WO2017029656A1 - Systems and methods for detecting a missing group member - Google Patents

Systems and methods for detecting a missing group member Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2017029656A1
WO2017029656A1 PCT/IL2016/050871 IL2016050871W WO2017029656A1 WO 2017029656 A1 WO2017029656 A1 WO 2017029656A1 IL 2016050871 W IL2016050871 W IL 2016050871W WO 2017029656 A1 WO2017029656 A1 WO 2017029656A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
members
counting
transmitters
computer program
missing
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IL2016/050871
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Daniel Hatzav
Original Assignee
Daniel Hatzav
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to IL24067815 priority Critical
Priority to IL240678 priority
Application filed by Daniel Hatzav filed Critical Daniel Hatzav
Publication of WO2017029656A1 publication Critical patent/WO2017029656A1/en

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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/18Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which the network application is adapted for the location of the user terminal
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L29/00Arrangements, apparatus, circuits or systems, not covered by a single one of groups H04L1/00 - H04L27/00
    • H04L29/02Communication control; Communication processing
    • H04L29/06Communication control; Communication processing characterised by a protocol
    • H04L29/08Transmission control procedure, e.g. data link level control procedure
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/16Service discovery or service management, e.g. service location protocol [SLP] or Web services
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/22Tracking the activity of the user
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • H04W4/023Services making use of location information using mutual or relative location information between multiple location based services [LBS] targets or of distance thresholds
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • H04W4/029Location-based management or tracking services
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/06Selective distribution of broadcast services, e.g. multimedia broadcast multicast service [MBMS]; Services to user groups; One-way selective calling services
    • H04W4/08User group management
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/80Services using short range communication, e.g. near-field communication [NFC], radio-frequency identification [RFID] or low energy communication

Abstract

A group-members-counting system for monitoring and detecting the number of present members of a predefined group of individual members participating in a prolonged event. The system includes a computerized master mobile device and a multiplicity of transmitters, wherein each of the transmitters is configured to transmit a unique identifying signal, and wherein each of the transmitters is configured to be in non- paired communication with the computerized master mobile device. The computerized master mobile device includes a communication receiving unit, having a preconfigured reception range and a computer program product embodied. The computer program product operates the communication receiving unit to read each of the unique identifying signals, to thereby determine which transmitters are present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit, and thereby determine if and which of the transmitters are not present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit.

Description

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETECTING A MISSING
GROUP MEMBER
FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to systems and methods for detecting a missing group member, and more particularly, a monitoring system for detecting, within a preconfigured distance range, a preconfigured number of transmitting tag devices, each typically coupled with a living being.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It is often a problem to count all members of a group, for example, in groups larger than 10 people at a gathering area, and in particular in groups of tens of people and more. Such groups of people may include tour participants, school children being in class or outside the school, a group of soldiers, etc. Some prior art solutions include using a GPS device that is coupled with the group member and enables to geographically locate that member. Another system utilizes transceivers, in particular RF transceivers, which have a limited battery life span.
The use of Bluetooth (BT) in short range (tens of meters and even more) communication systems has become widely used. However, typically, a first BT device is paired with a second BT device, wherein both devices are used as transceivers, each being both a transmitter and a receiver. As such a BT standard allows pairing of a single BT device with up to 8 other BT devices.
There is therefore a need and it would be advantageous to have a monitoring system for detecting a preconfigured number of transmitting-only tag devices, including BT based systems that are not limited in monitoring up to 8 other BT devices.
There is a further need and it would be advantageous to have a monitoring system for detecting a preconfigured number of transmitting-only tag devices, situated within a preconfigure distance range from the monitoring mobile device, wherein each tag device is typically coupled with a living being and preferably having a life span of more than a year. Furthermore, it would be advantageous to have a monitoring system for monitoring multiple groups from a control center. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The principle intentions of the present invention include providing a monitoring system for detecting a preconfigured number of transmitting-only tag devices, respectively associated with a group of individuals, and situated within a preconfigured distance range from a mobile monitoring device, wherein each tag device is typically coupled with a living being and preferably having a life span of more than a year. A further aspect of the present invention includes providing a monitoring system for monitoring multiple groups from a control center.
