Telus has launched a line of personal safety beacons disguised as charms.
The SmartWear Security charms, created in partnership with InvisaWear, allow the wearer to discreetly contact emergency services by double-tapping a button.
The charms, which are about the size of a Toonie, come in the form of necklaces, bracelets, keychains, or standalone charms. Prices start at C$99.
The devices connect to a smartphone through Bluetooth, and need an active cellular connection to contact emergency services. Additionally, the devices require a monthly monitoring subscription to work, a separate cost to carrier fees. The monitoring plan starts at C$12 per month per user.
Upon double-tapping the back of the device, the charms enter either 911 Dispatch Mode or Basic Mode. In 911 Dispatch mode, an operator will attempt to contact the wearer by phone or text. If the user cannot be reached, it will send emergency services to the location and contact up to five emergency contacts with the wearer’s location. Basic mode skips the operator and immediately sends emergency services to the wearer’s location and contacts their emergency contacts. Users can switch between modes in the phone’s app.
In addition to access to emergency services, the monthly monitoring plan also includes features like 24/7 phone access to a Telus emergency response agent, live chat SMS, and activity tracking, where an agent would track the user’s GPS location for up to four hours. The location data would be shared with law enforcement and the emergency contact if the user did not indicate that they’d reached safety.
The plan isn’t locked to Telus subscribers. Any customer on any carrier’s plan can purchase the device and service independently. The system would work as long as there’s an active cellular connection.
Wearers can also cancel the alarm in 911 Dispatch Mode by entering a PIN code within 15 seconds within the companion mobile app, or by explaining the mistake to the operator. Telus explained that in Basic Mode, a pop-up would appear at the bottom of the app home screen with a link to “cancel alert” vs. “dismiss” the message. If the customer dismisses the message, the pop-up will re-appear in the app until Cancelled.
For every new subscription, Telus pledges to donate a SmartWear device and a one-year subscription to the Telus Mobility for Good initiative that provides connectivity services to marginalized individuals.
In terms of battery life, Telus said that it would depend on usage, but that it’s designed to have long-lasting battery life. The mobile app would alert the user when the battery is low.
The devices are now available across Canada, except in Quebec.