Transmission technologies available to mobile users have improved a lot during the last two decades, and such technologies offer interesting propects for monitoring the health of people anytime and anywhere.
Cellular networks (e.g. UMTS/3G) now cover most densely populated areas, but in spite of the efforts deployed by telecommunication operators to deploy their networks there remain many “white areas” where connectivity is not guaranteed for mobile users. Besides cellular networks are designed to support downlink traffic primarily (from the network to the subscriber), while only low bitrates are possible on the uplink. This is a disadvantage for health monitoring, which requires to use mostly the uplink for data transmission.
Private, corporate, and community Wi-Fi hotspots have also proliferated in our daily environment. Unlike cellular networks, Wi-Fi networks offer symmetric high-rate links. Their coverage is somewhat limited, but the density of Wi-Fi hotspots –and especially community hotspots– in urban and peri-urban areas is now such that a mobile device can often choose between several hotspots at any time.
The originality of project SHERPAM is to rely simultaneously on both kinds of wireless networks in order to ensure the transmission of biometric data collected on mobile users. The transmission system developed in project SHERPAM shall run without ever limiting the mobility of these users, which should be allowed to live their daily as usual (at home, at work, etc.) while their health status is being monitored. The system shall therefore be able to switch dynamically and transparently from one network to another as a user moves, but it should also be able to tolerate the frequent connectivity disruptions that are likely to occur when the user enters areas that are not satisfactorily covered by any network. In such circumstances the system shall guarantee that no data is lost, and that all data are ultimately transmitted to a monitoring center to be recorded and/or analyzed there.
SHERPAM gathers research teams from several scientific domains and from several laboratories of Brittany (IRISA-Université de Bretagne Sud, LTSI-Université de Rennes 1, M2S-Université Rennes 2 and ENS Cachan, CIC-IT 804-CHU of Rennes and LAUREPS-Université of Rennes 2), in order to constitute a pluridisciplinary research consortium able to grasp and tackle the technical as well as the societal issues raised by these applications. Each research team has already a solid experience in this domain.
SHERPAM is a follow-up of the PucesCom EPT (transversal project team) that was supported by Université européenne de Bretagne (UEB) from 2009 to 2012.