It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide a monitoring system for detecting a preconfigured number of transmitting only tag devices, including BT based systems that are not limited in monitoring up to 8 other BT devices. In order to do so, a non-paired communication is established. In a non-paired communication, a first BT device continuously transmits a signal, for example an identity signal, but is not configured and/or open to receive any transmittals from another device, including a device that received the transmitted signal. A second BT device is configured to listen to transmittals from other BT devices, but is not necessarily configured to respond to devices from which a transmittal was received.
This document references terms that are used consistently or interchangeably herein. These terms, including variations thereof, are as follows. A "computer" includes machines, computers and computing or computer systems
(for example, physically separate locations or devices), servers, computer and computerized devices, processors, processing systems, computing cores (for example, shared devices), and similar systems, workstations, modules and combinations of the aforementioned. The aforementioned "computer" may be in various types, such as a personal computer (e.g., laptop, desktop, tablet computer), or any type of computing device, including mobile devices that can be readily transported from one location to another location (e.g., smartphone, personal digital assistant (PDA), phablets, mobile telephone or cellular telephone).
A server is typically a remote computer or remote computer system, or computer program therein, in accordance with the "computer" defined above, that is accessible over a communications medium, such as a communications network or other computer network, including the Internet. A "server" provides services to, or performs functions for, other computer programs (and their users), in the same or other computers. A server may also include a virtual machine, a software based on emulation of a computer.
An "application", includes executable software, and optionally, any graphical user interfaces (GUI), through which certain functionalities may be implemented. According to the teachings of the present invention, there is provided a group- members-counting system for monitoring and detecting the number of present members of a predefined group of individual members participating in a prolonged event. The system includes a computerized master mobile device and a multiplicity of transmitters, wherein each of the transmitters is configured to transmit a unique identifying signal, and wherein each of the transmitters is configured to be in non-paired communication with the computerized master mobile device. The computerized master mobile device includes a communication receiving unit, having a preconfigured reception range, a data repository unit, being a non-transitory computer readable medium, and a computer program product embodied in the data repository unit.
Each of the transmitters is coupled with a respective individual member of the group, wherein each coupling of a transmitter with a respective individual member of the group is enlisted by the computer program product. Furthermore, each of the transmitters is configured to be in direct communication flow with the computerized master mobile device. That is, no external network mediates the communication between each of the transmitters and the computerized master mobile device.
The computer program product operates the communication receiving unit to read each of the unique identifying signals, to thereby determine which transmitters are present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit, and thereby determine if and which of the transmitters are not present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit. Upon determining that at least one of the
transmitters is not present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit, providing identifying data of the missing group member associated with the at least one of the transmitters that is not present within the reception range of the communication receiving unit. The identifying data of the missing group member is provided to the operator of the master mobile device and/or to a remote site. The identifying data may also include identifying data of other members of the group, which may be provided regardless of whether any individual member of the group is missing. Preferably, the computer program product is configured to predefine the group members' identity and the transmitter that is coupled with each the individual members of the group.
Preferably, the computer program product is configured to count the
transmitters that are activated and within the reception range of the communication receiving unit of the computerized master mobile device. The computerized master mobile device may further include a display, wherein the computer program product is configured to display the counting results on the display.
Optionally, at least one of the transmitters is a BT transmitter. Preferably, at least one of the BT transmitters is a BLE transmitter.
Optionally, the transmitters are RF transmitters.
Optionally, the master mobile device further includes an image acquisition device, wherein the computer program product is configured to activate the image acquisition device to thereby acquire an image frame of at least one of the individual members of the group and add the acquired image frame to the identifying data associated with the respective individual member of the group.
Optionally, the preceding claims further includes a transceiver configured to receive the unique identifying signals and transmit the received unique identifying signals to the master mobile device. Optionally, the master mobile device, being a leading master mobile device, is configured to communicate over a cellular network with at least one other master mobile devices, wherein each of the other master mobile devices monitors and counts their respective group members individually and transmit the individual identifying data of the missing group member, if any, to the leading master mobile device over the cellular network.
Optionally, at least one individual identifying data of the missing group member is transmitted to a remote server over the cellular network.
