From the horse’s mouth
The concept of connected wearables has primarily focused either on smartwatches that serve as an auxiliary control surface for your smartphone or fitness bands of the Jawbone or Fitbit ilk that measure how you are performing on your workout.
Now three companies have focused on personal safety as an application for the connected wearable. This is in the form of personal alarm or “panic-button” devices that interlink with your smartphone.
They are not your garden-variety attack alarm which was typically a white box which had a built-in battery-operated alarm with a loud piezo sounder that you activated by pressing a button or pulling a cord. Rather they communicate by Bluetooth with a special app on your iOS or Android smartphone to contact a predefined list of contacts if you press a panic button on the wearable. This is in addition to the ROAR Athena having their own alarm and flashing light.
These devices place emphasis on elegant style that underscores the value women place on aesthetics and designed to be pieces of jewellery that they can wear. The Safelet is styled to look like a silver bracelet while the ROAR Athena is styled like an attractive brooch that can be attached to one’s clothing.
The ROAR Athena also works with a Web-based intelligence database about those areas that are safe and those that aren’t. Here, people can identify and report areas that are potential troublespots as far as personal safety is concerned like streets that are poorly lit or known troublemaker hangouts.
It’s early days yet but I would like to see these device able to integrate with related applications like workplace personal-safety systems or home security so that they can “map” to these systems when one is in their scope.
What I see of this is the concept of wearable technology and platform-based computing encouraging innovation for the common good.