Monitoring technology adoption, use & attitudes​​


Digitization is fundamentally changing societies. The corona pandemic has further fuelled this process of digital acceleration, leading to a surge in the uptake of digital innovations such as digital authentication systems, remote working apps or food delivery systems.   Too many times, however, the introduction of a new technology is the result of a one-sided, technology-push process that not always adequately takes expectations and needs of end-users, consumers or citizens into account. This eventually leads to technology rejection or digital divides, leaving a significant portion of the population behind.  Understanding the impact of this integration of technology in our daily lives requires a consistent measurement of uptake, domestication and attitudes with regards to technology. This enables innovation strategies to be genuinely user-centric, meaning they adhere to understand what people want (needs), what people say (attitudes), what people do (behaviour) and what people feel (emotions) regarding digital technology.


It is imec-mict-UGent's mission to empower people in a digital society. One focus of research is to measure the digital transformation of society over a longer period. By collecting both self-reported and behavioural data, we systematically monitor evolutions and identify new trends in the digital society related to technology adoption and use, recognize digital divides and address emerging technology paradoxes. This allows to put new developments in a longer historical perspective and even helps to predict future evolutions. By keeping the pulse of people’s needs, attitudes, behaviour and emotions, we inform policymakers, companies and other stakeholders about how to guarantee the user-centric nature of their digital transformation strategies.   

In order to grasp (the impact of) this interplay of behavioural and attitudinal dimensions on a more fine-grained level, we continuously seek to go beyond the methodological state-of-the art for monitoring the interaction between technology people and society. Therefore we explore the interdisciplinary potential of complementing self-reporting with behavioural logging and psychophysiological measurements. In that context, we developed the MobileDNA app, an application that shows your smartphone usage.

Research pillars 

At imec-mict-UGent, we: 

  1. Develop and improve monitoring tools and scales for technology adoption, paradoxes and readiness; and gain insight in emerging dimensions of digital divide and literacy. 
  2. Develop innovative research methods to measure what people want, what people do, what people say and what people feel. This includes new ways of collecting empirical data and tapping into the potential of combining subjective self-reporting with behavioural logging (e.g. computational social sciences, logging tools as Mobile DNA). 
  3. Gain in-depth knowledge and publish periodical reports (e.g. Digimeter, AI Barometer, Solid Barometer) about people’s adoption, use and attitudes regarding digital technology and monitor their evolution over time. 
  4. Act as a dashboard of digital society and inform companies, public institutions and governments about how to make digital transformation strategies user-centric or citizen-proof.