AOD - Assistance on Demand Infrastructure

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Introduction

The Assistance on Demand (AoD) Services infrastructure is a generic open-source infrastructure that enables the rapid deployment of new machine/human/crowd-based assistance services on demand by allowing service suppliers to easily register their assistance service and individuals to seek assistance in an organized fashion from a set of predefined sources based on type of need, quality of service desired, and other personal preference at the moment.

The AoD, once instantiated, will offer a set of unique features since it will:

  • allows individuals to set up services that seek assistance in an organized fashion from a set of predefined sources based on the type of need, the type (human or machine based) and quality of the required service, and other personal preferences,
  • allows application developers and service providers to easily register the services they offer (or set up new ones), which can be of any type e.g. machine, human, crowd-based assistance services,
  • supports multiple charging models and enables payment for all services through the associated P4A payment system, including the support of micropayment and micro-funding schemes,
  • enables the set up of user-defined network of assistance services supports the set up of multi-modal technical support including both human based and machine-based (e.g. text, voice or video-based) AoD
  • supports set up of QoS-price negotiation and “try harder” approaches
  • offers zero/default configuration mode options for efficiently supporting non professional with low digital literacy users to set up AoD services, while allowing for configuring the service to fit the user needs 

It will allow the developers and other stakeholders interested in offering AoD services to:

  • promote and sell their services bringing them closer to large audiences, relieving them from deploying their own charging/payment infrastructures
  • discover new user needs and undertake the development of new services.

Target Audience(s)

The target users of the AoD infrastructure are:

  • service providers / developers (SP) who want to offer

a bundle of services for a specific target group of service consumers; such SP instantiates the AoD and acts as mediator between end-users and service providers and can be either a company or any community/organisation,

- individual service providers trying to sell through a specific P4A AoD instance their service avoiding to set up their own infrastructure to reach customers

  • individual end users/ service consumers.

For the SP/developers, the P4A AoD infrastructure added value stems from the fact that it:

  • consists an access point to a very wide user base since it enables the set up of assistance services of any type (machine or human based) for any type of disability/literacy,
  • offers security and payment functionality through interconnection to the relevant systems developed in P4A, allowing the developers to concentrate on the functionality of the service they develop.

For the individual end users (service consumers), the added value stems from the fact that it offers:

  • a great variety of service and an easy personalised user interface that facilitates searching for services in an intelligent multi-criteria manner
  • the opportunity to set up a network of services for the people they take care of (friends, family members, e.t.c.). For example, a lady can choose specific services for housekeeping, nurses, doctors and other daily life tasks for her parents that are incapable of taking care of these tasks.
  • improved ease of use through multi-modal technical support
  • easy billing and charging accumulating micro-charges and forming a monthly bill
  • micro-funding opportunities and definition of services that are desired but not available.

Currently there is no generic open source infrastructure that can support the set up of several types of machine- and human- based AoD services, notably for non-developers and family members. As such, the P4A AoD can be very valuable for service consumers of AoD, as well as individuals and organisations wanting to offer AoD services.

The AoD platform aspires to be the entry point for numerous assistance services just like Google Search platform is the entry point for whatever we look for in the internet. As such, it can attract a very large group of users. Consider, for example, consumers (e.g. hard of hearing persons) who are in need of subtitling services. Once the request from a consumer for receiving a subtitling service is received, the AoD infrastructure will expose the registered subtitling service(s) to the consumers who need it; the services can be machine-enabled (automatic) or offered by humans. This is one of the criteria that the service listing functionality of the AoD infrastructure will use to rank the services that will be presented to the consumer – other criteria under examination are the cost of the service, the quality of the services as assessed by other consumers, etc. Now, let’s suppose that the consumer selects an automated subtitling service but after using it for a short period, she is not satisfied with the quality of service. The AoD infrastructure will enable her to push the “try harder’ button and be presented with similar services which are of higher quality but also higher cost (e.g. services offered by humans).

On the other hand, there are large numbers of developers that can develop very interesting and effective assistance applications/services, who, however, are not fully aware of the consumers’ needs or do not want to spend too much time in building a complete framework that takes care of payment issues and security issues. The AoD infrastructure will facilitate the set up of AoD services for such developers by offering them, e.g., payment and security components that are easy-to-integrate in existing or newly built services, thus lowering the delivery cost of the service. Moreover, the AoD infrastructure, by interconnecting to the micro-payment and biding components, will bring developers closer to what consumers want, request and are willing to micro-fund.

Potential Applications

AoD can be easily instantiated by organisations to help their members easily identify and pursue assistance services (e.g. organisation addressing people with all or specific types of disabilities). It can also be used by associations of service suppliers (e.g. developers or volunteers or non-IT expert service suppliers) to approach their audience.

