RESPOND-A introduces a unique five-tier project architectural structure for best associating modern telecommunications technology with novel practices for First Responders of saving lives, while safeguarding themselves, more effectively and efficiently. The introduced architecture includes Perception, Network, Processing, Comprehension, and User Interface layers, which can be flexibly elaborated to support multiple levels and types of customization, so as, the intended technologies and practices can adapt to any European Environment Agency (EEA)-type disaster scenario. The interrelation of the architectural layers is illustrated below.
RESPOND-A five-tier architectural structure
Identify the monitoring data sources and collect the multi-disciplinary information that arrive in real-time from the safety and biometric sensors in the vests of First Responders, the environmental sensors, the localisation sensors for the personnel, as well, data inputs from sensors placed on UAVs and tactical robots. Video streaming from 360o cameras, thermal cameras and AR devices takes place also in this layer.
Collect and process the data transmitted from the Network layer towards (i) removing redundant data to avoid network overload, (ii) aggregating large amounts of information to foster the Situational Awareness and COP quickly with the aid of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), (iii) fusing and comparing the runtime information with patterns of previous incidents to discerned statistical trends for Early Warning, (iv) formulating path planning schemes for optimal UAVs/robots positioning with respect to Responders’ locations, (v) articulating information for recording knowledge of emergency events and response activities, including Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Geographic Information System (GIS) databases.
Transfer and process the data gathered from Perception layer towards enabling (i) the Responders and Command Centres connectivity via 5G portable telecommunications system with dynamically adjustable UAVs/drones network coverage umbrella, and (ii) ultra-reliable mission-critical services via real-time sharing of uninterruptable video flows and data-rich multimedia content formed to be projected by any kind of devices, e.g., from Responders’ personal smartphones, tablets, laptops, to specialised AR glasses and 3D projectors.
Integrate all collected/transferred/ aggregated/processed information into a common ICT wireless system infrastructure to create the precise Situational Awareness and COP. All the intended applications and services of RESPOND-A are included in this layer, such as (i) the Command and Control Centre, (ii) AR module for overlaying real-time video streams with augmented data, (iii) medical support system, and (iv) Early Warning.
User interface Layer
Deliver the Situational Awareness COP in most coherent and easiest manner through dedicated mobile applications, user-friendly web applications and easy-to-use AR/haptic devices assisted by interactive processes, like gesture and context recognition. The intended interfaces will be dedicated (i) either to Command and Control
During the preparation of RESPOND-A proposal, some of our First Responder Partners expressed the need for an information management system that could boost existing emergency response tools, while some others envisioned a complete end-to-end network management system that would offer high Situational Awareness, Early Warning and Risk Mitigation capabilities. The intuition behind these needs and visions sits on the long-term experience of these Responders, as well, their smoldering worry that the evolving threat of climate change and the consequences of industrial accidents will become more frequent and severe.