Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New Bell patent details LTE-connected smartband

Update: The news was first broken by The Logic. The author regrets failing to attribute to the correct sources.

A new Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) patent revealed that the telecommunication company is posing itself to target the wearable market.

Filed by Tony Hui, products and services development manager for Bell Canada (according to his LinkedIn profile), the new patent detailed a wearable device tailored to providing emergency services. The device would have sensors that measure heart rate, temperature, altimeter, accelerometer, and fall detection, among others. It could alert the user when it senses a dangerous environment or, in the case of an actual emergency, send out alerts on the user’s behalf. Moreover, the wearable may be configured with an SOS button.

By including a GPS, the device may also be used as a location tracker.

The patent document outlined a number of flexible parameters including form factor and display formats. For example, while it could be configured with an LED display, it could also rely solely on LED alert lights to conserve power.

The inventor also intended to leave the design aspect up to the various manufacturers provided that they meet the functional criteria.

While the market is in no short supply of robust smart wearables, BCE highlighted a common pitfall they share in its patent summary.

“Any of these wearable devices are also not able to independently connect to a cellular network and often require to be ‘paired’ with other devices or must communicate by alternative means, which may inhibit the device’s ability to communicate with remote devices, respond to an emergency, etc. As such, the functionality of existing wearable devices is limited.”

To mitigate this issue, BCE’s wearable patent explicitly required the device to be able to connect to a low power wide area network (such as LTE-M) without a parent device.

BCE hasn’t yet announced arrival time or any specific partnerships with device manufacturers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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