Guest: Ian Kinny
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: After 30 years experience in the construction industry as a general manager on some major projects, Ian decided on a sea change. Ian filled his new found spare time following his life long passion of computer programing. When a neighbour needed a mobile solution for his emergency button Ian developed the world’s first low energy blue tooth mobile emergence device. The eButton is helping hospital in the home patients, seniors, the disabled, and those at threat of domestic violence to be in instant contact with their loved ones in cases of emergency.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we are joined by inventor of the eButton Ian Kinny to share the personal safety device’s history and various applications. Among its features is that one click sends a message to your help contact list. The eButton is light weight and has a sleek design. It runs on coin cell batteries, there are no ongoing fees, the location of the person needing assistance is sent to the help contact so they can easily come to their aid and it works where your mobile works with a range of up to 15 meters from your phone. It gives carers, parents and employers peace of mind. The eButton is very easy to use and understand. It gives users the freedom to live a social life with the peace of mind that help is at hand should a fall or other emergency occur.
Health Professional Radio – eButton
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today joins me from Australia in Sydney, he is Ian Kinny. And Ian’s here to talk about eButton, a product of the company at which he is the Founder and CEO AppAce Proprietary Limited. Ian welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Ian Kinny: Wayne, thanks very much for having me.
W: Now Ian tell us a little bit about what it is you do and what an eButton is and where about do you operate?
I: Alright. Our product is the eButton. eButton is a mobile personal alert system. It was originally developed for an elderly neighbor who’d undergone heart valve replacement surgery and who was experiencing fainting spells. The neighbor is socially active, still drives and lives alone. He and his family were looking for an alert that advised friends and family that he needed help and, importantly, gave his location because most days he’s not at home. So with the eButton you don’t need to touch your phone, your phone just needs to be within Bluetooth range of your eButton and one simple click of your eButton will alert friends, family, anyone in your support network, that you need help.
W: Now panic buttons are one kind or another that have been around for a long time, is it the phone that makes this different to the traditional distress button?
I: We think the major point of difference with our method is exactly that. Our eButton works wherever your mobile phone works. So you can be, these days, pretty much anywhere on the planet. You can let the people that are caring about you know that you need help and also let them know where you are. And in fact if you are moving, those people get an update to tell them that your location has changed.
W: Now Ian I am guessing if you’ve got a Nokia phone from 1990, it won’t have Bluetooth and that won’t work. Does this work on all the common smartphones?
I: The technology is relatively new so it’s available on all of the iPhones from iPhone 4s onwards. And it became available on most android phones throughout 2013-2014. When we first launched our android app in 2014 there were about 20 different models of android phone that had this technology. Today it is about 4,500 or more and up to 85% of android phones in circulation are compatible with the eButton.
W: Now Ian well you mentioned being within Bluetooth range. And for people who are not technically orientated or who have not tried this, practically what’s Bluetooth range?
I: Well in the case of the eButton and all of the current smartphones, it’s up to about 15 meters. It depends a bit on what’s in the environment, so if you’ve got lots of fringes or something between your phone and your eButton that would reduce the range, but in relatively clear space it’s up to about 15 meters.
W: So certainly if it’s in your purse or hand bag or pocket, it’s going to work.
I: Yeah, that’s right. I actually wear my eButton around my neck on a gold chain and it fits discreetly under my shirt or t-shirt so it’s easy to reach and click if I need it. And yeah the phone can be in your pocket. Inside in my home from where I typically charge my phone I’ve got coverage over most of my home.
W: Right. Now I guess one of the problems the radio is people can’t see what we’re talking about. Can you give us some of the dimensions and just how big this is? I know you say you wear it as a pendant, is it the sort of thing that fit on a key ring as a fob?
I: Ah yeah look, you could put it on the key ring. It’s about, an oval shape 60 millimeters by maybe 30 millimeters. To be perfectly honest some time back I did have the exact dimensions, it’s about 5 millimeters thick and weighs 12 grams.
W: Alright. So it’s quite small.
I: It’s quite small. The button that you click is quite tactile, you can easily feel that on this oval shape so that you don’t need to see it to handle the button. It gives a good click when you click it. And yes it’s very wearable, it’s very light, it’s discreet, concealable put it in your pocket, hang it. I’ve got some colleagues that like to hang the button from the belt loop on their trousers. I prefer to hang mine around my neck, I just find that more convenient and comfortable.
W: Now Ian is this something that you’ve got to plug in and charge when you charge your phone?
