Tackling IoT challenges through an innovative use of connected technologies

Eyehub is one of eight IoT Ecosystem Demonstrators co-funded by the UK's Technology Strategy Board.  Eyehub's technology has the capability of creating a safer and more secure environment for people whilst enabling future smart city services and products.  The technlogy is a combination of Flexeye's software and data hub services in combination with Eseye's hardware. Both ManagePlaces and the University of Surrey have utilised the sensor data and the cloud platform which is integrated with the hub to realise mobile applications to demonstrate some of the fundamental capabilities of the IoT.  Furthermore, Eyehub enables third party developers to write applications that use sensor data and control devices using standard REST APIs.   It also enables integration with HyperCat, an open machine-readable catalogue format for discovering IoT resources.  The Eyehub consortium invites developers of sensors or applications to have access to the hub's functionality and to help develop meaningful applications for people everywhere.

A key outcome of this project was the development of the MyGuardian mobile application.  This application was developed as a means to utilise the University of Surrey's campus as an IoT ecosystem 'proving grounds'.  The app can be used by staff and students to provide them with a means to improve their safety as they travel across campus or to offsite University-owned destinations, day or night. The underlying concept of the app is the generation of information-rich notifications in situations where risks to safety may arise as an individual travels.  This is accomplished by informing predetermined trustees in a timely manner so that appropriate actions can be taken to mitigate a particular risk.  Notifications can be generated via explicit user requests, or implicitly triggered by IoT technologies which may detect a problematic situation (i.e. the application user has not arrived at their intended destination in a predetermined time). Depending on the situation, the notifications generated by the application are delivered to a trustee who is chosen by the user prior to embarking on their trip. Trustees can be ‘guardian angels’ – trusted persons explicitly nominated by a user or perhaps members of the University's Security Department. Based upon the notification generated, additional actions may be triggered such as a call back to the user from the trustee, for example.

The MyGuardian application suite consists of two distinct service components:

  • A safety button.  This button can be invoked from the user’s mobile phone in situations where the application user feels threatened or frightened. This button triggers an alarm immediately to the trustee. Optionally it can establish a direct call to the trustee from the user so that more information about the situation can be obtained. 
  • A timer-based check-out/check-in service.  Prior to embarking on their trip, the user identifies the destination s/he is travelling to and sets this in the application.  The user then ‘checks out’ of their current location using their mobile phone to scan a QR code/NFC tag placard placed at the entrances of various University buildings, or by using their current GPS coordinates. The user then begins travelling toward their destination. If the user fails to check in within a predetermined time, an instant notification is passed to their chosen trustee. The application has been fitted with a ‘snooze’ button which will allow the user to delay a notification being generated if the user is delayed from reaching their destination due to innocuous causes (e.g. the user stops to speak with a friend who happens to be passing by).  This button will therefore minimise false alerts being generated. The service may also be used to record a user’s travel path so that if s/he fails to arrive at their destination and their trustee is unable to contact him/her, their last known location can be used to help locate him/her.

The Android version of the MyGuardian application was developed by the University’s Centre for Communications Systems Research with the iOS version developed by ManagePlaces Ltd. with backend server support provided by Flexeye Ltd., the consortium leaders.  

Another key component of the trial infrastructure is the ‘Touchpoint’ QR Code/NFC tag placard.  These placardshave been installed throughout the University’s main campus and also at the surrounding student accommodation properties. More than five hundred of these placards have been installed.  The purpose of these placards is to facilitate the check-in/check-out process for the app user.  The user uses the application to either scan the QR code (available for both Android and iOS phones) or the NFC tag (most Android phones).  These tags have been encoded with their location information so that the application can readily identify the user’s location.  Thus the user simply has to scan the tag before starting their trip and then again when the destination is reached.


The University also contributed to another IoT use case, which it helped to develop, the CityGuardian.  This application aims to provide users, such as the Guildford Borough Council, a stakeholder in the consortium, with information about noise generated in a city landscape.  This information will allow these key stakeholders to better understand and ultimately act upon the noise-related issues within and around the town centre.


Official Website:


Start Date: 1 April 2013
End Date: 31 March 2014

For more information, please contact:

Dr Bill Headley

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