Optionally, the transmitters are also configured to read incoming signals and are arranged to intercommunicate in a mash network. Optionally, the group-members-counting system further includes a first level remote server, wherein the first level remote server is configured to communicate with the master mobile device, and wherein the first level remote server is configured to receive the identifying data of the at least one missing group member from the master mobile device.
Optionally, the group-members-counting system further includes an N level remote server, wherein the N level remote server is configured to communicate with at least one (N-l) level remote server and receive the identifying data of the at least one missing group member from the at least one (N-l) level remote server.
According to further teachings of the present invention, there is provided a group-members-counting method for monitoring and counting the members of a prearranged group participating in a prolonged event. The method includes the following steps: a. Providing a group-members-counting system described here above. b. Performing pre-event activity, including the following off-line steps: i. Enlisting the group members. ii. Coupling a transmitter to each of the group members. c. Activating the computer program product. d. Reading signals transmitted within the range of the communication receiving unit. e. Identifying each the transmitters by the computer program product, using the unique identifying signals. f. Counting of the identified transmitters by the computer program product. g. Comparing the number of the identified transmitters with the total number of the transmitters coupled with all of the group members, by the computer program product. h. If the number of the identified transmitters is less than the total number of the transmitters coupled with all of the group members, the method proceeds with the following steps: i. By the computer program product, identifying the group members associated with the missing transmitters; ii. Display identifying data of the missing group members; and iii. Go to step (d).
It is an aspect of the present invention to provide a group-members-counting method for monitoring and counting the members of a pre-arranged group participating in a prolonged event. The method includes the following steps: a. Providing a group-members-counting system described here above. b. Performing pre-event activity, including the following off-line steps: i. Enlisting the group members. ii. Coupling a transmitter to each of the group members. c. Activating the computer program product. d. Identifying each the transmitters by the computer program product, using the unique identifying signals. e. Identifying the group members associated with said identified transmitters, by the computer program product. f. Counting of the identified group members by the computer program product. g. Comparing the number of the identified group members with the listed group members as enlisted in said pre-event activity, by the computer program product. h. If the number of the identified group members is less than the total number of listed group members, the method proceeds with the following steps: i. Identifying the missing group members by the computer program product. ii. Display identifying data of the missing group members; and iii. Go to step (d).
Optionally, the pre-event activity further includes the off-line steps of: iii. Acquiring an image of at least one group member; and iv. Associating the acquired image with the at least one group member.
Optionally, the group-members-counting methods described here above further includes the steps of: a. Providing a group-members-counting system, including at least one remote server as described here above. h. If the number of the identified group members is less than the total number of the listed group members, the method proceeds with the following steps: i. By the computer program product, identifying the missing group members. ii. Display identifying data of the missing group members. iii. Transmitting the identifying data of the missing group members to the first level remote server. iv. Go to step (d).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention will become fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings, which are given by way of illustration and example only and thus not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:
Fig. 1 is a general schematic block diagram illustration of the components of a group- members-counting system, according to embodiments of the present invention, typically activated when the group members are situated within a preconfigured distance range from a monitoring mobile device.
Fig. 2 schematically shows an example transmittal layout of the tags of a group- members-counting system with respect to master mobile device group-members- counting system, as shown in Fig. 1, having multiple tag devices monitored by a mobile phone using, for example, BT (BLE) technologies including BLE technologies.
Fig. 3 shows a schematic flowchart diagram of a group-members-counting method, according to some embodiments of the present invention. Fig. 4 depicts a map of an example track, including marked preset gathering points, at which a group-members-counting system is activated for counting the group members.
Fig. 5 shows a schematic flowchart diagram of a remote-group-members-counting method for simultaneously serving multiple groups of members, according to embodiments of the present invention.
Fig. 6 is a general schematic block diagram of a group-members-counting system, according to variations of the present invention, having multiple tag devices monitored by a mobile phone coupled to operate with a transceiver tag using BT (BLE) technologies including BLE technologies.
Fig. 7a is a general schematic block diagram of a multi-groups-members-counting system, wherein a master mobile phone that is coupled to operate with a multiplicity of transmitting-only tag using BT BLE technologies, monitors multiple group-members- counting systems, as in Fig 2.
Fig. 7b is a general schematic block diagram of a multi-groups-members-counting system, wherein a master mobile phone that is coupled to operate with a transceiver tag using BT BLE technologies, monitors multiple group-members-counting systems, as in Fig 6.
