Parks Associates Blog

Monday, February 09, 2009

Aerotel Bows GPS-enabled Personal Safety Solution GeoSKeeper

Israel-based medical diagnostic device and system maker Aerotel introduced GeoSKeeper, a new telecare safety monitoring system, to the market this month. Aerotel partners with GEBOA SA, a Switzerland-based security system distributor, to market the product under the brand AlarmTouch™ GPS in Europe. The solution is actually an enhanced personal emergency response system (PERS) with an embedded quad-band GSM/GPRS modem, a built-in speakerphone, and an active GPS receiver. If the wearer steps outside a specified zone, the system can send a short message (SMS) alert to a monitoring center and/or to a relative or caregiver. This watch-like product is an extension of the company’s AlarmTouch safety phone, and mainly targets seniors, children, and lone workers.

We are seeing more and more GPS-enabled tracking devices and services on the market as the cost of GPS technology drops and consumers’ awareness is on the rise. For instance, at this year’s CES, Zoombak demonstrated to me how its personal GPS locator helps users track seniors, teenagers, pets, and even properties like bikes or cars. It is of pager-size, weighs only 2.5 ounces and has an OK battery life—five-day standby time or 150 locates. It does not have an alarm button so it can’t be used as a PERS device. But users can specify safety zones and track users or properties on the Internet or on a mobile handset. The tracking service costs $14.99 per month and the device carries a standard price tag of $199.99. Both the Aerotel’s GeoSKeeper and Zoombak’s personal GPS locator belong to the “peace-of-mind” product category. It differs from other products in that the purchasers are often not the users of the device. As a result, product design and functions must appeal to both buyers and users, which can be quite a challenge to manufacturers and marketers of this product category.

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