I: No. So this technology is low energy Bluetooth. The eButton runs on a coin cell battery, costs a couple of dollars maybe $3 in the supermarket, lasts about a year or more. And so every year or so you do need to change the battery, but basically that’s a pretty good life I think.
W: Yeah and pleasant to have something electronic that you don’t have to charge every 12 or 24 hours.
I: Yeah. Of course you got to keep your phone up and running, so you still got to manage your phone, but with the eButton we deliberately set out to find something that was going to be pretty low maintenance.
W: Now Ian what is the intelligence that’s in the app that drives this because it connects to the phone to an app? What can you do with the app?
I: Well the app records a bit of information about you, your first name and phone number. The app allows you to select contacts from your phone’s contact list, so you pull up the people that you want to send an alert to straight from your contact list on your phone. There is a screen that manages the connection to the eButton device. Once you’ve connected to the eButton basically you get to forget about it. If you get out of Bluetooth range, the button will beep to let you know that it’s been disconnected from the phone. The phone will get a notification. Come back into range it will automatically reconnect so there is not a lot you need to do. And there is one more thing that if the circumstances do arise and you do click your eButton and you start sending off help requests to your support network, sooner or later someone will come to the rescue and you want to deactivate the eButton. You want to stop sending help requests. So there is a screen there with a great big button on it that you tap that says ‘stop sending help messages.’ So it’s a pretty simple app, it’s a very simple set up. I’ve got people well into their 80’s that have taken to it like a duck to water and had no problems connecting and using their eButton. Primarily once you connect your eButton, you keep your phone in your pocket and there’s not much else to do. It’s not something that you play with constantly.
W: It does sound like you thought through a lot of the issues and solved them. Ian as a I might have mentioned in our preamble most of our audience are health professionals of one kind or another we get lot in aged care and a lot in acute care and hospitals. Is there a message you’d like them to get as a result of having heard you on Health Professional Radio today?
I: Yeah, well we see this as being particularly useful for people that maybe at risk in a health sense like may potentially suffer a heart attack or faint or things like that and need to rapidly contact someone. So with the eButton you just need to click the button, you don’t have to find the phone, open screens, find contacts or anything you just click the eButton. It’s affordable. At the moment we’ve got a special going. There is one off cost $89 and every year your battery replacement. There are no ongoing charges. It’s mobile. It works wherever your phone works. So if you’re not confined to home but you’ve got some sort of medical condition where you may need to use an emergency alert system, this one we think is certainly the most affordable answer on the market. It is easy to use, doesn’t require constant recharging, you can have many help contacts on a list as you like. You can have 3 or 33, it doesn’t matter and the big benefit of course is it tells those help contacts where you are and if you’re moving. So if you’re an active person with a bit of a condition where you may need this type of device you’re probably not gonna be at home when disaster strikes. You want to get quickly advice your support network that you want help and you want them to know where you are and I think that’s the take home message.
W: If you just joined us, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest today is Ian Kinny and we’re talking about eButton, a device that connects via your phone to alert others that you’re in some kind of distress. Ian in every industry there are misconceptions, is there a misconception about the eButton amongst your customers and clients that keep you awake at night?
I: Well we have had a few inquiries Wayne from people that think if the eButton will work on its own in the middle of nowhere.
I: So one misconception is that the button has the smarts. The button talks to your phone, the phone has the smarts so you’ve got to have the eButton and a compatible smartphone for the system to work. And I suppose the other one which we touched on earlier is does it work with all phones? As I mentioned it works with everything on the iPhone since iPhone 4s and certainly with the great bulk of android phones on the market today. So if people are interested and they’re not sure whether their phones are compatible, they can always come to our website send us message through our “Contact Us’ and we’ll investigate the phone for them in confirm whether it will work or not.
W: So Ian you mentioned the website, how do people get hold of you?
I: People just need to go to www.ebutton.com.au eButton is all one word, E B U double T O N dot com dot A U.
W: So for more information, head off to that website www.ebutton.com.au. There all links you need there to contact Ian and his team and they can check out your phone, they can verify whether it will work or not for you. Ian it’s been a pleasure having you here with us this morning on Health Professional Radio, thank you for your time.
I: Thank you Wayne.
W: If you’ve missed my conversation with Ian Kinny about the eButton this morning, the good news is we have a transcript on our website and you can also find the links there to an audio archive on YouTube and SoundCloud at the Health Professional Radio website www.hpr.fm. Thank you for listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.