Fig. 8 is a general schematic block diagram of a group-members-counting system, according to variations of the present invention, having multiple transceiver tag devices, intercommunicating in a mesh network and monitored by a mobile phone using, for example, BT technologies.
Fig. 9 is a general schematic block diagram of multiple group-members-counting systems, as in Fig. 2, Fig. 6. Fig. 7a or Fig. 7b, interconnected via the Internet, according to variations of the present invention, being monitored in real time by a control center.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which the preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided, so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. An embodiment is an example or implementation of the inventions. The various appearances of "one embodiment," "an embodiment" or "some embodiments" do not necessarily all refer to the same embodiments. Although various features of the invention may be described in the context of a single embodiment, the features may also be provided separately or in any suitable combination. Conversely, although the invention may be described herein in the context of separate embodiments for clarity, the invention may also be implemented in a single embodiment.
Reference in the specification to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", "some embodiments" or "other embodiments" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least one embodiment, but not necessarily in all embodiments, of the inventions. It is understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is not to be construed as limiting and are for descriptive purposes only.
Methods of the present invention may be implemented by performing or completing manually, automatically, or a combination thereof, selected steps or tasks. The order of performing some methods step may vary. The descriptions, examples, methods and materials presented in the claims and the specification are not to be construed as limiting but rather as illustrative only.
Meanings of technical and scientific terms used herein are to be commonly understood, unless otherwise defined. The present invention can be implemented for testing or practice with methods and materials equivalent or similar to those described herein.
As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art, aspects of the present invention may be embodied as a system, method or computer program product. Accordingly, aspects of the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.) or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects that may all generally be referred to herein as a "circuit," "module" or "system." Furthermore, aspects of the present invention may take the form of a computer program product embodied in one or more non-transitory computer readable (storage) medium(s) having computer readable program code embodied thereon.
Throughout this document, numerous textual and graphical references are made to trademarks, and domain names. These trademarks and domain names are the property of their respective owners, and are referenced only for explanation purposes herein. Reference is now made to the drawings. Fig. 1 is a general schematic block diagram illustration of the components of a group-members-counting system 100, according to embodiments of the present invention. Group-members-counting system 100 includes a master mobile device 110 that includes a processing unit 112, a member counting application 113, operable by processing unit 112, and a data repository unit 114.
Group-members-counting system 100 may be used by a responsible person 25 that supervises a group of members 20, each coupled with a unique BLE tag device 150 having a transmitter 160 that transmits a unique identifying signal. Responsible person 25 operates master mobile device 110 configured to operate as a computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions (i.e. application 113) stored in the data repository unit 114. Master mobile device 110 further includes communication receiving unit 116 configured to read the multiplicity of the unique identifying signals transmitted by each of the transmitters 160 that are individually coupled with each of the group members 20.
Each of the transmitters 160 is configured to be in a direct device-to-device communication flow with communication receiving unit 116. That is, no external network, such as Wi-Fi, GPRS, etc., or external systems/devices such as satellites and external transceivers, are used to mediate in the communication between a transmitter 160 and communication receiving unit 116. Preferably, with no limitations, transmitters 160 are Bluetooth Low Energy
(BLE) transmitters, and the invention will be described hereon as using BLE transmitters. However, the present invention is not limited to use BLE transmitters and any other transmitters may be used instead or in addition to the BLE transmitters, including other types of BT transmitters, RF transmitters, and BLE + RF transmitters. Furthermore, GPS may also be used, including with BLE and/or RF and/or other BT.
It should be noted that although a transmitter 160 is part of a BLE tag device 150, a non-paired communication is established between transmitter 160 and communication receiving unit 116. That is, when activated, transmitter 160 transmits regardless of a receiving unit 116 being in its transmitting range, as no pairing is established between transmitter 160 and a communication receiving unit 116. This allows a communication receiving unit 116 to receive signals from an unlimited number of transmitters 160 and is therefore not limited in monitoring just up to 8 BT BLE tag device 150 as are prior art Bluetooth devices. Reference is also made to Fig. 2, schematically showing an example transmittal layout of the tags 160 of a group-members-counting system 100, with respect to master mobile device 110. It should be noted that a group of members 20 may include any number of members 20, as long as transmitter 160i of a tag device 150i is within the range 111 of receiving unit 116 of master mobile device 110.
