Smart technology is now poised not only to make life easier, but to save lives as well. Why would someone in the midst of a health crisis or even helping that person out have to dial 911 when any one of the internet-connected gadgets in their home or on their person could do it for them?
A company named Noonlight is pushing to put its personal safety app into everything from smart speakers to smart smoke detectors, according to a recent CNN Tech article written by Heather Kelly.
“Automakers figured this out years ago with features like OnStar, which can summon help when you’ve run off the road. But so far no one’s brought such tech into the house in an equally big way. Even Alexa doesn’t support calls to 911,” says Kelly. Noonlight (formerly SafeTrek), introduced a smartphone app 5 years ago that permits users to summon help without making a call. Even if you are concerned you may be in imminent danger, you can press and hold the button on the screen. Release it, and the app calls 911 unless you enter a PIN. All this for $3 a month.
“Now the company wants to expand the platform to gadget makers and usher in a new era of personal safety,” says King. “It has partnerships to put its tech in the Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers, Apple Health app, Nest Protect smoke detector, Canary security camera, and Biostrap health wearable.”
Within the past week, the system’s first integration went live with Canary. If it notices unusual activity (such as you’ve fallen and can’t get up) the camera sends a push notification, after which you have a certain length of time to reply. If you don’t, it summons help.
It won’t be long before all of your smart gadgets can keep an eye on you. “A Nest cam might see you grabbing your chest as your Apple Watch detects an erratic heartbeat. Google Home hears you gasping for breath and summon help,” says Kelly.
It’s important to note that these apps don’t actually call 911 directly. Like OnStar for your car, they alert a dedicated call center where a human being calls 911, which may turn out to be even better than calling 911 directly. Why? Because the center can keep detailed information about your location and medical history, summoning help using all of the relevant info they have placed on a web page. This way 911 dispatchers will have all the most vital information offered to them in a glance.
Privacy is a concern. While data that goes into 911 systems are well protected, there is no guarantee any of the devices will offer similar safeguards. There are valid concerns that police or other authorities may try to obtain some of that information.
There is also speculation about whether consumers really want an internet-connected baby monitor and a smart speaker working together to make critical life and death decisions. However Nick Droege, the device’s creator, believes smart devices can, and will, save lives. “We see the future of where it’s going,” he says. “Safety doesn’t just have to be reactionary. It can be proactive.” He is now looking at partnerships to put his company’s tech in the Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers, Apple Health app, Nest Protect smoke detector, Canary security camera, and Biostrap health wearable.
Source: Builderonline.com, CNN Tech, TBWS