Smartwatches may be all the rage in the wearable technology segment, but most of them are too expensive for what they offer. Chirag Jagtiani, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur, has developed an inexpensive wristband — Spotnsave — that lets you send an SOS message to friends and family.
In India, this wearable security device may fare better than smartwatches. Priced at $37 (Rs 2,300), the wristband lets you activate Spotnsave’s emergency alert system without touching your phone.
All you need to do is install the Spotnsave app on your Android phone (http://is.gd/pIzWXd), choose up to four guardians and pair it with the wristband via Bluetooth. It will take some time to set this up, but the app is easy to use once you do that.
There are several safety apps for almost all smartphones. Some telecom operators even lets you subscribe to an SMS-based emergency alert service for a nominal fee. All of these services need you to activate the alert using your smartphone.
What if you can’t reach your smartphone fast enough? It is for these situations that you might want to try Spotnsave’s Bluetooth wristband. To activate the emergency alert, you will have to press a button on the wristband twice. The app will then send an SMS every two minutes to your guardians. This SMS tells them that you need help and has your location coordinates.
Jagtiani says, “We have tried to ensure that you don’t accidentally activate the emergency alert. You’ll have to tap the button twice in quick succession. The wristband is used only to activate the SOS alert through the app. Alerts are sent out through the app.”
We used this wristband for a couple of weeks and found that it works as advertised. However, there are a few areas that need improvement.
The wristband houses a pen drive-like Bluetooth module that has a button to activate alerts. This module pops out if you twist the wristband. Some people might lose the module. To fix this issue, Jagtiani says his company is working on a waterproof variant of the band, which will be fully sealed.
The second issue I faced during testing is subjective. The band has a steel hook that slots into holes on the band, similar to the design seen in some watches. I don’t normally wear watches because I don’t like anything that dangles off my wrist. This means that when I wear a watch or a wristband, I make sure that it is tight enough to stop moving. When I did this with the Spotnsave band, the steel protrusions dug into my wrist, which wasn’t comfortable.
Just to be sure, I asked a colleague to wear the band. She wears a watch regularly and is allergic to metal. After wearing it for a few hours, she felt the band was comfortable and convenient. It was able to pair quickly with her phone and almost always sent alerts instantly.
As of now, there’s no way to know whether the band has sent an alert or not. It would be great if the band would vibrate once to confirm that an alert has been sent. That said, Spotnsave also allows you to send alerts by pressing your phone’s power button twice. This is a lot more convenient than using the wristband. But the wristband doesn’t look like a safety device and isn’t even something anyone would consider stealing. That is a major advantage as in an emergency, attackers might snatch your phone and valuables first.
The Spotnsave wristband lasts around 16-18 hours on a single charge. That’s satisfactory, considering the size of the device. It uses a port smaller than the standard microUSB charging port on most Android phones. You’ll have to carry an extra cable to charge the band, which is a bit of a let down.
Going forward, Jagtiani says he plans to add a battery level indicator on the wristband. “The band is more or less a complete product. A microUSB cable would make the product larger. We chose the smaller port to keep it as small as possible. Here on, we are planning to add a push-to-talk feature on the app, along with a feature that lets you report crimes within the app itself.”
The Spotnsave team is working on apps for iPhone and Windows Phone. iPhone users will be sold a pendant, which can be worn around the neck, instead of the wristband.
Estimated street price: Rs 2,300