OwnFone has introduced launched a small GPS tracking device that enables wearers to be located at all times and to communicate over the mobile networks. The London-based manufacturer said it offers security to lone field workers and reassurance to the families of independent-living vulnerable people, such as those with dementia, strokes and other conditions.
The new lightweight, wearable unit includes features such as Google map location, speed sensors and fall detectors. It is able to operate on any UK mobile network and to roam between them in search of the strongest signal. Footprint is designed to not only keeps tabs on the wearer's location, but offers an SOS button and two-way, hands-free communication via its built-in speaker.
It can also send a text with location information if linked to a smartphone. For additional security, Footprint can be called silently if an operator believes the user may be in an emergency situation.
Footprint is IP66 waterproof rated and also BS8484 (lone worker device) certified. All units are fitted with a fully roaming SIM which searches for the strongest available mobile network signal. Data packages are available annually which allow for budget control and ease of administration.
OwnFone sales director, Sarah Watts, said: "OwnFone was already providing its specialist mobile phones to care services and individuals, and we were constantly being asked to add GPS tracking. Footprint is the answer. Lone workers out in the field, possibly in vulnerable situations, can have the assurance that someone knows where they are and is a single SOS button away.
“There is similar assurance for families of people affected by conditions such as dementia, strokes, age, learning disabilities and more, plus the knowledge that potentially injurious falls can be detected."
OwnFone's Footprint is already being used by Bracknell Forest Council and will shortly be rolled out across Essex by Provide CIC, for 500+ lone workers. As with all OwnFone products, each unit will be pre-configured by OwnFone so it is ready for immediate use.
Mike Fair, health and safety, resilience and security manager for Provide CIC, said: "We undertook an extensive trialling programme with various lone working companies who offered both lone working devices and mobile phone apps. Our staff found that the mobile phone device apps were hard to use, some require some knowledge of a smart phone and they also did not meet the British Standard for a lone worker device.
"We also found that some of the lone working devices on offer were difficult to use and didn't offer the reliability that was needed in an emergency. OwnFone, however, offered us a device which was easy to use, discreet, efficient, reliable and offered great value for money. The service received so far has been excellent and I am confident it will prove to be a reliable lone worker device for our staff."
For monitoring, OwnFone offers free-of-charge access to its web portal, which is held on a secure server to ensure protection of confidential data. As well as supplying its products, OwnFone offers a bespoke service to each customer to match their individual requirements.
Sarah Watts continued: "To meet requests for GPS tracking while conscious of budgets, we decided not add to the cost of OwnFone and instead to expand our portfolio with a stand-alone GPS product. Our core thinking at OwnFone is to give anyone the ability to have mobile communication in a cost effective way."
She concluded: "We believe that the product and the bespoke service we give to end users and telecare providers alike mean that OwnFone Footprint stands apart from any other GPS product available today."