When a group of members 20 is assembled, master mobile device 110 is operated to enter in the form of computer-executable instructions to thereby store each group member 20i coupled with a unique tag device 150i assigned to that user. Master mobile device 110 being typically, with no limitations, a smart mobile phone, has an image acquisition device integrated therein. Therefore, an image frame reflecting group member 20i, may be acquired and associated with the record of group member 20i. Thereby, enabling the responsible person 25 to visually recognize group member 20i.
Typically, responsible person 25 performs counting of the group members 20 at preset geographical location. Reference is now also made to Fig. 3, showing a schematic flowchart diagram of a group-members-counting method 200, according to some embodiments of the present invention. Upon activation of member counting application 113, typically by responsible person 25, responsible person 25 then initiates (Step 201) a new group. Group-members-counting method 200 then proceeds as follows:
Step 210: creating a detailed list of the group members.
Responsible person 25 creates a new group and enters all the group members 20 to that group via member counting application 113.
Optionally, a photo of one or more group members 20 is associated with the respective group members 20 record, wherein the photo may be acquired by the camera of the master mobile device 110.
Step 220: Coupling each member with a unique transmitting tag.
Responsible person 25 associates a unique transmitter 160, transmitting a uniquely identifiable signal, with each entered group member 20, wherein that unique transmitter 160 is coupled to operate, and thereby identify, with group member 20.
Step 230: activating monitoring state.
Responsible person 25 switches member counting application 113 into a monitoring state, typically, at a gathering location. Step 240: counting the tags.
At a gathering location, member counting application 113 counts all signals received from all transmitters 160, via communication receiving unit 116, that are within the reception range but are in a non-paired communication flow with receiving unit 116. Each signal identifies the particular group member 20 associated with the signal source transmitter 160.
Step 245: checking if a tag is missing.
Member counting application 113 checks if any group member 20 is missing.
If no group member 20 is missing, displaying the counting results and, optionally, other pre-selected available data, related to the missing member, and go to step
240
Step 250: displaying present/missing report.
Typically, the number of the present and/or missing group members 20 are displayed. Optionally, displaying the counting results and other pre-selected available data, related to both or either present and missing member.
Step 260: identifying any missing member associated with the respective missing tag.
Member counting application 113 identifies any of the missing members associated with each respective missing tag 150.
Optionally, the photo of each missing group member 20 is also displayed. Step 270: displaying missing members' info.
Typically, the identified missing group members 20 is displayed as well.
Optionally, the photo of each missing group members 20 is displayed as well.
Step 275: checking if to continue monitoring.
Member counting application 113 checks if responsible persons 25 wants to continue and monitor for missing group members.
If determined that responsible persons 25 wants to terminate the monitoring process, then Exit.
Else, it is determined that responsible persons 25 wants to continue and monitor for missing group members, go to step 245. (end of group-members-counting method 200) Referring back to Fig. 1, group-members-counting system 100 may further include a first level remote server 120, according to embodiments of the present invention. Group-members-counting system 100 may further include a second level remote server 130, a third level remote server and so on N levels remote servers, wherein each such remote server (120, 130, etc.) monitors the servers reporting to it, down to the respective responsible persons 25 and down to the respective group of members 20.
First level remote server 120 is configured to monitor one or more responsible persons 25, each of which supervises a group of members 20. Second level remote server 130 is configured to monitor one or more first level remote servers 120, each of which is configured to monitor one or more responsible persons 25, each of which supervises a group of members 20. Similarly, a third level remote server 130 is configured to monitor one or more second level remote servers 130, and so on and so forth.
Example
In one example for utilizing group-members-counting system 100, group members 20 consist of a group of pupils 20e of a particular first class of a first school that are on a trip outside the school premises. The group of pupils 20e is led by a responsible person 25, being for example the first class master 25e. The group of pupils 20e is on a trip taking route 90 to Tiberius, as outlined in Fig. 4. The route is subdivided into segments, whereas at the end of each segment a gathering point (92, 94, 96 or 98) is preset, in which group-members-counting system 100 is activated and the pupils 20e are counted to verify that all of the pupils are present at each of the gathering points (92, 94, 96 and 98).
