Note: This blogpost is a translation from the German language article written by Lorenz Keller, published in Blick online edition on December 8th, 2015. The original version is at: http://www.blick.ch/life/digital/smartwatcher-sorgt-fuer-sicherheit-schweizer-killer-app-fuer-die-apple-watch-id4417387.html
SmartWatcher Takes Care of Safety
Finally a use that really makes sense: a Zurich-based startup has developed a free app that transforms a smartwatch into an emergency button and safety gadget.
The idea is as simple as it is clever and yet no one has thought of it until now. Why not integrate the smartwatch into an emergency alert system? One small startup from Zurich has done exactly this and developed an app.
“SmartWatcher” is the name of this application. It provides the ability to store up to 12 friends as so-called “Watchers”. With one click you can then trigger an alert on your mobile phone or smartwatch, and all contacts will receive a notification.
They see at a glance where the person who triggered the alert is located. And then they have a choice: with one click they can enquire what the problem is from the one requesting help. Or they can directly dispatch the emergency services.
The app is even able to be integrated directly into the Apple Watch’s customizable watch face. So you have an alarm button directly on your wrist. Not only is the watch beneficial to joggers or those doing outdoor sports, it’s also a stylish replacement for the existing emergency bracelets.
Another feature is “Continuous Safety Monitoring”. You enter a predefined time duration (in minutes or hours) and you’ll then be regularly reminded to confirm that you’re ok. In case you fail to do so, an alert will automatically be triggered. Using this, teenagers who are going out, for example, can be reminded that they should check in regularly.
Of course there are still certain limitations. You need to have Wi-Fi or mobile phone reception in order to trigger an alarm. Smartwatches therefore need a connection to the smartphone. And you have to actively trigger the alarm, something that is not possible in every emergency situation.
In the future, exactly these problems should be addressed. The developers in Switzerland are already working on the first designs. On the one hand, more smartwatches will be supported, including those with integrated SIM cards. On the other hand, the sensors of the devices will be used, to recognize attacks or accidents and be able to automatically trigger emergency calls. In addition, during an alert an audio connection will be opened, so that friends in the area are able to hear, meaning it would be easier to detect false alarms.
“SmartWatcher” can be downloaded as of now from the Google Play Store and iTunes. The app functions with a smartphone, but also with the Apple Watch. A version for Android Wear will follow soon.
The basic features are free. Whoever wants to use functions such as the Continuous Safety Monitoring feature pays 1 franc per month or 10 francs for one year.