Next Generation Emergency Response Services

PARTICLE developed next generation security services for smart cities called AWARE Platform.  The AWARE Platform is a situational awareness tool for security practitioners, namely law enforcement agents, that provides an intuitive and comprehensive incident/crime management system, displaying georeferenced events, associated with multimedia data (photos, videos and text), that clearly identify the incident’s type, severity, location and time, as well as its status (open, closed, waiting for dispatch, dispatch sent). All reported incidents present a trustworthiness factor (verified vs. non-verified) to determine the degree of trust on the information source.

The AWARE Platform enables the dispatch of assistance and the monitoring of the response effort, as well as the dissemination of public alerts, through the interaction with the COP and SAFER Apps.

COP is a mobile application for police officers while in patrolling. It allows them to receive alerts and dispatch notifications and use the smartphone to easily view and acknowledge reported incidents on a map. It allows police officers to upload the incident report, including additional evidence, such as photos and videos, directly to the AWARE Platform. In addition, COP allows police officers to have a clear understanding of the overall incidence of events in a specific area. COP is key to enable the feed of street-level intelligence to the AWARE Platform.

SAFER is a mobile application for citizens to report incidents/crimes, using multi-channels such as messaging, images, video and automatic location. Upholding responsible citizenship, SAFER includes social functions, such as one-to-one (e.g., officer to citizen private message) and one-to-many (e.g., officer to citizens geo-cast message), thus supporting public alerting from public authorities on specific incidents.

PARTICLE’s advanced technologies and competences represent a breakthrough in how monitoring and forecasting platforms should evolve and bring next generation capabilities to be applied for the benefit of society.

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Enhanced Situational Awareness and Secure Ad-hoc Communications

PARTICLE developed a suite of Situations Awareness solutions for private and governmental applications. The solutions are fit for mobile units operating in security and emergency situations. The solution supports mobile devices, wearables (for monitoring activity and health status of professionals) and blue force tracking for enhanced communications and information exchange.

PARTICLE solutions can operate over cellular communications (e.g., 4G with secure end-to-end communications) benefiting from existing broadband technologies.  Alternatively, when existing infrastructures are damaged, not accessible or cannot be trusted, private communication ad-hoc networks can be used (provided by low-power, light and portable devices, supporting up to 2 km) .

PARTICLE platform is being demonstrated as part of the NATO group IST-150 (NATO Core Services profiling for Hybrid Tactical Networks), targeting security and defence applications.

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Crowdsourcing Tools in Case of Emergency

In case of emergency situations, it is critical to rapidly develop situational awareness.  In numerous past incidents, the use of crowdsourcing tools has proven useful in collecting field information, locating citizens in need and manage the incident.

PARTICLE is experience in deploying open-source crowdsourced platforms that allows:

  • Data collection from multiple sources: SME, email, twitter; send custom surveys.
  • Responders App:responders can use their mobile phones and have up-to-date information about incidents.
  • Citizens App: citizens (including volunteers) can use their mobile phones to request help and send updated information (messages, photos, …). They can receive public information including warnings, alerts and safety instructions.
  • Public Safety and Rescue organisations can visualise information in rich form, such as maps, datastreams and statistical reports (including charts).
  • Public Safety and Rescue organisations can access, filter and share information with their teams and other organisations.
  • Automated alerts can be configured to be received in Apps, SMS and emails.

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Mobile Presence Detection and Location

PARTICLE provides mobile phone detection capabilities using radio-frequency scanning on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces.  The system detects most consumer smartphones, tablets, laptops and handsfree devices available on the market.

The information read from each device contains: MAC address, signal strength (RSSI) and the Class of Device (CoD) allowing to differentiate the type of device (e.g., smartphone, handsfree, computer, LAN/network AP).

The coverage area can be modified by changing the power transmission of the radio interfaces, which can reach dozens of meters in reach (even in the presence of walls).

PARTICLE uses in-house developed algorithms to infer the devices locations based on RSSI and access points information.

The system includes a Wi-Fi access-point allowing access to specific services and portals.  For the purpose of emergency situations, PARTICLE is using this technology for:

  • Detecting the presence of citizens in affected areas.
  • Provide access to portals with emergency related information and communication services (e.g., video-calls, text messages, post pages, etc.).
  • Provide access to crowdsourcing tools (see Ushahidi).

PARTICLE system uses privacy-by-design principles:  it does not store or display a device’s MAC information (i.e., unique identifier of the device).  Instead, it generates internal own identifiers to the system operators.  The device owner can provide personal information when such is consented (i.e., when using PARTICLE access-point and services).

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Smart Connected Sensors and Environment Monitoring

PARTICLE is involved in the deployment of a high dense high-throughput sensor network constituted by hundreds of sensors in the region of Évora.  The network will monitor various parameters including environment (e.g., air quality, noise levels and weather) and surface motion.

The sensor network will be deployed across urban and rural environments to collect and integrate rich environmental data to establish sustainability frameworks. The network has the potential to early detect and identify precursor signals of potential environmental incidents (fire, floods, severe weather, pollutant leakage, air contamination).

Read the article here.