A first level remote server 120 may be set at a control room of the first school, wherein the counting results, as measured at each gathering point (92, 94, 96 and 98) is transmitted to the control room of the first school. Should more than one class be outside the school premises, such counting results may be transmitted to the control room of the first school by each of the respective responsible persons 25 in parallel and independently.
A second level remote server 130 may be set at a control room of a first educational district that is responsible for the first school, wherein the counting results, as measured at each gathering point (92, 94, 96 and 98) is transmitted from the control room of the first school to the control room of the first educational district. Similarly, first educational district may monitor all school under its jurisdiction. Similarly, a third level remote server may be set at a state level, to monitor all educational districts in the state. Similarly, a fourth level remote server may be set at a federal level, to monitor all educational states.
Reference is now made to Fig. 5, showing a schematic flowchart diagram of a remote-group-members-counting method 300 for serving multiple groups of members 20 simultaneously, according to embodiments of the present invention. Each group of members 20 is monitored by its responsible person 25, as outlined in method 200. Remote-group-members-counting method 300 then proceeds as follows:
Step 310: transmitting results to a remote server.
Responsible person 25 transmits counting results, at each gathering point, to a first level remote server 120.
Step 320: analyzing received results from at least one master mobile device.
First level remote server 120 analyzes the results received from each responsible person 25 to see if any of the group members 20 is missing. Step 330: displaying results in a preconfigured remote display.
First level remote server 120 displays the analysis results in a preconfigured display unit and/or printing form or any other output means.
(end of group-members-counting method 300)
Reference is also made to Fig. 6, showing a general schematic block diagram of an example group-members-counting system 400, according to variations of the present invention, having multiple tag devices 160 monitored by master mobile device 110 coupled to operate with a transceiver tag 162 with BT technologies. This takes advantage of the ability of tags to inter-communicate, and thereby substantially broadening the range 111 of receiving unit 116 of master mobile device 110, as well as reduce dependency on the wide variety of mobile devices in the marketplace, in particular smartphones, phablets and tablets.
Reference is also made to Fig. 7a, showing a general schematic block diagram of a multi-groups-members-counting system 500, wherein a leading master mobile phone 510a, that is coupled to operate with a multiplicity of transmitting-only tags 150 using for example BT technologies, such as BT BLE, monitors multiple group-members- counting systems 100. Each master mobile phone llOi of a group-members-counting system lOOi, counts the members of its group that are within its reception range 111, independently, as does master mobile device 110 of group-members-counting system 100. Similarly, leading master mobile phone 510 counts the members of its own group. Leading master mobile device 510 includes a processing unit 512, a member counting application 513, operable by processing unit 512, a data repository unit 514 and communication receiving unit 516.
Member counting application 513 is further configured to monitor multiple group-members-counting systems 100, wherein each master mobile phone llOi is configured to transmit the members counting results to leading master mobile device 510 via a cellular network 170 and communication receiving unit 516. Each master mobile phone llOi can use cellular technologies such as cellular antennas 70 to transmit the counting data to leading master mobile device 510. Member counting application 513 then analyzes the received counting data to determine if any members of any of the groups is missing.
Each master mobile phone llOi may also use cellular technologies such as cellular antennas 70 to transmit the counting data to remote receiving entities such as first level remote server 120, a second level remote server 130 and other servers. When using multi-groups-members-counting system 500, a remote server may obtain the data from one or more master mobile devices 110. Optionally, one or more master mobile devices 110 may collect counting data from other master mobile devices 110 over the cellular network. This enables to cover areas that are not fully covered by the local cellular network.
Reference is also made to Fig. 7b, showing a general schematic block diagram of a multi-groups-members-counting system 501, wherein a leading master mobile phone 510, that is coupled to operate with a transceiver tag 152 using for example BT technologies, monitors multiple group-members-counting systems 400. Each master mobile phone 410i of group-members-counting systems 400i, counts the members of its group that are within the reception range 511 of transceiver tag 152, independently, as does master mobile device 110 of group-members-counting system 400. Similarly, leading master mobile phone 510 counts the members of its own group. Leading master mobile device 510 includes a processing unit 512, a member counting application 513, operable by processing unit 512, a data repository unit 514 and communication receiving unit 516.
