Cool new PERS, security stuff

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05/07/2009
I have to admit, I'm pretty fond of gadgets. I just like reading about new innovations and new technologies. I've been a longtime reader of scifi.com's DVICE. I'm talking back in the day, before the neat new branding and the upside-down "i" in the name. Actually, I recently found out that DVICE covered one of my most recent stories about Vaica Medical's SimpleMed for SSN before I did. Anyway, I received some press releases recently about some new PERS and security gadgets that I thought were pretty cool. First up is a new edition to the PERS market, LogicMark's FreedomAlert pendant. The small pendant functions just like a monitored personal emergency response system, except the owner of the device doesn't have to pay monthly monitoring fees. Basically, the device consists of a programmable base unit one plugs into their phone line. The base unit is connected wirelessly to the pendant (which looks like a little cell phone, complete with antenna). When the end user pushes the panic button, the base unit calls a call list of 3 numbers and then, if no one on the call list answers, dials 911. The pendant itself is a two-way voice communicator, and is unique, according to LogicMark president Mark Gottlieb, in that it takes advantage of a loophole in federal regulations on autodialer systems and is, in fact, the only autodial system in existence expressly permitted to dial 911. "We’re the only company in the industry allowed to call NENA, the National Emergency Number Association ... NENA does not allow automatic dialers to call 911 because they can never figure out what the problem is," Gottlieb said. "That's where the role of the monitoring center comes into play. It is actually illegal for an automatic dialer to call 911. We have an exception. We're the only company with a written exception to call 911, because the person who pushes the button is speaking through the pendant to the dispatch." So, basically, imagine it as a cordless phone handset that has been wicked shrunk down so you can wear it around your neck like a necklace, and it also only takes the push of one button to automatically cycle through a call list of 4 preprogrammed numbers. According to Gottlieb, "It has a range of--line of sight--almost 600 feet" from the unit base. Kind of a neat idea to give seniors a sense of security and freedom to roam about the house unfettered to their PERS base unit or by a phone handset they'll have to utilize and dial if they run into trouble. Next is the Silent Touch Watch from SilentCall Communications. The Silent Touch Watch acts as a bridge between end users with vision or hearing impairments and their environment, including their doorbell, phone, and intrusion or fire alarm. According to the release:
The Silent Touch Watch, the alerting tool developed by SilentCall Communications of Waterford, Michigan, will alert the wearer within 300 feet that the doorbell or phone is ringing, or that a smoke detector, fire alarm, or burglar alarm has been activated. The wearer is alerted by both a vibration and by a visual icon symbol lighting up on the display.
I like the way the industry is going with making security and lifestyle applications portable. Innovations by Alarm.com, Xanboo, and now SilentCall are really changing the focus of traditional security from protecting a fixed address to giving people on the go 24/7 interaction with all of their lifestyle needs.