A Whanganui-based personal security and health monitoring company has launched new products that provide two-way communication between individuals and the monitoring service.
GPSOS founder and chief executive officer Mark Simmonds launched the products at an event on Wednesday, July 31. Simmonds worked in the security industry for more than 40 years and was involved in the development of home detention for prisoners.
His interest in health monitoring came after a friend's father was unable to activate his standard medical pendant when he suffered a stroke.
"I was thinking there has to be a better way - and this idea grew from that," Simmonds said.
The GP7.0 watch and GP1000 pendant are different from standard medical alarms and are able to provide two-way communication, the person's location within 10 metres, fall detection and more features.
To support the product, GPSOS provides 24/7 monitoring services so if there is a problem, users can press the button to call for help and the GPS locator will allow GPSOS' team to direct emergency services or loved ones to locate them quickly.
"Almost every week we hear on the news that an Alzheimer's sufferer has gone missing," Simmonds said.
"This can be heartbreaking for family, and it's important to find the vulnerable person as quickly as possible as they are often just wearing pyjamas in the coldest of temperatures."
Simmonds was unable to source the product he wanted so he spent three years working alongside technology designers in the United States, China and Germany to create the GPSOS technology.
"A huge amount of work went into the design of the watch and pendant devices to create excellence. We do more than just monitor technology; we provide a welfare checking system and GPSOS is about providing care to people beyond the product and technology."
Simmonds said the technology could contribute to improving the quality of life for people throughout New Zealand who lived alone or were hesitant to go out by themselves.
The GPSOS watch can monitor blood pressure, heartbeat and blood oxygen levels. An alert is sent to the monitoring centre whenever any of these falls outside the person's normal range.
"As we age, there are many things that we give up," Simmonds said.
"One of those things doesn't have to be your freedom."
More information about GPSOS is available at https://gpsos.co.nz or phone 0800 115 906.