Member counting application 513 is further configured to monitor multiple group-members-counting systems 400, wherein each master mobile phone 410i is configured to transmit the members counting results to leading master mobile device 510 via a cellular network 170 and communication receiving unit 516. Each master mobile phone 410i can use cellular technologies such as cellular antennas 70 to transmit the counting data to leading master mobile device 510. Member counting application 513 then analyzes the received counting data to determine if any members of any of the groups is missing.
Each master mobile phone 410i may also use cellular technologies such as cellular antennas 70 to transmit the counting data to remote receiving entities such as first level remote server 120, a second level remote server 130 and other servers. When using multi-groups-members-counting system 500, a remote server may obtain the data from one or more master mobile devices 110. Optionally, one or more master mobile devices 110 may collect counting data from other master mobile devices 110 over the cellular network. This enables to cover areas that are not fully covered by the local cellular network.
In variations of the present invention, RF tags are used instead of BT tags. In variation of the present invention mesh networking is used to broaden the receiving range of master mobile devices 110. Fig. 8 illustrates a general schematic block diagram of a group-members-counting system 600, according to variations of the present invention, having multiple transceiver tag devices 162, intercommunicating in a mesh network and monitored by a mobile phone 110 using, for example, BT technologies. In another variation of the present invention, Fig. 9 illustrates a general schematic block diagram of a broad remote system 700 composed of multiple group-members- counting systems 100, as in Fig. 2, interconnected via the Internet network 50, according to variations of the present invention, being monitored in real time by a control center such as first level remote server 120, a second level remote server 130 and other servers. Although the present invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment and examples thereof, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the details thereof. Various substitutions and modifications have been suggested in the foregoing description, and others will occur to those of ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, all such substitutions and modifications are intended to be embraced within the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A group-members-counting system for monitoring and detecting the number of present members of a predefined group of individual members participating in a prolonged event, the system comprising:
a. a computerized master mobile device, including:
i. a communication receiving unit having a preconfigured reception range; and ii. a data repository unit, being a non-transitory computer readable medium; and iii. a computer program product embodied in said data repository unit;
and
b. a multiplicity of transmitters,
wherein each said transmitters is coupled with a respective individual member of the group; wherein each of said transmitters is configured to be in non-paired communication with said computerized master mobile device;
wherein each coupling of said transmitters with said respective individual members of the group is enlisted by said computer program product;
wherein each of said transmitters is configured to transmit a unique identifying signal;
wherein said computer program product operates said communication receiving unit to read each said unique identifying signals, to thereby determine which said transmitters are present within said preconfigured reception range, and thereby determine if and which said transmitters are not present within said preconfigured reception range; and
upon determining that at least one of said transmitters is not present within said preconfigured reception range, providing identifying data of the missing group member associated with said at least one said transmitter that is not present within said preconfigured reception range.
2. The group-members-counting system of claim 1, wherein said computer program product is configured to predefine the group members' identity and said transmitter that is coupled with each said individual member of the group.
3. The group-members-counting system of claim 2, wherein said computer program product is configured to count said transmitters that are activated and present within said preconfigured reception range from said computerized master mobile device.
4. The group-members-counting system of claim 3, wherein said computerized master mobile device further includes a display, and wherein said computer program product is configured to display the counting results on said display.
5. The group-members-counting system of claim 1, wherein at least one of said transmitters is a BT transmitter.
6. The group-members-counting system of claim 5, wherein at least one said BT transmitters is a BLE transmitter.
7. The group-members-counting system of claim 1, wherein said transmitters are RF transmitters.
8. The group-members-counting system of claim 1, wherein said master mobile device further includes an image acquisition device and wherein said computer program product is configured to activate said image acquisition device to thereby acquire an image frame of at least one individual member of the group and add said acquired image frame to the identifying data associated with said individual member of the group.
9. The group-members-counting system of any one of the preceding claims further comprising a transceiver configured to receive said unique identifying signals and transmit said received unique identifying signals to said master mobile device.
10. The group-members-counting system of any one of claims 1-9, wherein said master mobile device, being a leading master mobile device, is configured to communicate over a cellular network with at least one other said master mobile device, and wherein each said other master mobile devices monitors and counts their respective group members individually and transmit the individual identifying data of the missing group member, if any, to said leading master mobile device over the cellular network.
