Wearsafe Labs, creator of the wearable panic button for alerting friends and family when you're in danger, is launching an Apple Watch app.
The Watch app will function much like the tag, instantly sharing your GPS location with select contacts and providing an audio stream from the device. There will be a complication and an app on the watch, which you'll be able to tap to send an alert. Like the tag, it will send 60 seconds of buffered audio recorded before the button is pressed, so as to give the receiver more context for your situation.
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As we discovered in our chat with several companies about building personal safety wearables, context is one of the biggest challenges in emergency situations, as the person on the receiving end - whether it's a friend or a member of the emergency services - has to piece together a picture of what is happening, often from very little information.
There's also the problem of false alarms, and Wearsafe says its app will have a five-second countdown so you can cancel an alert that's been triggered accidentally.
The downside, of course, is battery life. Dedicated panic buttons are built to last a long time, often months to years; the Apple Watch might get you a day and a half. So it's not as reliable, but the upside is that it's one less thing to carry on your person if you're already wearing Apple's smartwatch on a daily basis.
The Watch will also need to be paired with your iPhone to work (until Apple launches the rumored LTE Apple Watch). Another nifty feature of Wearsafe is that it opens a group chat for your chosen contacts so they can talk to one another and work together on helping you out. Once you've sent an alert you'll get a small vibration to let you know your distress call has been received. You'll then get further vibrations to signify that people in your help network have viewed the alert. This feedback needs to be discreet, as you might be in a situation where you don't want to give away the fact you've called for help.
To use the app you'll need a Wearsafe subscription, and those start at $5 a month. Wearsafe is also sweetening the deal by throwing in a free tag unit for new subscribers.