REVIEWING: GPS Location Tracker Device for Loved Ones – Does It Really Work?
What are GPS location trackers?
They are devices which make use of the Global Positioning System (GPS ) to remotely pinpoint the location of an entity with the longitude, latitude, ground speed, and course direction. With GPS, it is possible to locate the device’s position with an accuracy between 100 to 10 meters for most devices.
What are they used for?
GPS tracking devices are useful for companies which need to track the location of their employees and they include the law enforcement professionals, firefighters, military personnel, transportation and large courier businesses. Aside from this, GPS tracking devices are also increasingly used by caregivers to keep their loved one safe and secure, especially for the elderly who are diagnosed with memory-related problems or Alzheimer’s. In this way, they can be easily located when they wander off or get lost in an unfamiliar place.
iHelp active elderly location and fall monitoring device
My search for a reliable active elderly location and fall monitoring device, leads me to the iHelp adult GPS tracker device, which meets my following needs:
1. Real-time status monitoring;
2. Comprehensive view of the route taken over a period of time;
3. Easy 2 way communication during emergency situations and;
4. The active fall detection, which will inform the caregivers when there is a fall.
How does the iHelp work?
Image from OMG
Handy and portable
The iHelp is a small, portable GPS tracking device which can be worn either around the neck, the armband, as a bag tag or keychain. It comes with thick silicon covering that makes it water and drop resistant.
SMS alert when fall is detected or when loved ones leave the premises
Aside from real-time location tracking, whenever the iHelp detects a fall, it automatically triggers an SMS alert and subsequently makes calls to 5 registered caregivers (sequentially). In addition, the SMS alert will also be sent when their loved ones leave the Geo-fence, a virtual perimeter set-up in the real-world geographic area.
Single-press to call
In addition, the iHelp functions as a handy single-press to call SOS device so that when the SOS button is pressed, iHelp also triggers the call to the caregivers, without the need to reach for a hand-phone to dial the contacts of the caregivers. The iHelp works with a normal (not data) SIM card since it functions like a handy walk-talkie too for the caregivers to communicate their loved ones directly.
Ease of device management via mobile application and website platform
The iHelp mobile application, the Smart-Tracking app, provides the caregivers a simple interface to check the location and manage tracking monitoring device easily. The list of basic features available in the app includes the following:
1. Configuration of Geo-fencing
Setups a virtual geographic parameter, and configure the iHelp to send an SMS notification to the list of caregivers when your loved one leaves the virtual parameter.
2. Activity Route
Maps out the exact route taken in between the dates and time specified.
3. Real time location tracker and contact
Establishes the location of your loved one in real-time and easily contact your loved one directly through the simple call function.
4. Configuration of caregivers details
Specifies up to 3 contact numbers of caregivers. The iHelp location and fall monitoring device will contact this list of caregivers when either your loved ones leaves the virtual parameter or had a fall.
The website platform provides a more comprehensive list of advanced features to manage the iHelp location and fall detection device. These features include the report and chart generation and hence only recommended for advanced users. Nevertheless, the features of the Smart-Tracking app is good enough to meet most of the needs.
Does iHelp perform well?
Overall, iHelp performed reasonably well and meet most of my expectations. Unfortunately, iHelp lacks in battery performance and here are the following observations…
Since Singapore is a concrete jungle, there is a slight time lag for the GPS to triangulate iHelp, pinpoint and transmit its location. Hence, the SMS notifications and calls are slightly delayed, around a minute or two.
2. A comprehensive view of the route
The Smart-Tracking mobile app shows the route taken on a specific date and the time period. Whilst the web platform allows for an advanced animation playback of the routes taken over a maximum of 1 week!
3. Easy 2-way communication
As most of the elderly have difficulty remembering or punching the contact numbers, the press to call an SOS function proved much faster and a breeze to use. Furthermore, the voice over the speaker is clear too. However, it takes a slight delay of 30 secs or so for the caregivers at the other end to receive the call.
4. Fairly accurate fall detection
Out of 5 times, iHelp is able to detect 4 simulated falls from waist high. However, the fall detection feature could be dependent on the angle and height from which iHelp is dropped from.
5. Poor battery performance
The iHelp battery depletes very fast and hence, it needs to be charged every night. It proves a problem when our loved ones, especially the elderly, forget to charge iHelp before they go to bed.