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A context-aware system using mobile applications and beacons for on-premise security environments

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In this paper, we describe a mobile solution for on-premise security monitoring using Android devices and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. The system incorporates two mobile based applications, beacons and supporting cloud services. One mobile application was developed for security managers to easily configure beacons while in close proximity to a beacon for setting up a route, while the other is for security guards as they perform their rounds. We developed this system in collaboration with a security firm and an industry partner located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. We present the relevant background of work in this area, the architectural framework that we designed and developed to support the system, the applications themselves and a report on the findings of real use test case scenarios involving security managers and guards. Our system was tested in a variety of conditions and performed at an accuracy of 98%, achieved SUS usability scores of 85% and 82% for Security Managers and Security Guards respectively. It provides a low-cost, easily deployed scalable solution for security monitoring in a range of environment configurations.

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  1. The time of 5 seconds was determined through research observation for the average time a security guard spends in a zone.

  2. SUS positive rated items: Item I1: “I think that I would like to use this system frequently” Item I3: “I thought the system was easy to use”, Item I5: “I found the various functions in this system were well integrated” Item I7 “I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly” Item I9: “I felt very confident using the system”

  3. SUS negative rated items: Item I2: “I found the system unnecessarily complex” Item I4: “I think that I would need the support of a technical person to be able to use this system”, Item I6: “I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system” Item I8 “I found the system very cumbersome to use” Item I10: “I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system.”


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We gratefully acknowledge the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC: for this Engage grant which provided the funds to conduct this research. We also wish to thank the industry partner, MindrMobile for collaborating on this research and our two research students Chris Campanelli and Wes Glover.

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Correspondence to Edward R. Sykes.

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Sykes, E.R. A context-aware system using mobile applications and beacons for on-premise security environments. J Ambient Intell Human Comput 11, 5487–5511 (2020).

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