11. The group-members-counting system of any one of claims 1-10, wherein at least one individual identifying data of the missing group member is transmitted to a remote server over the cellular network.
12. The group-members-counting system of any one of claims 1-11, wherein said transmitters are also configured to read incoming signals and are arranged to intercommunicate in a mash network.
13. The group-members-counting system of any one of claims 1-12 further comprising a first level remote server, wherein said first level remote server is configured to communicate with said master mobile device, and wherein said first level remote server is configured to receive said identifying data of said at least one missing group member from said master mobile device.
14. The group-members-counting system of any one of claims 1-13 further comprising an N level remote server, wherein said N level remote server is configured to communicate with at least one N-l) level remote server and receive said identifying data of said at least one missing group member from said at least one (N-l) level remote server.
15. A group-members-counting method for monitoring and counting the members of a prearranged group participating in a prolonged event, the method comprising the steps of:
a. providing a group-members-counting system as in any one of claims 1-12;
b. in a pre-event activity, the method includes the following off-line steps:
i. enlisting the group members; and
ii. coupling a said transmitter to each of the group members;
c. activating said computer program product;
d. reading signals transmitted within the range of said communication receiving unit; e. identifying each said transmitters by said computer program product, using said unique identifying signals;
f. counting of said identified transmitters by said computer program product;
g. by said computer program product, comparing the number of said identified transmitters with the total number of said transmitters coupled with all of the group members; and
h. if the number of said identified transmitters is less than the total number of said transmitters coupled with all of the group members, the method proceeds with the following steps:
i. by said computer program product, identifying the group members associated with the missing said transmitters;
ii. display identifying data of said missing group members; and iii. go to step (d).
16. A group-members-counting method for monitoring and counting the members of a prearranged group participating in a prolonged event, the method comprising the steps of:
a. providing a group-members-counting system as in any one of claims 1-12;
b. in a pre-event activity, the method includes the following off-line steps:
i. enlisting the group members; and
ii. coupling a said transmitter to each of the group members;
c. activating said computer program product;
d. identifying each said transmitter by said computer program product, using said unique identifying signals;
e. by said computer program product, identifying the group members associated with said identified transmitters;
f. counting of said identified group members by said computer program product; g. by said computer program product, comparing the number of said identified group members with the listed group members as enlisted in said pre-event activity; and h. if the number of said identified group members is less than the total number of said listed group members, the method proceeds with the following steps:
i. by said computer program product, identifying the missing group members;
ii. display identifying data of said missing group members; and
iii. go to step (d).
17. The group-members-counting method of claim 15, wherein said pre-event activity further includes the off-line steps of:
iii. acquiring an image of at least one group member; and
iv. associating said acquired image with said at least one group member.
18. The group-members-counting method of claim 16, wherein said pre-event activity further includes the off-line steps of:
iii. acquiring an image of at least one group member; and
iv. associating said acquired image with said at least one group member.
19. The group-members-counting method of claim 15, wherein said pre-event activity further includes the steps of:
a. providing a group-members-counting system as in claims 13 or 14;
h. if the number of said identified group members is less than the total number of said listed group members, the method proceeds with the following steps:
i. by said computer program product, identifying the missing group members;
ii. display identifying data of said missing group members; iii. transmitting said identifying data of said missing group members to said first level remote server; and
iv. go to step (d).
20. The group-members-counting method of claim 16, wherein said pre-event activity further includes the steps of:
a. providing a group-members-counting system as in claims 13 or 14;
h. if the number of said identified group members is less than the total number of said listed group members, the method proceeds with the following steps:
v. by said computer program product, identifying the missing group members;
vi. display identifying data of said missing group members; vii. transmitting said identifying data of said missing group members to said first level remote server; and
viii. go to step (d).
PCT/IL2016/050871 2015-08-19 2016-08-10 Systems and methods for detecting a missing group member WO2017029656A1 (en)

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2791452A1 (en) * 1999-03-22 2000-09-29 Catherine Claude Mari Coutelou Monitoring apparatus for group of people, e.g. for use by person in charge of school trip, receives limited-range radio signals from tags carried by group members, indicating missing individual in case of non-reception
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