The user or carer is expected to put the SIM in the phone and log into a web portal
Remind me - which demographic is most likely not to be web-connected ?
O2 has launched the first of its mobile-based telecare services in the UK. Most of the services currently provided by pendant alarms are attached to landlines and their reach extends to the user's garden. But research shows that people feel trapped in their homes by alarms which connect to a landline, and as a consequence …
This is a great idea - BUT - first you must have network coverage.
Despite living within sound of one of Britain's most important transportation conduits (M20/HST1/Channel Tunnel), there is barely any GSM coverage let alone GPRS or even anything remotely useful. DVB is similarly deficient hereabouts.
When decision makers head outside the M25 and Thames corridor, I wish they would take time to notice how primitive mobile phone coverage actually is, how poor broadband is, how the local roads are so bad that you replace tyres on a weekly basis. Well, there are a lot of old people living in these sorts of places and they function OK, but could certainly use and benefit from a decent pendant alarm. There are 90 year old ladies who walk their dogs and drive to the shops and really need some kind of functional alarm system without having to move to Croydon (no disrespect to that sterling borough).
So, please, sort out the coverage before touting yet another unusable service, please!
There are plenty of other services like this that don't need a mobile signal to work. They use that quaint old thing called a 'land line'. my 91yr old mother has one of these. Mobile tech is simply beyond her.
She lives well outside the M25 ring and in an area where mobile coverage is a bit iffy at the best of times.
So most of your statement is spot on, the article does miss out that there are alternatives to the O2 solution that have been running for years.
Using a system that relies on a landline ties the wearer to the proximity of their house - so no gentle dog walking or visiting a neighbour in a car. Some years ago my mother was offered one of these devices, dependent on the landline, much of the garden was out of range.
Old folk are not always tied to their house, but they do need some way of being retrieved when they go astray or have a fall.
Giving old people a pendant that is tied to a landline is little different from tagging them
What an utter rip off, although as noted the other service is down right disgusting! Both are just preying on the "what if" factor.
I'm fortunate enough to not need these services for any of my relatives or indeed myself at the moment, but when the time does come I sure won't be spending that kind of money! Especially since all it fundamentally is is a £10 Nokia with all the expensive bits taken out with a shock sensor included on the hardware front .
The monthly costs is also a bit steep if you don't have the voice option since all you need is 10p of credit on a pay as you go sim to send an emergency text to a pre-designated number!
Touch screen goes to big buttons (IE pre-programmed numbers).
Auto speakerphone . Got to be an API call for that.
GPS tracking. Well GPS chips seem fairly common in touchscreen phones anyway.
Accelerometer to detect falls, shocks. More or less common than GPS?
Should be a huge market for elderly and infirm
Generally there are issues with touch-screen phones for the elderly. One is that our skin loses conductivity over time so capacitive screens aren't great. Another is that there is quite a learning curve in getting to the dedicated apps. You'd need something that could boot into a senior mode.
There has been some interesting UI work done in the space, look for an announcement from Doro soon to complement the 740 I wrote about for The Reg last year. It's also worth looking out the Threedomphone work from the design company Ribot.
However it's a mature (er..) market in Japan and Fujitsu is launching another Grandroid phone with Orange France: http://www.fussfreephones.com/2013/02/orange-and-fujitsu-launch-grandroid-phone/
"Generally there are issues with touch-screen phones for the elderly. One is that our skin loses conductivity over time so capacitive screens aren't great."
What I had in mind was configuring the screen into a small group of very large buttons, pretty much as a single use appliance.
" You'd need something that could boot into a senior mode."
Yes. I pictured the app pretty much taking over the phone from boot. How easy that is to do is another question.
So many goods and services targeted at that market turn out to be a massive rip off.
My gran needed a commode. A Tesco "living aids" ones range from £80 to £300, we got one designed for camping, serves the purpose well, cost under £20.
Stair lifts cost a fortune but come with a "buy back" deal for when no longer required. Not surprisingly the providers give no indication of likely buy back value and there's nowhere else to go so you're lucky to get more than the scrap metal value for a very substantial motorised chair and steelwork.
Home insurance for the over 50s - Year one it's a good deal but then they increase the premiums by around 10% p.a. on the basis that oldsters won't check and if they do 10% increase isn't a big deal - until compounded over a few years. So sign up at 50 for a reasonable £400pa on home and contents, stay put for 20 years and you're paying £2.5k.
A smartphone programmer should be able to get an Android to do everything this offers except would need to find a substitute for the over-priced call centre. I guess some might make a lot of use of the call centre but for many - almost none, it's for peace of mind - so charge a minimal annual maintenance fee and then a per call handling fee.