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Internet of Things (IoT) envisages a world of connected devices paired with automation systems that aid everyone in their daily activities and communities at large. One of the most prominent use cases of IoT is emergency services. Based on the lessons learned from the tragic Grenfell Tower incident in the UK, we designed an IoT framework that aims at supporting rescue services to quickly locate and identify victims in an event of an emergency by using a range of heterogeneous smart systems. Based on the framework design, a prototype is developed using an RFID access control and a drone system. We also incorporate design specifications that minimize the risk of data and privacy breaches.
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A Multi-Modal Framework for Future Emergency Systems
1st Ahmed Osama Basil
Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology
University of Northampton
Northampton, United Kingdom
2nd Mu Mu
Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology
University of Northampton
Northampton, United Kingdom
3rd Michael Opoku Agyeman
Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology
University of Northampton
Northampton, United Kingdom
Abstract—Internet of Things (IoT) envisages a world of con-
nected devices paired with automation systems that aid everyone
in their daily activities and communities at large. One of the
most prominent use cases of IoT is emergency services. Based on
the lessons learned from the tragic Grenfell Tower incident in
the UK, we designed an IoT framework that aims at supporting
rescue services to quickly locate and identify victims in an event
of emergency by using a range of heterogeneous smart systems.
Based on the framework design, a prototype is developed using
a RFID access control and a drone system. We also incorporate
design specifications that minimise the risk of data and privacy
The world of Internet of Things (IoT) has shown increasing
impact on our lives and societies. In the past few years,
we have seen continuous advancement on the technological
development of IoT devices while home automation and
security services gain their popularity in business premises
and households. Although there are many security applications
and components available on the market, they are often not
designed to coordinate when facing emergency situations.
This greatly reduces the overall performance of the system
as a whole [1]. In this paper, we introduce a framework
with an enterprise emergency system prototype example where
multiple crucial security systems are closely coupled under
the same framework so heterogeneous elements can work
The inspiration for this project came from the recent Gren-
fell Tower fire, a terrible accident took place on the 14th of
June 2017 in the United Kingdom. The event was one of the
worst tragedies with 71 deaths and over 70 injuries due to a
fire outbreak in a residential apartment building [2]. One of
the main issues identified is that the emergency service did
not have sufficient information on the location of residents
trapped inside the building. Thus there is a need to create an
emergency system that is aware of how many people are in
the building and how many people left the building, where
the people who are still in the building can be located easily
which will result in a faster arrival of the emergency team to
the trapped individuals to save their lives.
The event motivates an idea of a possible combination of
connected devices that can be orchestrated in a unique way
to contribute in rescue services. In case of a natural disaster
or large case human error disaster this will prove useful in
its ability to calculate,locate and identify. The top 4 ways
that Technology saves lives around the world are emergency
medical equipment, vital signs monitors, electronic medical
records, and medication management systems. Emergency sys-
tems should also be adequately equipped to have the capability
to reach the people in need with the shortest possible time.
Our multi-modal framework harnesses the advantages of
multiple smart systems and coordinate different parts of such
a compound system to identify the number and the locations
of victims in a building complex. This system also factors in
privacy considerations and can only be accessed by the admin
and used by the emergency service for locating purposes. The
current prototype of the system employs Arduino Uno, RFID-
RC522, database management systems via multiple develop-
ment frameworks.
Requirements of Engineering includes in-depth testing of
current attendance and security software that currently exists
in the market with their positives and negatives. REPLICON
[3] systems and Rave Alert [4] will be discussed and compared
to our developed solution due to their popularity and positive
The main goal of this investigation is to study and monitor
a real-life live attendance system, and view their security and
emergency features if applicable. In the main interface for the
REPLICON attendance system, it was realised that in regards
to Time Consumption, REPLICON raises a flag. The process
of the user signing-in and signing-out is time consuming.
The idea of using the RFID will speed the process greatly.
Thus, having the needed data in the fastest time. Looking at
the possibility of Human Error, in the REPLICON system,
almost everything is automated however admins are required
to approve actions and edit employees’ tasks and activities.
Not to forget that they have the ability to Delete registered
users, due to human error this can present an issue when an
emergency rises.
Rave Alert systems was researched thoroughly, the system
has a lot of positive customer feedback due to its ability
to connect the right emergency service to the needed party.
The software mainly notifies the customers about the weather
changes, and current emergency at the installed location. It is
a great automated service however, after investigation, many
customers complain about losing data after configuring their
settings, meaning the data can be edited/manipulated easily,
which is why our system must have solid data that is saved
into the database without the ability of manipulating it because
it only targets emergency markets. Another disadvantage is
the fact that Customers are only notified about the emergency
related event [4]. A full emergency system will be more
efficient as a combination of sensors and IoT devices where it
can do multiple things at the same time, which was a target for
the developed modal and the example system that is presented
in Section IV. The system will have the ability to also find the
individuals in the emergency.
