High-tech gadgets help with safety concerns

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High-tech gadgets help with safety concerns

From the time we leave home in the morning until we return home at night, our families go a hundred different directions. Keeping loved ones safe is a priority, but it’s not easy. Thankfully, the trend in high-tech “wearables” now goes beyond fitness bracelets and ear buds to include personal safety devices that connect us to a family member or emergency help with the touch of a button.

The GreatCall Splash with 5Star is an affordable medical alert service that is now offered with a slim and mobile device that works at home, across town and around the country. The Splash is waterproof and can be used in the shower in the event of a fall, and its advanced GPS technology can accurately pinpoint a location in an emergency. GreatCall’s care agents are certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, and are trained to provide you with the best possible help.

Our youngest family members are the ones we keep track of the most. The LG GizmoPal is a wearable accessory for children ages four and older that can easily make and receive calls to pre-programmed contacts with a single button. Parents can also locate the GizmoPal on a map from their smartphones, so you can make sure that your youngster safely arrived on their walk to a friend’s house. The GizmoPal is water-resistant, durable and fun to wear, making it perfect for any child, and it comes in either blue or pink.

Home security is as important as personal safety, that’s why home accessories like the Kevo Smart Lock and DropCam are great options. The Kevo Smart Lock detects when you and your smartphone are at your door, and unlocks with a single touch. Use the free mobile app to send, temporarily disable and delete eKeys that you’ve shared with others who need temporary access to your house.

DropCam allows you to keep an eye on your home, kids and pets even when you’re miles away. A built-in mic and speaker lets you connect instantly with two-way communication between you and your home. Set the motion-detection feature to capture pictures of movement inside your home when you’re away and to send you those photos by text or email when movement occurs.

Verizon offers a variety of devices to help increase security at home and provide loved ones with an additional tool for help in an emergency in addition to being able to locate family members. The FamilyBase system from Verizon gives parents insight and control over when, how and with whom their kids communicate on their smartphone or tablet, from identifying late night texting to controlling data usage by line. See a real-time dashboard of your child’s wireless usage and know when and how they use their phones and set controls or limits on data, voice and messaging and view a list of all the applications installed on your child’s device and which of those apps they use the most. FamilyBase lets you lock and unlock your child’s phone remotely, define restricted times of use and explore the contacts your kids have made, old and new.

From busy school days to after-school activities, your family is on the go. Know their locations right for your smartphone, whether they’re at the mall, on the soccer field or down the street. Family Locator provides precise locations, including address and a detailed map with turn-by-turn directions for your family members. Receive texts or emails when family members leave or arrive at selected locations such as school, work or home and schedule automatic updates and have Family Locator find your family members every day at a certain time and alert you with their locations.

There’s no replacement for active communication between loved ones, but the right pieces of technology can enhance our ability to protect our family, our home and ourselves.

This column was written by Verizon Oklahoma Technology expert Rick Urias.

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