When choosing a device for personal safety, it is essential to consider the needs of a person using it. The personal safety of people who live alone will be our focus; check out our previous article on five must-have apps for them. But the specific situation also matters. For example, for the security of people with chronic illnesses, a system with inactivity monitoring is handy.
Other essential features include an SOS button, audio & video connection, GPS location tracking, text messages, etc. These features impact the price of the device or app. Today we’ll zoom in on the prices and possibilities of personal safety devices and personal safety apps to help you choose the most suitable one and avoid hidden costs.
Depending on their subcategory and primary purpose, personal safety apps and devices offer different features.
Fall Detection. Fall detection is usually offered within the med-alerts or medical monitoring systems aimed at seniors. The newer series of wearable devices like Apple Watch 4 or later also already include detectors of a hard fall and can help connect you to emergency services.
Panic Button. For some personal safety systems, a panic button is a primary device. The system may include several buttons: one in the shower, another one near your bed, or on your wristband. All you need is to push the button. It connects you with the emergency response center or your emergency contacts, depending on the settings. A more lightweight option is a panic button app. Then, you don’t have to wear a separate physical button as you can press one on a smartphone screen instead. The problem is, in some cases, a person cannot press the panic button after a fall or loss of consciousness. Despite the importance of panic buttons, their effectiveness remains imperfect.
Inactivity Monitoring. This feature may come as a part of a multi-device remote monitoring medical system, but there is a much easier and less bulky alternative when it’s an app installed on a person’s smartphone. You don't have to do anything extra to use this feature: we use smartphones a lot anyway. After the usual sleep and awake hours are set, the app will monitor the unusual inactivity to send an alert to your emergency contacts if it lasts.
Real-Time GPS Monitoring. Real-time GPS location tracking is an important feature of safety apps for children, which helps with the loved ones' current location. On the other hand, adults may not like this kind of monitoring. Therefore, a great solution would be an app that tracks the location only during the accident alert and does not create a sense of intrusive supervision.
Text Messages. Some personal safety apps include the possibility of text messaging. For example, you can set the time you plan to go out, and the app will send you a message after this time passes. If you don't respond, it sends another message to your emergency contacts. Some systems also give a personal emergency code and alert your emergency contacts if you enter the code. However, entering the text is a relatively slow process, and you need time and access to the keyboard. In dangerous situations, you're not likely to have all these conditions. So we can reasonably say that pepper spray in a dark alley may be more effective.
Video and audio calling. Another way to call for help is a live video of the scene, along with the coordinates of the location. With the black screen feature that allows you to record video discreetly, this feature can be handy in some cases. But it also requires the active participation of the smartphone owner and is not very helpful in medical emergencies.
After listing the possible features and their usefulness for specific situations, let's consider popular personal security apps. By studying their benefits and comparing prices, you will be able to choose the best one for your loved ones.
Kitestring App. Designed mainly for women who come home late, the app can come in handy for anyone who finds themselves in an unpleasant, unsafe place. The app's main focus is text messaging and the ability to inform emergency contacts about an incident.
The free version is available, but it includes only three monitored trips and one emergency contact to inform.
Life Alert App. The Panic Button is its central part. With a basic unit connected to the cell phone, you can locate the buttons in slippy shower rooms or bedrooms in the most dangerous places. Pushing the panic button will inform the response center that sends paramedics to you as soon as possible. With a help-on-the-go service, a button is on your wristband or necklace. And the emergency response center is just a touch away. One of the most popular personal protection systems for seniors in the United States, Life Alert App is rather costly.
iMedAlert App. A distress alarm/alert is its distinctive feature. It's a sound signal that attracts attention to a person trapped or injured and unable to shout. Other benefits are:
creating a medical profile and synchronizing it with the data on Google Drive,
sending emergency SMS and emergency emails,
sending the location and medical profile.
iMedAlert app also synchronizes with emergency services, and you can send alerts to them, too.
Guardian App is accessible and cheap, but its functionality is somewhat limited. It is actually an alarm button on a smartphone.
Philips Lifeline has nationwide coverage, fall detection feature, advanced GPS and Wi-Fi location tracking, cellular and landline monitoring. The price depends on the alert plan, but it's one of the most expensive personal safety systems.
Bay Alarm Medical offers different devices for personal safety. All of them are versions of the panic button, differentiated by position: in-home medical alert system, GPS help button, SOS smartwatch, Auto fall detection device. Depending on the system configuration, the monthly price starts from $21.95.
AllsWellAlert App does not force you to stay at home and gives you peace of mind about the health and safety of your loved ones. No need for any additional devices, a landline phone, etc. The usefulness and convenience of the panic button are always in your smartphone. Inactivity monitoring will save in cases when there is no possibility to report your condition and location. All of the features are available for $10/month with a free first month as a trial period.
The table will help you compare personal security apps even more clearly, comparing them by the main parameters:
|Home hardware||Pendants/buttons||Coverage||GPS Tracking||Inactivity monitoring||Monthly fee||Initiation fee||Free trial|
|AllsWellAlert||no||no||wherever the phone is connected||yes||yes||$9.99||no||yes|
|KiteString||no||no||wherever the phone is connected||yes||no||$3||no||yes|
|Life Alert||yes||yes||at home||yes||no||from $29.95||$95||no|
|iMedAlert||no||yes||wherever the phone is connected||no||no||$5.99||no||no|
|Philips Lifeline||yes||yes||at home||n/a||no||from $29.95||$71.95||no|
|Bay Alarm Medical||yes||yes||at home||yes||no||from $21.95||no||yes|
You can save even more money with AllsWellAlert prepaid plans: the yearly plan will cost you $100 instead of $120, and the 2-year payment will cost you $150 instead of $240.
That way, you will have peace of mind about the safety of your loved ones, and your relatives who live alone can stay active and know that help is close by.
Of course, you can only get an entire idea of the benefits of unobtrusive monitoring by trying the AllsWellAlert App. A free month will give you such an opportunity. So why not download it for your iOS or Android device right now?