I recently tested the CareBeacon fall detection (and inactivity) app for iPhone. The app functions like a mobile medical alert system and notifies loved ones of falls by utilizing the accelerometer and GPS (global positioning systems) functions in the smart phone. The app is free for the first 30 days and is available from $8.33 per month (if you sign up for the year) to $12.99 (on a month to month) after the initial trial.
The CareBeacon app is great for those who have an existing iPhone and who carry it with them at all times. The app will work wherever the phone has a signal and is not confined to the home like many traditional personal emergency response systems. The pre-determined friends and family will be notified if the user does not answer the “Are You Ok?” prompts after a period of inactivity or a fall is sensed. The time to sense inactivity can be adjusted by the user, from one to 15 minutes. If the phone senses a fall, it sends a text and/or voice messages with the users location. The friends/family would then contact the user and emergency services if needed.
CareBeacon Review: Likes and Dislikes
What I liked:
- Conceptually utilizing the mobile phone functionality for active adults (that just need a safety blanket) makes a great deal of sense
- For those that carry their mobile phone all over the place, it’s always with you
- Accelerometer should work as well as other mPERS (mobile personal emergency response system) or better, though phone’s location on the body could make a difference in sensitivity for the fall algorithm
- Simple to use and simple to set up
- Designate friends and family (to contact in case of emergency) as you wish
- Price is right when comparing it to traditional or mobile medical alert system subscriptions
What I didn’t like:
- You have to have an iPhone (no Android version as yet)
- If you don’t have adequate service coverage (from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) you don’t have a functioning app
- Only calls friends and family no direct 911 calling (this isn’t so bad as long as someone answers)
- 15 minute inactivity alarm started bugging me, CareBeacon may want to adjust this to allow for less frequent check-ins
- Price is high IF you’re comparing it to other apps on the iPhone app store