The “ProximAid” smart phone application developed by researchers at the KIOS Research Center for Intelligent Systems and Networks has been tagged as communication technology that can change the world. The technology ProximAid was ranked among the top 9 projects from a total of 50 submitted to the IEEE ComSoc International Student Competition “Communications Technology Changing the World”. Konstandinos Koumidis, a researcher at KIOS and a post-graduate student at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Cyprus, has received an honorary mention in the 2015 IEEE ComSoc Student Competition for his work on ProximAid.
ProximAid is an innovative smart phone application capable of operating without a connection to a network infrastructure. It enables communication between a network of mobile phones without them being dependent on existing telecommunication provider networks. The app is currently implemented on Android devices that support Wi-Fi Direct functionality to enable multimedia exchange (i.e., text, pictures, and video) directly between devices.
The ProximAid technology is especially useful in emergency response situations. For example survivors can communicate with the right partners for help. Users of the phones can send messages or photos to call for help or any other information they need to convey. Specifically, an ad-hoc network is created in which intelligent algorithms are utilized to convey information, while at the same time trying to minimize the battery usage of the devices by selectively forwarding messages only to some of those devices. The system can also be a useful tool for first response services such as the police departments, civil defence and fire services, who can operate the system to organize and coordinate their responses quickly and effectively.
ProximAid can serve as a vital communication tool in areas where communications infrastructure is affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, or man-made disasters such as wars.
The Open Source Technology “ProximAid” is available for download from the Google Play Store: here. The app has been developed by Konstandinos under the supervision of research associate Dr. Panayiotis Kolios and Associate Prof. Christos Panayiotou. The team has also been awarded the best paper award at the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Disaster Management (ICT-DM 2015) and the first place at the Cyprus Digital Championship 2015 contest.