PeerAssist will provide an accessible, adaptable, multimodal and multilingual user interface and integrate behind the scenes the appropriate knowledge and context management and peer-to-peer interaction as needed to allow elderly people using the system to build virtual communities on demand, based on interests and needs that they share among themselves and/or with people in their supporting environment. The main effort of this challenging project is to design a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform helping the elderly fulfil their everyday needs in a user-friendly, effective, and totally safe manner. Use of PeerAssist by an elderly end-user should not require computer literacy. User supporting entities (e.g. family members, friends, caregivers, etc.) that participate in PeerAssist may use similar terminals or more powerful off-the-shelf computers as needed, depending on their role and function, level of computer expertise and services they provide. All terminals will be connected to the Internet and communicate via a peer-to-peer overlay technology.


The main objectives of the proposed PeerAssist project are the conceptualisation, design, implementation and demonstration of a flexible Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform, which will allow elderly people (not necessarily familiar with ICT technologies) to build virtual communities dynamically based on interests and needs they share. The PeerAssist platform will facilitate establishing on demand ad-hoc communities with friends, family, neighbours, caregivers, facilitators, care providers, etc., based on shared interests and communication needs. The community building and the P2P interaction will be achieved using information extracted from peer roles, profiles and user modelling, context that describes the overall user environment, and the specific request initiated, or service provided, by a peer, all of which are represented semantically in a machine understandable form.

Peer Ass Concept

Expected results and impact

To the best of our knowledge there is no example for a context-aware system that can support elderly individuals in forming virtual ad-hoc communities in response to a user query, by evaluating the context of several elderly people with similar or complementary needs or interests. Moreover, a P2P approach will have high impact since it goes beyond the state of art solutions for elderly for three reasons: (i) P2P services constitute a social communication that goes beyond a service provider – client interaction; (ii) P2P services in many cases constitute exchanges between more than two parties and stimulates processes of community building; (iii) P2P services can be integrated into a network of added-value components of caregiver and technical service providers. The proposed solution is also in line with the modern practice of “triple-play”, a marketing term for the provisioning of the three services; high-speed Internet, television (Video on Demand or regular broadcasts) and telephone service over a single broadband connection. Finally, we will explore the spoken only user interaction.


Partners involved in the PeerAssist project

Organization Type Country Website
University of Athens (Communication Networks Lab) R&D Greece
Seekda GmbH Large Industry Austria
InAccess Networks Large Industry Greece
Warp Networks, S.L. Large Industry Spain
Fundación Instituto Gerontologico Matia Country R&D Spain
Municipality of Athens Development Agency End User Greece
Semantic Technology Institute Innsbruck R&D Austria
  • Project name: A P2P platform supporting virtual communities to assist independent living of senior citizens
  • Website:
  • Coordinator: Prof. Lazaros Merakos Department of Informatics and Telecommunications University of Athens
  • Duration: 30 Months
  • Starting Date: 01.09.2010
  • Total budget: € 2.147.151
  • Public contribution: € 1.411.604


Dr. Nikos Passas

T.: +30 210 7275651

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