In Figure 1, the framework diagram describes a graphical
user-interface flow of data for an admin monitored sys-
tem where an administrator requests information that were
recorded by the sensors in the hardware systems through a
private network (ex. local-host) [5]. At this stage, the software
must authenticate the admin and register the request. The next
step is to manage the displayed requested data, this data was
the result of the recording done by the sensors which is sent
to the control panel/access control section of the software for
monitoring people in a certain area. The last stage is the
Admin’s action weather it is to notify users in case of an
emergency or simply get a copy of the data for emergency
services to locate trapped individuals within a floor. The
Fig. 1. Framework Structure
framework targets a couple of things at the same time, those
being the combination of sensors and their uses to manipulated
data and system fluency for the aid of saving lives. As shown
in Figure 1 the framework has a graphical user interface for
admin purposes and sensor manipulation. The fact that this
framework supports multiple sensors and IoT devices makes
it a ”Plug and Play” (PnP) [6] system which is a framework
that supports devices as they are plugged and connected for
their own purpose and reasons. The data from the database
is saved and shared between all plugged devices making it
easier for the admin or the programmer to manipulate those
data according to the required outcome. This framework is
necessary to have and use due to its major flexibility and
private network advantages, data safety and multiple field
The support of different systems working together is usually
difficult however with the current advancements in technology
we have the necessary tools to use for this framework. It was
an objective for the development of this modal to make it flexi-
ble for new devices, programming languages and applications.
The modal suggests a unique and simple approach for data
gathering and its privacy. The Prototype system example of the
modal in Section IV shows how multiple devices and sensors
are used in the same system, mainly making 2 programming
languages speak to each other requesting and manipulating
As an example of the framework, a demonstration system
was created to show the importance and functionality of the
framework. We use a use case of search and rescue mission
in a building. We envisage a smart building system that
capitalizes on it’s RFID access control system to provide an
overview of how many people are on each floor or area of
the building. However, the data from RFID system may only
have the precision at the floor level therefore it will not help
pinpointing victims in exact locations for the rescue team.
With the help of a multi-modal system, we are able to use
the RFID data to narrow down the search range (per floor)
and pass the data on to a drone to locate victims. This design
greatly increases the feasibility of a drone-based search and
rescue, so that drones can priorities floors or areas with a
higher probability of victim congregation (as observed from
the Grenfell Tower incident).
Typical hardware boards and tools are needed to provide
an example of the proposed framework, and they include;
Arduino Uno Board, for its IO features, network capabilities
and its feasibility software wise. RFID RC522; Great Printed
Circuit Board for reading RFID data and writing it along with
its compatibility with the Arduino, Bread board, Relay shield.
Software used in the development include 1) Arduino IDE,
for programming Arduino boards, 2) Database connection
(MySQL) to the Arduino, 3) Eclipse for GUI functionalities
interface, and 4) Site development tools.
A MySQL database was used in this project, with its main
source of input of data being the RFID – RC522 board/PCB
which is connected to an Arduino Uno. For the Arduino Uno,
the classic Arduino IDE was used. Figure 2 shows a BON
Diagram of the Web interface that was developed. This web
interface’s purpose is to show a live version of data to a private
We use assembly language to get information from the
computer’s serial port to a Graphical User Interface. Therefore
we decided to use a recently created compiler/library called
Processing; an open source language/development tool for
writing programs in other computers and environments [7].
Quite useful when we wanted to communicate with an Arduino
to display or save some data collected by the board. The
Processing library has helped us show what the modal suggests
about using different devices and languages together, it helped
us make successful communications and requests for data and
port values from C language to java and PHP interfaces.
In addition a web page was created (local network) for
Fig. 2. A BON Diagram of the web interface
remote view (view only) of system findings and data (location
of trapped individuals). A flowchart of the Graphical User-
Interface that recorded the RFID information coming from the
Arduino System is presented in Figure 3.
Fig. 3. Flowchart of a GUI
Most security attendance systems are equipped with the
ability to be controlled via WIFI. However the convenience of
WIFI control also leads to security risks. We present an emer-
gency attendance monitoring system framework completely
free of the use and manipulation of any GSM Module. This
benefit also in removing all manual attendance security checks.
