Revolutionary Tracker (RT) announced on Tuesday the release of a new GPS-enabled smartphone that is also tamper resistant and can be worn around the neck. The devices are designed especially for monitoring children, seniors and people with special needs and have features that go beyond providing location. Two-way communication, SOS alerts and one-button calling are also available.
The phones can be ordered from RT’s website and are expected to ship at the end of March 2013. Rogers Communications will provide cellular service for the phones in Canada, but no provider has yet been announced for the U.S and European markets.
What makes the phones stand out is their extensive use of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that allows real-time monitoring of a user’s location and makes immediate communication between a user and monitoring person possible. M2M has been used in many applications, including smart meters that give usage data to utility companies and vending machines that provide inventory status to a company office.
The list of useful applications of M2M with these smartphones is extensive. Children can use one-button calling to notify a parent without fumbling to dial a phone number and communicate through a two-way conversation. In extreme cases, the phones can serve as anti-bullying devices, where a child can initiate a one-button call and a parent or supervising adult can listen in.
Many seniors deal with cognitive impairments, including dementia, which the RT smartphones can help caretakers manage. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in 10 people with dementia will wander away from home. By wearing the phone around the neck, a missing person can easily be located. The one-touch SOS feature allows anyone to easily reach a caretaker without having to remember phone numbers or deal with the sometimes cumbersome process of using a cell phone. These features are also helpful to anyone seriously injured by a fall.
RT’s smartphones are not just limited to monitoring children or seniors. Tracking people with disabilities or employees working in hazardous environments are also possible applications of the phone’s technology. It can be helpful in any situation where a user needs frequent monitoring, could easily become incapacitated or need immediate assistance.
Monitoring software that comes with the phones not only tracks users’ locations, but can also setup conference calls. Toggling between different screen views makes it easier to get an accurate picture of where family members or employees are at a given moment.
RT’s smartphones and monitoring software combine to form a solution that other solutions do not provide in a complete package. You can get GPS tracking with some phone services, but most of them do not come with an SOS alert feature nor can they be worn around the neck. Many home security systems allow parents to monitor children at home, but the main objective of these systems is to protect the home; they do not protect people who are not at home, which unfortunately includes those who suffer from dementia and are likely to wander. It is a welcome arrival in a market that had not previously combined all these features in one package.