Elsa, a Smart virtual assistant for a specific age group of people

30th March 2022

SITIES, in fact a Greek acronym for the official title “Support System for the Elderly with Smart Devices”, is a research project that aims to offer autonomous living conditions and integrated health services to senior citizens. The main purpose of the project is to build a low-cost smart assistant that will support the Greek language and which can be procured by any old person. The assistant will be able to offer useful services in the form of smart applications (some of which will be downloaded dynamically as in smartphones), either independently or on demand.

Gnomon Informatics SA collaborate with Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in SITIES, a project that refers to the creation of a low cost smart assistant, targeted and adapted to the needs of older citizens. The assistant will support the execution of heterogeneous applications on-demand, will receive and execute the applications dynamically, while they in turn will be able to use online services. These services will be performed on the cloud (cloud web services) undertaking, computationally, more demanding procedures. The system will be framed by the appropriate programming and computing infrastructure, through which it will be possible to create and manage more easily new applications and network services by independent developers and companies.

The project, based on studies that show that the percentage of members in society belonging to the elderly is constantly increasing, in combination with the digital divide that separates them from the younger generations, attempts to facilitate the daily live of citizens of this age group and aims at their healthy, independent and productive living.

The main innovation of the proposed device lies in the fact that it will offer interaction, focused on older citizens, supporting inherently the Greek language, while it will be feasible and available at a low cost. The system will result from successive co-creation phases of operational requirements, in which technical members of the project, elderly care providers and end users will participate, so that the result is adapted to the needs of both the elderly and the public and private care providers in Greece.

The system is divided into two distinct entities: the web platform (Cloud Platform SITIES) and the smart device – personal assistant (ELSA – Elderly-friendly Smart Assistant). The platform will be implemented in the cloud and is expected to offer a range of services to private and / or public service providers to seniors and application developers.

Therefore, developers will be users of the online platform through which they will be provided with a number of useful tools that will facilitate the rapid prototyping and development of applications for smart devices. There are the two following categories:

• Service Developers who will develop services on the online platform

• Application Developers who will develop applications that will run on the smart device

SITIES system includes subsystems that will run in the cloud. The Cloud Platform SITIES has the following objectives:

• Provide tools with which developing and running web services by developers will be feasible

• Provide tools with which the creation, editing and save of the applications that will run on ELSA devices will be possible

• Provide access to a variety of open datasets and services

• Provide access to service providers for the elderly and to the configuration of the ELSA device

• Provide statistics for the developers’ applications and services

• Provide statistics on the use of the ELSA device for every senior citizen.

Use Cases

01.   Emergency intervention / help

The older person asks for help using a keyword (e.g. “help”) or the procedure is activated automatically (e.g. panic button)

02.   Current Situational Awareness

The system records the current condition of the elderly person (i.e. from motion sensor data at home) and can automatically notify an emergency contact in case his behavior deviates from the usual patterns

03.  Remote Patient Monitoring

Providing a comprehensive treatment plan to the elderly and monitoring them (i.e. pill reminder)

04.  Social networking

Using an existing social networking technology for communication by the elderly (i.e. Skype)

05.  Everyday life

Ordinary, simple tasks, usually in the form of providing information (i.e. weather information)

RASA framework was chosen for this implementation to be used because it supports multiple languages, and enables the creation of a conversational AI-based system. RASA contributes to implement all ELSA usage scenarios. Through Natural Language Understanding (NLU), it determines what the user wants and gathers crucial information from the context. Then, the next best answer or action is selected based on the chat history, and also the assistant gets connected to users and backend systems.

Interested in learning more?

Find out more information about this project here: https://sities-project.gr/en/ and do not hesitate contacting us!

Dr.Apostolia Karabatea
Project Manager
[email protected]

Discover more about Gnomon Informatics:

Gnomon Informatics S.A. is an innovative company headquartered in Thessaloniki, Greece. It provides solutions for patient empowerment and assisted independent living. 

History indicates a solid 25-year-old software engineering background, delivering important national & EU projects. 

GNOMON is the creator of eHealthPass, the patient centered platform that enables frictionless data flow across systems and clouds. Our company has the longstanding vision and inspiration to digitally transform healthcare, insurance and social care industries by unlocking the value of data and enabling the data economy. 

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