The GUI is used by the admin to register new employees
(in this scenario) and record taping in and out with the RFID
in every floor; the information will be presented live on the
web interface viewed by the admin along with time in and out
from the area/floor [8]. Thus this system is area/floor focused
only, therefore in case of an emergency additional components
and sensors can be added to the hardware systems to show
more accuracy on location. A drone was thought off to be
an additional add-on to the system which can be implemented
to make finding targets faster, Flight Controller Libraries were
used to configure the flight of drone consisting of an F3 6DOF
Controller mother Board; this was chosen due to the ability
to process flight related codes and equations much smoother
than Arduino and its much lighter. The drone uses a Lipo
battery and can last up-to 15 minutes (currently) in air, a
video camera was attached to the drone, broadcasting to a
Virtual Reality Headset with a radio receiver. This drone was
designed for emergency services to be used to get to the floor
that was shown on the emergency system, and find the trapped
individuals with their conditions, which will result in a faster
and more effective rescue mission. That was a demonstration
system of the framework proposed with a drone add-on.
A picture of the system hardware’s main Arduino is shown
in Figure 4, containing an Arduino, Ethernet-shield, and Relay
shield connected to a breadboard which is connected to the
RFID. Notice the relay shield which is presented in the system
in case more IoT devices would be added to the overall
emergency system.
Fig. 4. Arduino with Relay Board
This section highlights the performance aspects of the
system which is a critical aspect to discuss. There are many
requirements that are strictly related to performance such as
the usability of the system, the reliability of the solution
to save lives, technical limitations and capacities, and most
importantly, security and speed. In-terms of speed of operation,
it takes less than a second to Sign in using the registered
RFID. Less than 60 Seconds to register a new card, and a
simple online login interface to check the data of registered
users. Should not take the admin more than 60 seconds to
view the attendance of all users in case of emergency. Taking
Usability and Accessibility into consideration, the software
must be user-friendly and easily operated by all target-users.
The program does not require much user attention. The user
must sign in, that’s their main task. If they would like to view
their attendance then they must login using their email and
password from a local host portal if provided by the admin.
Quite a simple interface to deal with, the layout and colours
are vibrate and can be viewed with comfort by colour blinded
users. Finally the security of the system should be discussed.
One of the most important aspects in a project and a company
is the security of the system and the protection of user data. In
this case, most of the information is manually placed by the
employer, and the RFID card will be registered to only one
user, once they sign in their information is called from the
users’ database. The network is also considered, the author
chose to make it a private network system so that incase of
SQL injection, the hijacker will be limited and must get to the
physical controlling device to successfully gain access to the
user information.
To fully evaluate the system, the hardware and software
where tested by us using two testing mechanisms. The pro-
grammer has a collection of tests and improvement points
compiled by those test runs, which aided the programmer
developing the best possible solution and outcomes that can
make the system secure and effective.
The target audience are the emergency organizations such as
the fire department or any disaster related emergency service
that is trying to find all people in an enterprise building. We
collected data and analyzed the functionality of the design
by testing the range and durability of the attendance system.
Computer related feedback is important in this project where
the developer tested the system virtually before running any
field tests.
We implemented the base of the proposed framework on
an example RFID system with typical sensors. As suggested
the framework can be used to combine sensors and interfaces
to show better results in IoT environments. In addition to the
shown example of the RFID and the drone, a link between the
two system, can show more data fluency and generate accurate
live data for admins in the process of using the drone.
The combination of IoT automation technology, RFID,
databases and management interfaces based on the proposed
framework, can improve the efficiency of emergency services.
As the framework design is not limited to specific technolo-
gies, we’ll continue explore the integration and synergy of
additional smart systems.
This work is supported by UK Research and Innovation
(UKRI) under EPSRC Grant EP/P033202/1 (SDCN).
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... All the following will be researched, tested and constructed in-order to develop a useful P4 plug and play test-bed. [1,2,3,4,5,6]. ...
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If we talk about the current scenario of our education system than we found that we have lot of technologies to use but still we are following the traditional system. We if we talk about the attendance system in universities and schools, lecturers did that work manually. Lecturers took the attendance and update it manually in the database. If we talk about the technology than we found that there are lot of tools to use and reduce the burden of lectures. Using RFID is the one example of that. We if combine the RFID and IOT (Internet of Things) than we can do it automatically and there is no need to do it by lectures. Here we are planning to use the Cloud as storage for better performance. Using IOT and Cloud we can access it from anywhere and anytime which will provide us the better proficiency and flexibility.
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The mistakes that may have led to the grenfell tower blaze
  • A Griffin
A. Griffin, "The mistakes that may have led to the grenfell tower blaze.," The Independent. Available at:, 2017.
employee time tracking software
  • R Team
R. Team, "employee time tracking software," Replicon, 2019.