Black & Decker has launched a new health division with a lineup of personal emergency response (PERS) wearables aimed at seniors. Called goVia, it includes devices that can be worn on the wrist or around the neck that can detect falls or allow seniors to call for aid via a monthly subscription powered by Medical Guardian.
The first device, called the goVia Mini ($125 on Amazon), has a battery life of five days and can be carried in bags or worn on belts or around the neck with an included lanyard. It comes with cellular coverage from Verizon's 4G LTE network along with location tracking via GPS, WiFi and triangulation. If the wearer encounters an emergency, they can press the call button and speak with an operator directly through the device. A responder can then come directly to their location.
The goVia Move ($75) works in a similar way, but offers portable wearable help buttons that can be worn on the wrist. In case of emergency, you can press on either the button on the Move device itself or the portable button, though the latter has to be within 300 feet of the main unit. That will again connect you to an operator directly through the device, who can then send help to your location determined by a GPS.
The $45 goVia Home Classic device connects to a landline rather than a cellular service and includes a neck pendant or wristband (with a 600 foot range) that can be used to call for help at the press of a button. Black & Decker Health also offers the $50 goVia Home Wireless version that uses AT&T's cellular services rather than a landline. Both offer a fall detection option (for an additional monthly cost) that can automatically detect motion changes caused by a fall and impact and automatically connect to emergency operators without the need for a landline.
While the devices themselves are relatively inexpensive, they all require monthly monitoring subscriptions provided by Medical Guardian that aren't cheap. The goVia Mini's service plan costs $39.95 per month, the goMove service is $44.95 a month, Home Classic is $29.95 monthly and Home Wireless is $34.95 per month, or $44.95 per month with fall detection.