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Case Study

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Making use of collective knowledge

Software Mind SA was a technological leader in the European project WeKnowIt

Internet is a medium of immediate information exchange. Every day, it features hundreds of news reports about tragedies, calls for help and announcements about missing people. This information, although up-to-date, is often incomplete, unverified and sometimes even untrue, and therefore cannot be used by specialised emergency services.

The WeKnowIt project is about making use of collective knowledge. Collective Intelligence is conceived in the process of cooperation between many groups or individuals. For that purpose, innovative technologies will be developed to make it possible to analyse data from different sources (phone, voice, video, text). Their combination will make it possible to develop new information management services and extract information both for end users and organisations. For example, the solution can be used to send automatic SMS notifications to people staying in areas threatened by upcoming flood wave or ordering immediate evacuation.

Benefits of the solution

The idea of the project is to make use of the intelligence eyewitnesses of events have to define the size of threat, using information which is often transmitted by many news channels at the same time. With the IT system, information contained in SMS texts, MMS messages with photos or videos made with mobile phones, blog posts and messages posted on social networking sites, photographs posted in online galleries or information transmitted in a phone talk with emergency services will help carry out activities aimed at solving crisis situations and resulting threats.

Project scope

All information is analysed by specialised software:

  • Element one: picture analysis, recognizing buildings in photographs, concluding that the building in the photo is on fire (for example)

  • Element two: text analysis and monitoring of information coming up on the internet

  • Element three: voice analysis of phone conversations

  • Element four: video recording analysis

  • Element five: pinpointing location where the emergency situation has taken place

Information becomes verified when it has been confirmed by multiple independent sources or one source considered reliable. The potential behind this project is that it is based on the analysis of information that can be supplied through many different communication channels and many people at any time.

Project results

Two solutions will be developed as part of the WeKnowIt project to demonstrate possible applications of the developed techniques and tools: Emergency Response Process and Social Consumer Groups.

Emergency response process

Emergency response process, as part of which ordinary people (system users) are able to report threats they have noticed using a variety of means of communication (e-mail, mobile devices, SMS, websites). The system will automatically analyse and classify the reported signals. For instance, automatic speech recognition process will extract names of endangered streets and places from telephone conversations. Similarly,+ photographs which have been sent-in, can be analysed and classified as pictures of e.g. one and the same building on fire made from different locations. Automatic classification of such data will make it possible to control the mass of information incoming in an emergency situation and provide appropriate services with aggregated and complete data free of informational hype. The objective of the system is both to streamline the work of emergency services and provide information services to individuals affected by emergency situation (eg. information about available escape routes, nearest hospitals etc.) This solution will be implemented, among other places, in the city of Sheffield which is one of the participants of the WeKnowIt project.

Social consumer groups

Solution to be used to publish information concerning one social group (such as throwing a party) and make it possible to obtain extra meta-information from different sources and group discussions. The objective is to make use of collective intelligence for private, commercial and public benefit purposes.

Software Mind role

Software Mind is responsible for developing the architecture of the entire system which is of key importance to the success of the project:

  • Designing the system on all levels, including development of ontology and collective intelligence tools.

  • Implementation of proof of concepts and end solutions with tests and implementation at the consortium level. Integration of websites developed by partners (backend).

  • Development and implementation of knowledge base (ie. a hybrid storage for all kinds of data: semantic, object and multimedia-related).

  • Participation in implementation of the front end layer. Maintenance of the developer environment (repository of code and artefacts, continuous integration server, bugtracker).

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