context as well as use. For instance, smart phone users acquire apps not only based on demand (i.e. I need to do something, so I find an app for that), but also because some apps may be useful to them in the future.
A framework for contextual invariances for the business/pricing model continues to be developed, as it has the potential to assist firms in achieving better value co-creation capabilities and in reducing energy consumption.
Monitoring hardware and software has been developed and deployed within the Computer Laboratory building at the University of Cambridge as a test bed and in domestic buildings through the University of Nottingham. This has included low-cost USB sensors developed for high-density monitoring. In parallel, web-based interfaces to access the data comparatively have been constructed and publicly deployed.

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Core Research Team

Professor Irene Ng, University of Warwick
Professor Ian Leslie, University of Cambridge
Professor Jon Crowcroft, University of Cambridge
Professor Derek McAuley, University of Nottingham
Dr Gerard Briscoe, University of Cambridge
Dr Steven Hand, University of Cambridge
Dr Anil Madhavepeddy, University of Cambridge
Dr Ben Bedwell, University of Nottingham
Chris Elsemore, University of Cambridge

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Publications/Research Outputs

Energy monitor prototype installed at the Cambridge University Computer Laboratoryin the William Gates building (

Ng, I & Briscoe, G (2012) Value, Variety and Viability: New Business Models for Co-Creation in Outcome-based Contracts. International Journal of Service Science, Management, Engineering, and Technology, forthcoming. Interim location: WMG Service Systems Research Group Working Paper Series, paper number 06/12, ISSN 2049-4297. Available at:

Ng I, Guo L, Ding Y (2012) Continuing Use of Information Technology as Value Co-creation: The Role of Contextual Variety and Means Drivenness. WMG Service Systems Research Group Working Paper Series, paper number 07/12, ISSN 2049-4297. Available at:

Ng, Irene C.L. and Gerard Briscoe (2011) Value, variety and viability: designing for co-creation in a complex system of direct and indirect (goods) service value proposition. The 2011 Naples Forum on Service - Service Dominant Logic, Network & Systems Theory and Service Science: Integrating Three Perspectives For A New Service Agenda, 14-17 June, Capri, Italy

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Ref: EP/I000186/1

Project Timeframe

July 2012-June 2012

Project Poster

C-Aware poster