An Introduction to China Mobile's IoT Based Ambient Assisted Living(AAL) & How the System Works
Low birth rates and higher life expectancy are transforming the composition of the world population, with a marked transition towards a much older population structure. The average age growing of the urban population, with an increasing number of 65+ citizens, is calling for the cities to provide global services specifically geared to elderly people. In this context, collecting data from the elderly's environment and his/her habits and making them available in a structured way to third parties for analysis, is the first step towards the realization of innovative user-centric services. IoT technological advancements lead to smart objects being capable of identifying, locating, sensing and connecting and thus leading to new forms of communication between people and things and things themselves.
China mobile and its partners have delivered an IoT based Ambient Assisted Living(AAL) or Homecare system which aims to help the elderly residents especially living alone in communities. It can alert users of potential health risks, such as the increased risk of falling, the possibility of dehydration and other health conditions. Early detection of such risks is a proactive way to prevent more serious complications. Prevention is better than recovery. How this AAL homecare system works will be discussed next.
China Mobile Corp. is the leading telecommunications services provider in Mainland China. More details about this famous corporation can be found on its official website. As the Internet of Things (IoT) is the logical further development of today’s Internet, China mobile has got involved in IoT services development. China Mobile provides IoT data services in the AAL system, allowing data sampled from various sensors be sent to internet or cloud platforms.
AAL System Description
Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) encompasses technical systems to support elderly people and people with special needs in their daily routine. The main goal of AAL is to maintain and foster the autonomy of those people and, thus, to increase safety in their lifestyle and in their home environment. The fields of needs for elderly people in AAL or Homecare applications include Health, Safety/Security, Mobility and environmental parameters, etc.
An AAL or homecare scenario is characterized by being connected, context-sensitive, personal, adaptive and anticipative. The IoT is supposed to be capable of providing all characteristics necessary for an ambient assisted environment. With respect to the fields of needs for elderly people, it is possible to accomplish all fields through the IoT. The monitoring of chronic illnesses (health), on-demand provision with fresh food (safety), alarming systems (security), reminder services (peace of mind) and enabling people-to-people communication for instance with relatives (social contact) without recognizing the technology behind it are just a few mentionable applications of AAL through the IoT.
Figure 1. The IoT AAL system
The China Mobile AAL system architecture is illustrated in Figure 1. The elderly people live in their homes, which are equipped with smart devices/sensors. The data acquainted by the sensors/devices are transported to the AAL data center through an IoT ZigBee/Z-Wave gateway for further processing. The processed data can be accessed by a mobile App., and regional health information platform. Thereby, the connection enables communication to the treating physician for the monitoring of chronic illnesses and adaptations of medication and to relatives or mobile caregivers concerning their social and personal needs. The App offers a clear overview of loved ones’ daily activities. It also recognizes the individual’s daily patterns and only sends an alarm when necessary. As a result, relatives or friends are not troubled by false alarms. Then this system allows elderly people to feel safe in their home.
Dusun Products Used
Dusun IoT edge computing gateway powered by Zigbee3.0/Z-Wave
Support most connectivity types. Dusun’s gateways can connect LPWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth(BLE), and Zigbee, NB-IoT devices.
Support most connectivity IoT protocols. Dusun’s gateways support most standard internet connectivity protocols including COAP, MQQT, LMW2M, etc.
Management capability. Dusun gateways have the ability to provision, update and control access of connected devices.
Security measures. Dusun’s IoT gateways take many known measures to counter communication and physical attacks. They support common encryption algorithms, hash algorithms, authentication ways.
Edge computing power. The Dusun gateways have edge computing capability.
Dusun IoT smart home sensors powered by Zigbee3.0
China Mobile AAL System Real Scenario
The China Mobile AAL system has started tried in some communities in Hangzhou, China. Figure 2 shows the real scenario that the system is applied. Figure 3 is the regional health information platform which can be used to manage and check user information. Figure 4 is the mobile App for the system which can be used by the old people or their relatives to check the sensors data reported and then analyzed by the system.
(a) The aged and door sensor
(b) system monitoring
Figure 2 AAL system real scene
Figure 3 Regional health information platform software
Figure 4 Mobile App info
Why Dusun Products
IoT gateways sit at the intersection of IoT systems -connected devices, controllers and sensors - and the cloud or platform. It plays an important role in the AAL system. Dusun’s IoT gateways have the following products functionality and advantage:
Great ZigBee/Z-Wave performance. Great ZigBee/Z-Wave performance makes it suitable for connecting many ZigBee or Z-Wave smart home sensors. A ZigBee 3.0 or Z-Wave certification scheme ensures the interoperability of products from different manufacturers.
Programmable and good chip-level support. Dusun smart gateways are programmable and SDKs and APIs are provided which can be used to let customers make their programs to control the data transfer procedure and use their security mechanism. The programmable ability lets China mobile and its partners embed Dusun’s gateway easily. Dusun provides chip-level technical support for their application.
High quality and low cost. Dusun has a great design team and product manufacturing team. Dusun design and manufacture the gateways with high quality all by their own.
Dusun has developed IoT smart home sensors for more than 6 years. These sensors suit the needs for the AAL system. Besides, the smart home sensors support the following features:
Stability, reliable and very low power. The sensors can work without the system crashing for at least 1 year. The sensors consume very low power（<24uAH per day）.
Support ZigBee 3.0. The sensors use ZigBee 3.0 technique to suit for China Mobile needs.
Cost-effective and good performance. Dusun designs and manufactures the sensors with high quality all by their own which lowers the sensors’ price.