Creating Sustainable Internet of Things Futures Workshop

Speaker Assembly

Call for Participation

Our full-day, in-person workshop at DIS 2024 on 2nd July 2024 will explore the design, legal, and societal challenges of designing more sustainable and long-lasting consumer internet of things (IoT) devices.

We will have a mixture of participant presentations, discussions, and hands-on explorations of tools and methods for thinking through sustainable IoT design challenges. The workshop aims to: 

• Map the problems with current iterations of Internet of Things, particularly assessing the societal, legal and environmental implications.

• Provide a space to share best practice and tools around how those can be addressed to move towards more sustainable IoT futures.

• Envision how to design more long-lasting and sustainable Internet of Things, and analyse what roadblocks are preventing this occurring currently.

We invite participants from a range of academic backgrounds in design research, arts and humanities, social sciences, law, engineering, and industrial practitioners to take part. We especially welcome those with an interest in sustainable interaction design, design and equality, IoT technologies, and law, governance and ethics aspects.

Participants are asked to provide a short position paper outlining their contribution to the workshop. This can take many forms, such as a traditional academic abstract, design artefact, tool, method, portfolio, sketches, pictorial, demo. We plan to share these on the website prior to the workshop, so we would ask participants to provide up to 500 word maximum for explaining and documenting their submission. This should be submitted in a docx or PDF file.

Participants who are not looking to present, but still want to attend and actively participate in the discussions / workshop, are still invited to submit a short 100-word statement around why they want to participate in the workshop and what their experience would bring.

Submissions can be emailed directly to lachlan.urquhart@ed.ac.uk by 1st June 2024 (AoE Time).

[Workshop registration – €70. Registration code is W3-SUSTFUTURES].


Key Dates

Submission deadline: 1st June 2024
Notifications: 10th June 2024
Workshop date: 2nd July 2024



The way consumer Internet of Things (IoT) devices are currently built is leading to a growth in electronic waste (eWaste) growth. Whilst many consumer electronics are built with planned obsolescence, the bundling of ‘smartness’ into IoT devices means there are more routes to failure, across software, hardware and data infrastructures.

Realising more sustainable IoT requires finding ways to address a range of problems across the system life cycle. For example, lack of modular and repairable hardware can prevent devices being kept in use. Software can be made redundant due to short term software cybersecurity updates and manufacturer support. Users can face issues in controlling their data in IoT infrastructures at end of life of a device e.g. in exercising rights to port or erasure their data.

There is a growing awareness in design research around the need for sustainable design practices, and the legal landscape is shifting too, with new legislation mandating a right to repair, more eco-friendly design, and improved support for cybersecurity of devices (e.g. in the EU Cyber Resilience Act).

Understanding how to build more long-lasting and sustainable IoT in practice requires an interdisciplinary perspective bridging design, law, and the social science research. This one day workshop sits at the boundaries of these disciplines, aiming to bring together a diverse community of researchers and practitioners to address this topic.