Skip to main content

Inaudible SMART CROWDS SECURITY through existing loudspeakers”

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Zoovel-UC (Inaudible SMART CROWDS SECURITY through existing loudspeakers”)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2017-03-31

Zoovel Technologies S.L. is a well-established Telecommunications Engineering Company founded in 2011 in San Sebastián (Spain). We are a global provider of world class networking equipment, which we provide to European global telecom carriers and broadband services platforms. Leading Telecommunication companies and distribution companies trust on our high-quality solutions which they include in their portfolio. We also maintain business relationships with reputed chipset manufacturers from USA and Asian ODM manufacturers.
Zoovel-UC makes use of highly directive ultrasonic communication to transmit information to users in very well defined areas of a stadium. Our location-aware Z-Tones (the ultrasounds) can be easily captured by the Zoovel-UC application in any commercial smartphone in the right geo-fence and decoded into precise and safe evacuation directions. Moreover, our mobile application considers the specific seat assigned and any personal issue (e.g. disabilities) to allow for further customisation of the evacuation route. Furthermore, Zoovel-UC makes use of stadiums’ standard equipment, so just small investments to complement the existent ICT infrastructure are needed.
During this feasibility study, we have carried out the following actions to ensure that we meet technical and commercial requirements to commercialise by the end of the upcoming Phase-2:

Task 1.1: Technical feasibility assessment.
1. We have identified the technical developments to refine our current design (e.g. modulation of Z-tones frequencies) to reliably implement evacuation plans well adapted to the demand from our two primary target markets: Football stadiums and Underground services.
2. With the support of key partners (with knowledge on evacuation simulation software) and our key provider (specialists in software development, and engagement through digital marketing who will join our consortium as partners in Phase-2), we have defined a complete emergency management and preparedness ontologies, as well as control dashboards to carry out evacuation plans.
3. We carried out a thorough risk analysis identifying also a set of mitigation measures and contingency strategies.
4. We defined a thorough project plan to refine our current implementation paving the way to incorporate additional scenarios in the short/mid-term, and derived both validation metrics (where we counted with the support of aforementioned early adopters), main work-packages, tasks and milestones, strategic providers and subcontractors whose commitment gain to finalise a market ready solution by the end of the upcoming Phase-2. As part of this work we also defined with the support of end-users and early adopters, a set of tests and performance/quality metrics to validate our technology in a real-scenario field-test (evacuation tests).
5. Based on the technical requirements elaborated as part of the commercial feasibility assessment we have determined the manufacturing costs of each component of our solution.

Task 1.2: Commercial feasibility assessment.
We have carried out a thorough marketing study of our primary targeted markets and identified all critical tasks for a successful product commercialization. Based on this study, we have:
1. Defined a preliminary commercialization plan, including a commercialisation risks identification and defined mitigation measures and contingency strategies.
2. Defined the value chain and the supply chain of Zoovel-UC, identifying key partners, critical providers and strategic stakeholders to reach commercialisation stage by the end of the upcoming Phase-2 of our project.
3. We have identified a powerful commercial ally, a big UK company specialised in entertainment, sport and media willing to lead Zoovel-UC commercialisation in the UK, the US and in the Commonwealth region. This company is represented in Spain.
4. We have studied the regulatory context and identified all certification actions to commercialise our technology in our primary targeted markets, deriving precise technical requirements included in our project plan.
5. We have carried out a benchmarking, including competitive intelligence analysis, technology watch and freedom to operate study that confirm we are 2-3 years ahead our competition and that we do not infringe any previous patent. Indeed, a patent has been filed as of 2017/02 protecting the innovation upon which our communications are based.

Task 1.3: Elaboration of a business plan.
1. Based on tasks 1.2.2-3 outcome, we have explored different commercialization options: (1) Joint ventures with specific vertical players (e.g. providers of safety & security services); (2) Joint ventures with telecom equipment manufacturers (e.g. Wi-Fi routers manufacturers, interested in integrating our technology in their equipment, as this would give them real broadcasting capabilities); (3) Running on our own both industrial production and services exploitation (we would need support from an industrial manufacturer taking care of industrialising our IoT access points, while we would focus on the software ecosystem development and service exploitation); and (4) Zoovel as a Service (we would provide a full stack cloud-ready ecosystem to companies offering evacuation services including: (i) Notification service to users based on ultrasounds during emergency management and combining ultrasound with IP wireless radio communications during emergency preparedness / post emergency stages. (ii) IoT security access points based on Zoovel’s IP (see freedom to operate study); and (iii) Cloud security server handling both emergency related and engagement related actions.
2. We have decided to run on our own both industrial production and services exploitation (option 3), while we will further study options (2) and (4) during Phase-2 as interesting options in the mid/long-term. It is important noticing that option (2) can also become part of an exit strategy, as our solution complements theirs by cost-effectively, efficiently and reliably broadcasting emergency directions. This option would bring us ~€8.6-million retained earnings, and RoI>4.3 (present value) for the realistic scenario during the first 5 years of business.
Anyone can buy standard HW to transmit ultrasonic messages by relying in the same providers we do (i.e. LISNR HW-SE development kit) or their competitors, but being able to transmit ultrasounds is not enough to build a reliable and secure solution thousands of people will depend on during an emergency. Indeed, more than 2-years of research and development have been necessary to build on top of the basic ultrasonic communication technology all necessary developments to offer our customers a complete, reliable and safe platform to implement evacuation plans.
Moreover, Zoovel Technologies SL is the owner of the Zoovel-UC technology. We are fully aware of IP and regulatory issues and have developed a corporate strategy to protect our proprietary knowledge and knowhow.
Patent filed. As part of this feasibility study works, we have filed a patent application (P201700150, 2017/02/24) in the Spanish Patent Office (OEPM, System to virtualise (delocalise) any modulations and/or demodulations and/or digital signal processing needed to provide the physical level services and/or data-link level services in communications interfaces of devices connected to telematics networks. Following usual procedure, a proper PCT filing will be done ~1 year from the filing date in Spain, claiming priority from the Spanish patent number assigned.
This patent protects our innovation on the field of virtualising and delocalising all necessary modulations / demodulations needed to provide services associated to OSI layers 1 (physical) and 2 (data-link). This innovation allows us to generate pre-modulated audio (or wireless radio messages) from remote elements of our ICT infrastructure, greatly reducing costs (most simple hardware at the endpoints, as they do not need to modulate the signal), efficiency (favouring a cloud-based management of different venues). Taking advantage of this innovation, we can store different pre-modulated signals for different radio technologies and delay the decision on the final transmission medium to use (e.g. different radio technologies are deployed but some may become unavailable by a natural or a human-induced disaster).