Associated Vendor: Virtech S.r.l.

About Virtech S.r.l.

Virtech S.r.l. is a young and innovative IT company in Italy, always committed to better exploit the full potential of its know-how in IT Research towards the development of innovative solutions based on emerging technologies (like Augmented Reality and Mobile), which can make its customers gain competitive edge and outperform theirs competitors. The last business directions of the company include the support to the SMEs, helping them leveraging the new technologies, but also the development of new solutions for the environmental monitoring and the independent living.

Motivation for Partnership

We recently developed an emergency response system based on the cloud (for the service itself) and using any wearable or portable connected devices (as triggers for alarms and emergency calls). Our main goal is to reach a high level of interoperability and to keep the product open and ready to be integrated in the leading AAL ecosystems with a European scope.

UniversAALization Plan

Products

iHelp

is a complete emergency platform which enables a user to launch alarms or requests for help when he/she is in a dangerous situation or facing a problem or an accident. The requests can be triggered using a smartphone or any wearable device and are transformed in telephone calls to emergency services or friends and relatives.

The system can be observed as a cloud service ready to be used by any connected devices, able to start and hold natural language telephone calls, translating requests and responses to voice and signals during the all conversation (TextToSpeech and SpeechToText), providing continuous feedback to the originating caller/user.

The current implementation makes use an app for Android and iOS smartphones, taking advantage of the user friendliness of the devices, able to present an immediate interface, good also for elder or impaired people, of the GPS sensor, of the internet connection or the ability to send and receive SMS.

The user simply press a big button, the communication begins and goes on without needing any other interaction but presenting back all the conversation generated. The helper get to know the details of the situation and can provide feedback and reassure that the problem is going to be solved.

There is no need of call centres or any operators in between and any destination can be reached through the traditional telephone lines.

The implementation using a smartphone is the one we already developed because it offers a very complete idea of the possibilities, but the system has been designed not to rely on the capabilities of the smartphone itself in any of the crucial functionalities: it is incidentally both the trigger of the alarm and the destination of the feedback but these can be addressed from and to any devices or systems available.

In other words, the heart of the system is the server component, which is ready to start telephone calls once simple, standard text messages are received through the Internet. Also the feedbacks are new simple standard text messages that the server can send to any available connected devices or other systems.

The universAALization of the product will be done in two ways:

  • our solution will be integrated in the Puglia Pilot, that already includes two components, Security at Home and Home Activity Monitoring. The resulting system will greatly extend its performances thanks to the iHelp integration.
  • the iHelp Engine will be one of the endpoints for the Coordinator system, able to generate voice calls towards emergency services or friends/relatives as a consequence of triggers coming from the sensors and governed by the rest of the system;

As an example, when a Smoke Sensor detects the presence of any smoke in the room, the Coordinator captures an alarm and an EmergencyCall Service is requested to the iHelp Gateway, which forwards the request to the Virtech Server (using a short text in an SMS message or over the network if Internet is available).

The iHelp Gateway component is registered on the service bus and is ready to be used by the uAAL ecosystem. It is a Front End to the Virtech iHelp system which enables any uAAL environment to Virtech’s voice Emergency Call service.

The iHelp Engine in the Virtech Server will be greatly enriched by becoming part of the uAAL environment, being now able to generate “enhanced” alarms, taking advantage of any other connected signalling devices and receiving more information from universAAL about the cause of the problem.

From the other side, the uAAL ecosystem will receive a rich feedback during the calls and at the end of them with new commands and useful information. These will be used to raise appropriate events in the Context Bus to be received by any subscribed devices, such as visual or audio alarms.

iCam

iCam is another product which can be derived from part of the same infrastructure but provides a different service. It makes use of IP Cams, which can send the video, coming from the room, to a smartphone App, able to show the incoming video to the user in case of an event coming from the sensors network.

For example, in case of a movement detected by a Proximity Sensor, the signal captured by the Coordinator is used to request a VideoCall Service to the iCam Gateway and to trigger an actuator to switch on the right Cam in the house.

A message will then be sent to the iCam Engine and this will request, through a push notification, the start of video streaming to be consumed through smartphones or the Web.

Our current product is able to manage video streams from many cams and to forward them to the user of the iCam client. The client (smartphone or web) fully communicates with our Server and is able to receive and use push notifications to control the user output.

This product will be useful for the uAAL ecosystem as far as it provides the best possible visions for any generated alarms.

Using the universAAL Middleware API

General approach

Using universAAL runtime with the Java-OSGi API of the middleware

Usage of middleware buses

Context bus (for publishing events and / or subscribing to events)

Service bus (for calling and / or providing services)

Additional middleware features planned to be used

☒ Logging mechanisms

Serialization and parsing API (currently only for RDF Turtle syntax)

Using universAAL “Manager” components (platform services)

Context History Entrepôt services (querying data gathered in the home)

Situation Reasoner services (the SR can store SPARQL CONSTRUCT-queries as rules to automatically generate new context events whenever certain conditions hold; this can be used to recognize situations; e.g., if you want that a context event is published whenever the user is sleeping, a solution could be to tell the SR to publish this event whenever in the night the user is in the sleeping room in the bed and the lights are off)