CHICKASHA — A company that provides digital tracking devices to law enforcement in 17 Oklahoma counties is now selling a GPS wristwatch that does a lot more than keep time.
Motionworks Industrial Safety is marketing its new S-911 locator as a way to keep tabs on senior citizens who may be at risk of falling or straying from their homes.
The device can transmit and receive information via satellite or also work as a phone, keeping loved ones an arm's length away at all times, explained Jason Maddox, the company's technology manager.
Users can notify family and friends of an emergency by pressing a button that initiates a phone call and sends out an alert via text message and email.
Maddox said the communication works both ways, with concerned loved ones also able to contact the device wearer just by dialing a phone number, causing the wristwatch ring. Or they can log on to a company website and see on a map their relative's exactly location.
“I could actually chase Grandma down the road with it if I had to,” Maddox said. “It's true-time GPS — the same system we're using to track criminals.”
The technology was developed in Canada and was distributed to Motionworks through an Arizona security company. The S-911 will supplement the company's prior law enforcement contracts by providing digital locating technology for private citizens, Maddox said.
The digital bracelet includes a feature which will alert loved ones to sudden movements, like a fall or vehicle crash, and allows users to set up an invisible “geo-fence,” which means an alert would be triggered if the bracelet user steps outside an established boundary.
An alert would also be triggered if the device moves faster than a preset speed.
Maddox said these features give families more options to monitor their parents' or grandparents' movements and behaviors not for criminal concerns but for safety ones.
The device could also be used for children who suffer from substantial learning disorders or even for employers who want to monitor the safety of employees dispatched to the field.
“I brought it down because we had a person in town come up missing and the family members started calling,” he said. “And we had a lady who had Alzheimer's who ended up leaving her house — she was across the street, but we looked for her for days.”
Traditional emergency alert devices are limited to a specific range, and cellphone alert systems are often unreliable in rural areas, Maddox said.
The S-911 can be used anywhere, and friends or family members with the device's access code can look up the wearer's location from anywhere the Internet is available, including Smartphones.
Cost of the bracelet ranges from $289 to $379 depending on which features are included and then users will also be required to pay a monthly fee of about $35.
Maddox said no contract is involved.
Each device comes with a preset T-Mobile phone and 100 minutes that can be used monthly for emergency conversation.