IT as a Utility is looking at the provision of information and technology in a transparent and highly usable manner. It is closely related to Grid and Cloud Computing with its emphasis on making IT resources effortlessly and almost invisibly available to the end user. Cloud paradigms for access to applications and infrastructure are now well established, and are changing the way users interact with applications, especially where the application is accessible from multiple devices and users.

However, these are only the start of the move towards IT as a utility. Elements such as digital content, sensors and other real-world devices (e.g. the Internet of Things) are already becoming accessible on demand over the Internet. As user communities become more integrated with the Internet, people will have access not just to utility storage (as they do today) but to rich and complex utility content (including live sensor data, user participation and “just in time” personalised media), managed and exploited by a wide range of interacting utility applications and autonomous agents interacting with consumer-usable end-points that aren’t always computers or mobiles. The network will be working towards simple, usable and safe IT provision from smart services, surroundings and information stores.

The RCUK Digital Economy Programme

The ITaaU Network+ is funded ( April 2012 – March 2016) by Research Councils UK (RCUK) under the Digital Economy Programme with the project reference EP/K003569/1.