You open Facebook one day.
You scroll through your feed and amidst the many memes and funny posts, you noticed a picture of a senior man. And without anybody telling you what the purpose of the post is, you already know it in your heart that this is a cry for help to anyone who has seen him since he went missing 24 hours ago.
In the age of social media, it is not uncommon for posts such as these to pop up on your newsfeed, maybe even more than once per day. As sad and tragic as these posts are, there is one lesson here — the importance of locator devices.
According to Science Daily, people with dementia are more likely to go missing. However, being cooped up at home is not a good solution either. Mobility and the freedom of outdoor walking are critical in maintaining quality of life. Wandering may include useful physical activity, a sense of personal self-reliance and social interaction. The participation of people with dementia in outside-home events may also relieve some of their caregivers’ tension.
Individuals with dementia can also get lost while driving or using public transport — where they may need to cover a much wider area in a search to locate them.
That is why, having locator devices may:
- Help caregivers and emergency responders identify and ensure the well-being of people wandering about quickly
- Allow people with dementia to be a little more independent
- Provide reassurance to caregivers.
To us, a good GPS tracker needs to fulfil these requirements: it has to offer a straightforward 2-way communication and has to have a function which detects falls. In our search for such a device, we landed on SOSBuddy’s EV07W 3G Tracker. If you are curious about what it can do for you, read on to find out more.
SOSBuddy’s EV07W Personal Tracker — What Is It
The award-winning Personal GPS Tracker EV-07W has two-way communication, geofencing and fall detection device suited for persons with dementia.
During an emergency, users can press the device’s SOS button. In doing so, the app will alert up to five configured contacts and send an SOS text message to each mobile contact with a user location map of Google. On top of that, the app will call every number one at a time until a contact responds. If the user has been linked to the emergency line, he or she can communicate hands-free.
What Comes In The Box
The EV07W unit comes with the following:
- 1 x Main Tracking Device
- 1 x Instruction Manual
- 1 x Docking Station
- 1 x USB Cable
- 1 x Adapter
- 1 x Strap and Hook
- 1 x Mini Screwdriver
Mainframe Dimension: 61mm x 43mm x 16mm
Net Weight: 40g
3G WCDMA Frequencies: UMTS / HSPA 900 / 2100 MHz, UMTS / HSPA 850 / 1900 MHz
GPS Chip: U-blox 7 (Support AGPS)
GPS Sensitivity: Cold start: -148dBm Hot start: -162dBm
GPS Accuracy: <2.5m
Time to First Fix: Cold start 32s, Warm start 11s, Hot start 1s
Charging voltage: 5V DC
Battery: Chargeable 3.7V 800mAh
Standby Current: ≤ 2mAh
Storage Temperature: -40 degrees celcius to 85 degrees celcius
Operation Temperature: -20 degrees celcius to 80 degrees celcius
Humidity: 5% – 95% non-condensing
Basic Setup and Use
We have to admit, the setup is a little bit confusing at first. But these shouldn’t deter you as it is only a one-time event — if you set this up properly, this handy little device will be of great help to you in the future.
SIM Card Installation
Firstly, it is important to note that you must use your own SIM card as it is not included in the package. A micro SIM card is needed for the device to operate. Here are the steps:
- Unscrew the back cover and remove it.
- Insert SIM card and make sure it’s activated with credits.
- Put the cover back and tighten the screws (screwdriver provided).
Additional note: Before installing the SIM card, check if the SIM card has a PIN code or not. If yes, use a cell-phone to unlock the PIN.
For first-time usage, you need to fully charge the battery for around 2 to 3 hours. You can use either the USB charger or the docking station for this.
Switching the device on and off
To turn it on, press the side power button for 1 second. All the LEDs will begin to flash rapidly. Alternatively, you can automatically turn the device on by charging it.
Also, to get the best initial location detection, it is recommended that you switch on the device outdoors or near a window so that it may fix onto the satellites.
Switching off the device is simple: Just press and hold the side button and SOS button together for 1 second until the LEDs go off.
What do the lights mean?
Now, here’s the tricky part.
When it comes to the LEDs, different blinking frequencies will mean different things so it is best that you understand their legend in order to use the device properly. Here’s a table which simplifies everything:
Activating SOS Alarm
To activate the SOS alarm, you need to press and hold the SOS button for 3 seconds until the device vibrates — the green light will then flash rapidly to confirm the request.
If you do it correctly, a “Help me!” message will be sent to all authorized phone numbers as a text message and to the platform by GPRS.
The tracker will dial the authorized numbers in sequence — if the first number fails, the tracker will dial the second after a delay of 10 seconds. This is to prevent possible false alarm by allowing the user to press the SOS button again to stop the alarm.
When it comes to ending the sequence and alarm, both parties are able to do so with the user pressing the SOS button again or the receiver pressing ‘1’ on their mobile.
Fall Down Alarm
For seniors who fall frequently, the tracker is very useful in giving immediate notice to their caregivers and/or their loved ones.
To work out the alarm, the device must sense height, impact and angle etc. The height must be above 3 feet and the angle must change over 45 degrees. In that instance, authorised numbers will be alerted without the user having press the SOS button.
The only problem with this feature is the tendency to be a false alarm — not ideal if you are doing sports and/or produce sudden movements. However, users can manually cancel the fall alert by pressing the SOS button during its beeping.
- Very portable
We’ve attached a picture of how big (or how small) it is relative to the size of the palm. As you can see, the EV07W is extremely portable and definitely poses no problem for someone to carry it around.
- Quick in triggering an alertOn top of real-time tracking, the device almost instantly sends out an SMS alert and subsequently attempts to make calls to the five authorised receivers the moment a fall in detect or when the set perimeters are breached. This is extremely useful for caregivers to react in time.
- Single-press to call comes in handy such that when the SOS button is pressed, EV07W also triggers the call to the caregivers, without the need to reach for a hand-phone to dial the contacts of the caregivers.
- Setup is not as intuitive
Without the manual, it is almost impossible for you to figure out how to set this device up. In this case, the only way is to search online and/or call up SOSBuddy’s support to get your answers. But once the device is set up, it is extremely useful as a tracker.
- For caregivers, there doesn’t seem to be another way to acknowledge a false alarm if the user doesn’t press the SOS button to cancel it and more often than not, people with dementia may just forget to cancel it on their end. This may lead to caregivers actually believing that the alarm is real.However, we consider this to be a minor flaw because it is always better to err on the side of caution.
- Small inconvenience when it comes to fall alert — in the unlikely occasion that the device doesn’t trigger, users have to manually press the SOS button to alert the caregivers on the other end. This again will affect people with dementia as they may forget to press it.
The SOSBuddy EV07W is a good SOS tracker for able-bodied seniors who are still mildly-independent. For severe dementia cases, this tracker may not function optimally due to the fact that it still has some manual operations that patients can easily forget — such as the pressing of the SOS button in case the fall alert doesn’t trigger.
Communication-wise, its straightforward 2-way communication makes it easy for caregivers to locate and understand the situation of the user, should something happen; and that is a plus point!
Overall, aside from its setup, the device is easy to use and it’s definitely worth having for general safety and well-being.