We interview Find-Me CEO BRUCE JEFFERS, who tells us about the revolutionary Carers Watch – a personal mobile emergency alert system designed to cater to both carers and wearers’ needs.
Do you mind telling us a little about yourself and your role at Find-Me, Bruce?
I’m CEO at Find-Me Technologies, working in conjunction with my business partner and Carers Watch inventor David Ingerson. My role involves business, growth and marketing strategies as well as preparing the business for raising capital investment. Prior to this, I’ve spent many years in some of Australia’s leading franchise groups driving their marketing and creative campaigns.
How long have you been involved with Find-Me?
I have been involved in the Find-Me project for the past three-and-a-half years.
Can you tell us how did the idea of Carers Watch generate in the first place?
The Carers’ Watch was first designed to assist the founder David Ingerson’s father, who was diagnosed with dementia. At the time his father was diagnosed, David searched the globe for a device that would protect his father and be easy to use should his father go wandering. In his search, David found that nothing like that existed. He then discussed his needs with leading dementia and aged care groups and started developing the Carers Watch.
The watch is an extremely helpful device – it pretty much covers all bases and includes the Safe Zone. Do you think it could have additional features?
We are in currently discussions with large national distributors regarding a new security version of the watch designed specifically to assist anyone whose job puts them in risk of danger. They can range from security guards right through to bus and taxi drivers – or even people jogging alone.
We’re currently designing and seeking investment for this version of the watch – which will also be waterproofed and will have an automatic fall sensor as well as all of the current version’s existing features.
Does it matter which mobile phone network you use when you connect your phone with the watch?
Your phone doesn’t get connected to the watch – the watch is itself a mobile device that will call any phone without the need for you to have a separate mobile phone. The key advantage of this is there is less risk of being removed from the device should an incident occur, which can be the case with a mobile phone.
Could you say there’s a lot of demand for the Carers Watch in Australian nursing homes – both among carers and wearers?
Independent figures show that 60% of dementia sufferers will wander during their illness. In Australia alone, there are 290,000 people diagnosed with dementia. The watch does not only benefit those living with dementia, but is often frequently used by those alone or the elderly. There are currently 2.7 million people in Australia aged over 65 and 4 million people in Australia are classified as having a disability.
The crucial part of the Carers Watch is the personal emergency alarm. Can you tell us more about this feature?
In the Carers Watch, when the alarm is pressed, the watch becomes a hands-free mobile phone that calls a predetermined number. In addition, the watch will also send a SMS as well as an email – both containing a map link and address where the alarm was activated to up to five chosen people. In the new security version, the watch will do this discreetly without anyone in the vicinity of an incident – apart from the wearer being made aware that the alert has been sent. The device can be programmed to contact any number including a 24-hour call centre or a head office to allow them to activate their emergency response plans.
Every three minutes, the watch sends to an updated location that allows an authorised user – usually a family member – to see where the wearer is. This means that the wearer is safe at all times – not just when the alarm is pushed. A simple safe zone allows automatic triggering should the wearer leave a preselected area.
Do Find-Me have any further creative plans mapped out at this stage?
We are currently talking to overseas companies in relation to potential distributorships and new markets.