Mahdi Ebrahim explains the “DIRECTOR” Map

With the rise of digitalization and fourth industrial revolution, businesses across different sectors are striving to getting on the fabled road to digital transformation. 44% of firms around the world have already started to develop digital technologies and capabilities and 32% have matured the digital transformation by scaling up new tools across their organizations’ products, services and processes, as well as acquiring talent and even generating new business models[1].

However, for many, it is still unclear where to begin their journey. In the past few years and through my numerous interactions with businesses in finance, telecom, energy, and manufacturing industries…


A few months ago, it may have seemed unimaginable that from one day to the next, you would not be allowed to go to work, travel, exercise, or see your friends and relatives anymore. Flash forward to today, and these are restrictions that many individuals around the globe have recently experienced. We are currently experiencing a new and unusual situation, that lends itself for reflection and scientific investigation.

Side-effects of stay-at-home orders

The consequences of the coronavirus COVID-19 on our society have not been limited to public health, as the outbreak has also affected several other aspects of people’s daily…


Augmented Reality (AR) has come a pretty long way from being a sci-fi concept in Star Wars movies to a technology-enabled and science-supported reality. The sharp drop in the cost of related technologies, such as cameras with depth-sensors, lenses for head-worn AR glasses, and graphic-chips in smartphones, has paved the way for the technology to accelerate from 0–100 in the last decade. Now, we are heading full steam ahead down the road to mass adoption; the question is just how many speed bumps we will experience along the way.

COVID19 has felt more like a multi-care pileup than a speed…


Although the hype around Artificial Intelligence may sometimes be misleading, it is fair to say that AI is capable of providing solutions to problems that otherwise we would be struggling to solve. This is true for applications such as natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, image recognition, cancer risk assessment, personalized recommendations among many others.

Due to the severity of the current public health crisis, there are ongoing efforts to use AI to help cope with COVID-19. Combined with epidemiological knowledge, AI is helping to track the spread of COVID-19. On the clinical side, there are new methods that use…


In virtual reality (VR), “embodiment” is the illusion of being within another body: a life-size virtual body substitutes our own from first-person perspective. While the Pinocchio and the rubber hand illusions respectively allow you to experience your nose much longer and a rubber hand as your own, embodiment enables you to experience a (virtual) body as being yours.

This uncanny experience is accomplished through VR by incorporating some important technical procedures. First, having your body scanned in order to accurately reproduce an avatar (i.e. a virtual representation) of your actual (physical) body. Then, wearing a head-mounted display (HMD) that immerses…


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Imagine someone asked you to download a software application that would track your location and share it with others to protect public health, would you be willing to use it? An intelligent guess would be that five months ago your response or at least the considerations that went into it would have been different from today. No doubt that protecting our data privacy, in general, and our health data privacy, in particular, is of significant importance to most of us…. OR is it!? When we use apps and wearable tracking devices to count steps, measure deep sleep, visualize our heartbeats…


The proliferation and prevalence of digital and social media platforms raises concerns about misuse or manipulation of information at levels that are harmful to society. We’ve seen this concern arise in almost every recent national election. Fueling this concern is the growth in fake news, both in text and graphical content, that we’ve seen in recent years. “Cybercascades” via social media networks can give a news story (fake or real) a reach that would have been undreamed of in the pre-digital era, but this only amplifies the dangers of fake news and “deepfakes”.

BISS researchers Dr. Yenisel Plasencia Calaña and…


In times of quarantine and social isolation, stock prices of leading video communication companies such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts are surging in response to the worldwide increase in usage. When physical contact has been reduced to an absolute minimum, visual communications surge to become more important than ever. Yet, video calls still fail to deliver the same feeling of physically being in a room with colleagues and family, and are often clumsy as participants talk simultaneously or misread non-verbal signals of other participants in the call.

A promising solution could be emerging virtual reality (VR) technology. Within VR…


Social Distancing measures mean spending a lot more time at home — a lot more time! There is a good chance this is making you (or someone like you — there is no judgment here) more sedentary and less physically active. Maintaining our physical and mental health requires that as much as possible we keep moving and exercising. This applies to everyone including kids, older adults, people with disabilities and those undergoing different forms of motor rehabilitation. Unfortunately, not many of us would describe exercising as fun and keeping up a fitness routine at home can be even more boring…


The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a global effect. It has forced almost all of us, no matter where or who, to cut off nearly all face-to-face social contact for the sake of preventing further spread of the novel Coronavirus. Since the middle of March, many activities and gestures, that only a few weeks ago appeared to us to be essential, have been abruptly interrupted — though thankfully many restrictions are now being lifted in European countries. Th restriction of the most common and widespread interactions, such as playful and cultural activities, but also and above all working relationships, caused…

BISS — Brightlands Institute for Smart Society

BISS is an interdisciplinary institute of Maastricht University (UM) supported by the province of Limburg in the Netherlands http://www.biss-institute.com

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