The Program

The Project



This project aims at developing an integrated system of passive-active security (in the form of software and with the possibility of its implementation in hardware), for crowds’ early warning and effective guidance to safe places and/or exits, in case of emergency evacuation after fire in a vital for the crowd area.

In other words, it is a system for monitoring progress assessment and early warning. Moreover, its use is intended to upgrade existing, pre-installed in the surrounding area, fire safety systems and to transform them into active critical management tools, in order to avoid loss of control. Proposed application’s trait is its adaptability to new environments with appropriate configuration, without the need to replace the existing infrastructure or to decommission it.

Fires, either indoors or outdoors, appear suddenly whilst their evolution varies depending on weather conditions, hazardous gas or liquid presence and general environmental and topographic conditions. The presence of people and/or animals adds to the overall dangerous situation. Thus, moving them to a safe distance is absolutely necessary.

As obvious, a dynamic environment, where two distinct phenomena happen at the same time, is formed: a) fire evolution and b) crowd movement. In such circumstances, the possibility of extensive losses in people, animals and material is extremely high, leading to significant long-lasting social and economic consequences.

Macroscopically, the proposed application simulates the two phenomena as a single system consisting of two distinct but coupled entities that evolve in parallel. Computing tools for modeling, of either discrete or continuous space, such as the Cellular Automata (C.A.) for example, can be suitable as a two-phenomena common operating modeling platform.

Modeling platform choice is based on criteria related to the difficulties associated with the two-systems’ high levels of complexity effective treatment. This is translated into demanding use of computing resources such as processing power, memory and energy. As evidenced in international literature, C.A. can be used to model complex and demanding natural systems in physics, chemistry, biology, artificial intelligence, computer science, etc.

Monitoring system’s basic structure, the two parallel phenomena evolution assessment and the early warning can be powered and initialized by sensor networks for instance. Data collection can be done from an existing network of heterogeneous groups of sensors, each of which can follow a different operating methodology (i.e. different type of sensors in the forest, different type on streets).

Received data proper evaluation is crucial for system’s correct response. Consequently, it is necessary to improve received information which describes the phenomena. Its improvement can be achieved by combining various data forms into an accurate, continuous and useful representation, incorporating data fusion techniques into the system. In this case, as data is received from a sensors’ network, we are talking about information synthesis from sensors (sensor fusion).

To sum up, proposed application’s basic philosophy is to produce results, as user independent as possible, in order to make its operation less vulnerable to the always undefined human factor and therefore more reliable.


Investment Objectives

The goal of this investment is cost’s rapid amortization and profit acquisition; financial and social. According to economic criteria, investors’ goal is to produce and commercially exploit a management system of preventive, either indoors or outdoors, emergencies with a strong human presence.

The prospect of preventing or mitigating disasters that may involve ecological, material, or human losses is a strong emotional motivator using social criteria. At the same time, it is a very strong economic incentive at all levels; individual, local, regional and national. Proposed investment’s prospect of success is therefore very positive, both in terms of its social and economic impact in every way.

At the same time, according to academic criteria, the aim of the investment is to promote research in the field of studying crowd movement and fire spreading thread, as well as to promote innovative systems which will further use produced knowledge and, therefore, create a fertile ground for the future exploitation of the proposed systems in the context of smart city R&D.

The study of such multifactorial systems (crowd, spread of fire) is a cutting-edge research field. The design of the overall receiving data and information management system and the possibility of its implementation into hardware, aims in accelerating its response and reducing its energy requirements; parameters which are very important in the field of Electronics.


Expected results

Proposal’s objectives and therefore expected results are: to achieve the development of an integrated application of preventive and timely emergency management, which will receive and process data from a pre-installed, but also easily expandable network of electronic sensors (but not only) and will dynamically initialize and activate a simulation model, which will be able to estimate for the very near future, almost in real time, fire evolution and crowd’s movement.

As such, the proposed application will be unique in Greece! A potential activation of active and passive security system which will push ZARIFOPOULOS SA expertise even further. ZARIFOPOULOS SA has many years of experience and a variety of passive security applications in this field.

The objective of this proposal is its application in case of fire, in order to prevent congestion during spaces’ mass evacuation and to assess the course of fire by taking into account both static and dynamic parameters, such as spatial elements (e.g. crowd distribution, space configuration, flammable materials location), environmental (e.g. simultaneous manifestation of other emergencies such as earthquake, high temperatures), and also psychological elements, especially when it comes to the crowd itself.

Data collection is done by an expandable network of heterogeneous groups of sensors, which incorporates data fusion techniques, in order for reliable to the system data flow to be achieved, to ensure, this way, system’s reliable response. To sum up, proposed application’s basic philosophy is to manage data and produce information, as independently from the user as possible, in order to make system’s operation more robust and less vulnerable to the always undefined human factor.

The application is an (auxiliary) emergency management mechanism. There are three main components of this management mechanism: a) emergency assessment, so that risk level can be understood in time (e.g. the prospects of fire spread and/or the occurrence of crowd congestion, crowd density identification, above which it is considered a congestion, and/or rate of fire spread) b) the process of identifying a series of instant response measures such as alternative crowd flow routes and alternative reinforcing fire extinguishing spots, so that the risk is manageable and c) the decision to implement the most appropriate and/or the total of the identified alternative actions, in order to reduce the risk (fire spread and/or crowd congestion).

The proposed system will form the basis for the development of an integrated system capable of decision-making and automated management, with application to a variety of buildings with a large number of permanent staying and visiting people, such as schools, hospitals, universities, nursing homes, shopping malls, entertainment venues and in general, facilities and large spaces which seasonally host in their premises, a large number of people and require the study, supply, installation and operation of a sufficient number of suitable electronic hardware, mainly sensors and related electronic devices.

Expected results include:

  • Studied buildings and infrastructures’ active and passive safety increase
  • Studied buildings and infrastructures’ existing active safety electronic equipment evaluation and study with appropriate pioneering computer tools
  • Computational study tool for appropriate electronic material development proposals, involving sensors and related electronic devices, in newly-built buildings and infrastructure to address the aforementioned phenomena
  • Creating the infrastructure needed for the development of a fully integrated automated system of timely forecasting and real-time decision making when it comes to fire protection and people safety inside buildings and gathering places.

Finally, the implementation of the proposal leads to the creation of four (4) new researchers’ job slots in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace and specifically in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace, in the city of Xanthi.

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