Technologies

As the P4A architecture and requirements are ongoing, a final decision regarding the technologies that will be used has not been reached. The technologies under consideration are:

  • Linux (e.g. Ubuntu, CentOS) as the main OS supporting the AoD services
  • Python, Django framework, Apache web server, WSGI server for back-end services
  • Relational database management system (MySQL or PosgreSQL) for data storage
  • HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript (jQuery, Angular), Bootstrap framework for UI development
  • Django rest framework for REST API implementation
  • Swagger framework for the REST API documentation
  • Django packages for code analysis
  • Django (and python) packages for testing
  • Visual Studio (community edition) as the development environment
  • Git as the main source control system

Licence Information

The licences accompanying the AoD software contain re-distribution friendly directives (Apache, BSD etc.). None of them is proprietary and/or of limited (re)use.

Status, Known Issues & Planned Work

The user and system requirements of the AoD have been captured. The AoD implementation architecture will be finalised by end of January 2015. The implementation of the AoD has started.

Further Resources

We have defined a list of scenarios each including multiple acts as shown in the following table. For the complete description of the scenarios see below while for selected scenarios, wireframes are available (marked in blue in the following table).

Scenario title Acts Task
Scenario 1:User registration and profile management Act 1: Service consumer registration with balance disorder 205.1
Act 2: Service supplier registration with low visibility problems
Act 3: Registration of novice service supplier
Act 4: Registration of user with severe visibility impairments 
Act 5: Profile management for user with balance disorder
Act 6: Profile management for service supplier with low visibility problems
Scenario 2: Service registration and management Act 1: Service registration for novice care givers 205.1
Act 2: Service registration and service management for IT familiar service providers
Act 3: Service management for IT familiar service providers
Act 4: Service management for novice service providers
Scenario 3: Listing of assistance services Act 1: Seeking a service addressing hearing disabilities 205.1
Act 2: Seeking services addressing visibility disabilities
Act 3: Seeking training services suited to people with disabilities 
Act 4: Seeking leisure services suited to people with disabilities
Scenario 4: Support of multiple charging models Act 1: Inspection of charges and account statistics for users with hearing issues 205.1
Act 2: Inspection of charges and account statistics for users with visibility issues
Scenario 5: Multi-modal technical support Act 1: Technical support related to AoD platform 205.3
Act 2: Technical support related to AoD platform for users with hearing problems
Act 3: Technical support related to AoD platform for users with visibility problems
Act 4: Technical support for a specific service offered through the AoD
Act 5: Technical support offered through the AoD for non-AoD services
Scenario 6: Configurable Assistance on Demand service network Act 1: Guided configuration of AoD service network 205.4
Act 2: Configuration of the AoD service network from professionals
Scenario 7: Try-harder- chain of services
205.2

Scenario 8: QoS –cost negotiation
205.2

Scenario 9: Social networking to assist non-tech users Act 1: Find other service providers offering similar services and make new friends 205.5
Act 2: Chat with friends
Act 3: News feed for staying up-to-date
Act 4: Supporting crowd-based services by participating to user groups
Act 5: Organizing events and meetings
Scenario 10: Social networking to assist non-tech end-users Act 1: Find other end-users with similar interests and make new friends 205.5
Act 2: Chat with friends
Act 3: Notified when service providers/end-users of interest are registered
Act 4: Participating to user groups
Act 5: Organizing events and meetings

Training Materials

Introduction to AoD

This training material presents:

  • a high level description of Assistance On Demand service Infrastructure,
  • the target audience of AoD,
  • the AoD benefits, and
  • its novelty

The current video presents an overview of the Assistance On Demand infrastructure and its capabilities.

AoD for service consumers

This powerpoint tutorial includes useful guidelines that helps a consumer to:

  • create a new account in the AoD,
  • look for a service in the AoD,
  • select a service,
  • purchase a service,
  • invite carers to assist him/her

A video tutorial is available here.

This video presents how a consumer can invite a (registered in AoD) carer, either professional or family member,in order to assist him/her.

AoD for service suppliers

These powerpoint slides includes:

  • an introduction on how a provider can register a service,
  • instructions how a provider can manage (update/remove) the registered in AoD services


This video tutorial presents how a user as service provider can register a new service in the AoD.

AoD for carers

This powerpoint tutorial includes an introduction on:

  • how a carer require permission to assist a third person
  • how a carer set up a network of assistance services on behalf of a third person

A video tutorial is available here.

AoD for organizations

This pdf document includes:

  • an introduction on instantiating AoD for associations’ purposes,
  • instructions on instantiation of AoD, step-by-step

This sample video presents how the AoD administration panel looks like and the capabilities that the admin (AoD super user) has.

Videos/Demos

Documentation/FAQs

Example use scenarios of AoD can be found here:D205-1.pdf

The one-pager of the AoD can be found here: AoD_1pager.pdf

For Information on On demand Services 


The first version of AoD customization guidelines can be found here.

Related/Alternative Tools

Currently, there are platforms/sites offering quite flexible service search to the users. However, they are limited to either software or human based services and focused on specific application areas (e.g. health, training, babysitting).

Getting Involved

Code Repository

The software of Assistance On Demand service Infrastructure is publicly available in the github repository. Click here