There are a wide assortment of monitoring devices commercially available today. Most devices like LifeAlert and MedicalAlert provide users with free hardware but then saddle their customers with multi-year contracts at as much as $41.95 per month. If you obtain one of these devices when you turn 65 and keep it until you are 80, a single user will spend over $7,500 in monitoring expenses alone. Double that amount if both parents or grandparents are monitored.
The Idea behind the Allen Band is that the user pays a one-time cost for the monitoring hardware, in this case a stylish wrist watch-style band, and receives free monitoring services for life. The Allen Band can provide superior, personalized monitoring options while saving seniors thousands in monitoring costs.
Free Monitoring for Life
Free monitoring may seem too good to be true, but with today’s technology it is easily achievable. All of the current major senior monitoring systems rely on a pendant / base system that links the user directly to a live monitoring center. These monitoring centers are extremely expensive to operate and are the driving expense behind what are often cost-prohibitive monthly monitoring costs.
The Allen Band is different. Rather than routing emergency events to a call center, the Allen Band uses the Internet to directly notify family, friends, or even neighbors (we call them caregivers) that mom or dad needs help.
When a loved one falls, is inactive for an extended period of time, or experiences an event that is detected by the Allen Band, the band will ask the senior user if they are OK. If the senior user presses the OK button no alert is sent to family, but the event is recorded in the monitoring-cloud’s event history. If the SOS button is pressed instead, a text message, email, and/or push notification is sent to the seniors’ caregivers letting them know what happened and that help is needed.
More than Just an SOS Button
The Allen Band does offer senior users the ability to signal for help by double-pressing the SOS button, but it is more than just a panic button. While the Allen Band is not a medical device, it uses the latest 21st century technology to measure specific biometric readings. The Allen Band can measure:
- Heart Rate
- Movements (has the senior been stationary too long)
- Body Temperature (is there a fever or hypothermic state)
- Sudden Motion (falls, etc..)
- Connectivity Issues (No communication from the Allen Band)
- Battery Status Issues (when battery is low, caregiver is alerted)
- GPS Location
All of this data is sent to the monitoring cloud at regular intervals and each caregiver can ask the cloud monitoring system to alert them based on their own levels of concern. This eliminates the need for a human to monitor the connection and eliminates almost all of the monitoring costs. Each Allen Band can send alerts to up to 2 caregivers at no cost whatsoever. Additional caregivers can be added for $1.00 per month per caregiver. The caregiver, not the senior user, pays the $1.00 monthly monitoring charge to be added to the account. We use these small $1.00 payments for fund the cloud monitoring for all Allen Band users.
Monitoring Options That are as Mobile as You Are
To eliminate the human-monitoring model, the Allen Band must have an Internet connection to send its data to the cloud-monitoring system. If the senior user has a smartphone, this can be done at all times using their phone’s Bluetooth connectivity.
Many seniors do not have smartphones, but they often do have wireless internet in their homes for tablets, computers, or other devices. The Allen Band can send its data directly over the home’s existing WiFi connection. This offers a free solution for senior users who mostly remain within a 100 foot radius of their home.
For senior users who are still active and mobile, the Allen Band offers a cellular connectivity option that does not require any additional devices to send data to the cloud-monitoring system. We have negotiated monthly service plans from cellular carriers as low as $10/month that will allow the Allen Band to send SMS messages to the cloud monitoring server. If a fall or other event happens when the user is not at home, the Allen Band reports the user’s current GPS location as well as current biometric data and event details. This allows caregivers to respond quickly and appropriately when help is needed.
Stylish and Discrete
We conducted hundreds of interviews with seniors who have used the pendant / base monitoring systems as well as with seniors who elected not to sign up for one.
The leading consideration in a senior user’s decision was the monthly cost of monitoring followed closely by the stigma that is associated with the large and ugly wearable pendants. One respondent said she wouldn’t use a LifeAlert system even if she needed it because it was like “wearing a giant I am infirm sign around her neck.” Another stated that she was 63 years old and probably needed one but wouldn’t wear it because “it just isn’t cool.”
The Allen Band was designed to look like a slim wristwatch. It even tells time! No one but the senior user and his/her caregivers will know that the Allen Band is hard at work. That is the way it should be.
Great! How Can I Get One?
The Allen Band is currently being developed and tested for sale in the US. We plan on an initial production run of 1,000 devices. During our market research and interview process, we received hundreds of requests to receive the first available devices.
The Allen Band is designed in the US and all monitoring services will be securely housed in the US. If you would like to purchase an Allen Band once it is available, please subscribe to our email contact list and we will notify you as soon as the Allen Band is available for pre-order. We plan on opening pre-orders in late 2015 and all pre-orders will be filled on a first-come first serve basis.
To ensure you are notified when pre-ordering begins, please subscribe to our Allen Band Facebook Page. We will post there when our Indiegogo campaign is live and you can sign up to be an Alpha tester, a Beta Tester, and/or receive the final product!