What is the difference between PERS and mPERS?

What is PERS?

Personal emergency response system, abbreviated as PERS, are devices that allow users to easily send an alert for help in an emergency. Depending on where you live, these devices go by a range of different names; from medical alarms, personal alarms, social alarms or telecare. PERS are designed to be used by at-risk populations, such as the elderly or people with disabilities. These systems should have simple to understand interfaces and robust functions for sending an alert in an emergency situation where a user doesn’t have time to think about complex functions.

The system typically consists of a few components, a wearable help device, typically in the form of a pendant or wristwatch. The wearable communicates wirelessly with a base unit (also called a Home Hub, or Alarm) that connects the user over a telecommunication network or Internet to an emergency responder such as a monitoring centre or family member. Additional wireless products can be added on to provide enhanced functions, such as environmental monitoring and automated alerting for smoke, fire or carbon monoxide. Along with assistive sensors to support people with conditions such as dementia or epilepsy.

PERS are home based and have a limited range of coverage between the wearable and the base unit. This make PERS most suitable for users who spend the majority of time at home.

On a side note: most countries have rigorous standards regarding the installation, product performance and monitoring of PERS in the home to ensure end user safety in situations that can be life threatening. When considering PERS products, check if the product meets the regional standards, (including industry body requirements), and ideally if has been independently certified as being compliant.

mPERS provides mobility

Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems, abbreviated as mPERS, typically refers to a portable wearable device that connects to the cellular network to send an alert for help and utilises the global positioning satellite (GPS) to locate the user. mPERS devices also offer the ability to communicate through a two-way speaker system which help to establish the level of support required. Depending on where you are located and how the devices are used, mPERS devices can be referred to as Wireless PERS, Cellular PERS, lone worker devices or personal duress alarms.

As mPERS adoption and mobility among that aging population increases, there have been improvements in the technology and features available. Many mPERS products now offer automated alerting when a fall is detected, or when a user leaves a pre-defined location.

There are a few important considerations to make when selecting an mPERS device:

1. What network will be most readily available?

  • The telco provider and the network (2G, 3G, 4G) should be selected based on the regional area that the user will be operating the device in most frequently. It is good to understand where they will use the device the majority of the time and choose the right SIM card to suit. 

2. How it will be worn or carried?

  • A discrete, light weight, and attractively designed device encourages the user to wear the device and take it with them.
  • Some functions are dependent on how the device is worn, consider what functions the user will require and how these could be impacted if you choose to keep an mPERS device in your pocket, verse around you neck. 
  • A user may have other electronic devices and medical implants, such as pacemakers, and electron magnetic compatibility (EMC) and required distance from these devices should be considered before selecting an mPERS product.

The ability to send an alert while out and about adds to the users feeling of safety, personal autonomy and independence. Increasingly, we hear stories of elderly users experiencing a boost in confidence and an ability to participate in activities that may have previously been avoided.

M/PERS combinations

As the ageing population increases in size and end user are more aware of PERS offerings, there are eve increasing technology advancements and support options becoming available. Chiptech have worked on providing a combo offering which includes an mPERS product that communicates with the base unit when at home and works as a standalone device when the user is out and about. 

The combo system has been designed to make the most out of the benefits of home based PERS and the flexibility of a mobile device.  Enthusiastically answering the question “Can I wear my pendant to the shops?” with a resounding YES! You can read more in a previous blog about how GO works when paired with a base

For more information on what Chiptech provide for PERS and mPERS devices please refer to our comparison tables on the product page, which outline all the key functions and features. 

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