By Giang Nguyen & Sanjay Chadha
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we interact with products and it’s opening up new possibilities for what products can do for us. Fundamental to IoT is the instant collaboration that happens between these smart devices. The beauty behind having a network of interconnected devices is that they can all work together to provide real solutions that are much greater than the sum of their parts.
Pre-IoT systems set Limitations on Safety
IoT based safety systems have adapted to the needs of modern customers. As users, we’re more sophisticated and more connected today than we have ever been before, and traditional security systems just can’t deliver the necessary control, mobility, and accuracy that we need to feel safe. For instance, pre-IoT home security systems automatically called authorities when anything irregular occurred and had huge false alarm rates, which resulted in many users actually preferring to leave their systems off rather than dealing with its problems. In personal safety, pre-IoT safety systems used telephone lines and call centers to respond to emergency situations, and their range often limited users to their home or yard.
IoT systems: better connected and enables better control over our Safety
IoT based smart products are always connected and constantly communicating with each other. They regularly exchange information using wired and wireless networks, which helps make our lives easier and safer. When IoT based smart home security systems are used to safeguard our home or possessions, it’s akin to having our favourite reliable friend dutifully watching over our home or pets in our absence. Except it’s actually way better than that, because unlike our well-meaning friend or neighbour, smart home security systems are always present and are ready to instantly alert us of any signs of danger.
Smart products, like Nest Lab’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, sounds an alert when it detects high levels of CO, and then warns us of the location of the danger. It’s no wonder that Google acquired Nest Labs for a whooping $3.2 billion! Other companies like Canary offer connected smart home security systems that are now a part of a growing trend: using IoT technology to create safety solutions to protect what’s most valuable to us.
From Home Security to Personal Safety
The key features of smart technology are that they’re always connected, they learn to adapt to our lifestyles, and they can be remotely managed. When these capabilities are applied to personal safety, we can be assured that there’s a whole network working with us to protect the safety of our loved ones.
Nest and Canary’s home security technology can be monitored and managed via our smart phones. Similarly, Safety Labs’ medical alert system, Anchor-PA, provides continuous safety for the elderly by keeping them connected to their loved ones at all times. Medical alert systems have come a long way from the older telephone operator-based models that required individuals who were injured or in danger to go through call centre representatives to help alert family members, neighbours, or emergency response services (e.g. 911). IoT based medical alert systems like Safety Anchor Panic Alert proactively send updates or alerts directly to designated family members, friends, or emergency services such as 911, depending on the situation. This bypasses the middleman, which saves valuable time and instantly provides users with the most appropriate support for their situations. IoT is a great asset in other areas, as well. For instance, the Wandering-Protection system from Safety Labs provides peace of mind to caregivers for people with Dementia, Autism, and children by generating an alert when they’ve wandered outside of a preconfigured “safety zone.”
Smart safety systems like Canary, Nest’s cameras and detectors, and Safety Anchor provide protection that adapts to the lifestyles of modern users by applying the principles of IoT.