The Teleasistencia @ TIC + application developed by the Magtel Foundation is the example of a free, simple, useful and functioning application. That said, in the following lines we analyze in depth its functionalities highlighting its points to improve and its strengths.
The application facilitates the communication of emergency situations of dependents to their caregiver or family member. In turn, the application provides autonomy to perform daily tasks such as showering, or remember the way home.
Main menu options
In this menu, the trusted contact of the family member or caregiver to whom the alert messages are sent is configured.
During the tests we have had problems with some terminal models to assign the contacts since the phonebook of each phone model is used. At this point, we would recommend making this functionality independent of the agenda of each terminal model, allowing you to enter the destination number in the application itself. In case of encountering problems, we recommend saving the contact in the calendar in the category (mobile) because if the number is stored in other categories it can generate problems.
Main alarm button
The main function of the application is presented as a warning button in the center of the screen that serves to send a predefined text message with the attached location in case of emergency. There is a period of 3 seconds that allows canceling the alarm in case the user detects that he has pressed it by mistake.
The GPS location sent together with each SMS allows you to identify the points where an alarm is recorded clearly and easily through a Google maps link.
The inclusion of voice and text confirmation of the actions of the alarm message sent or alarm canceled is a very appropriate option. In this case, it would also be interesting to be able to associate vibration patterns both to confirm that the button has been pressed and to confirm the sending of alert messages.
Warning “I am OK”
At the same time, there is a green button that lets the caregiver know that everything is fine and in turn sends the location of the user. This functionality is of interest to communicate various situations such as arrival at home or other locations.
The shower mode is one of the greatest successes of this application. Since a high number of incidents in elderly and dependent occurs in the field of bathing. The fact of providing a mechanism of alerts is a great help and brings peace of mind to the user and caregiver. The shower mode allows you to set and activate a timer before showering. If after that period the user has not deactivated the shower mode, an alert message is sent to the caretaker. In the last seconds of the established period there is a beep that reminds the user of his deactivation in case of forgetting to avoid generating false alarms.
The guidance functionality links a menu button to a Google maps route that leads to the address previously set in the configuration section. This functionality is very useful in case the user is confused or lost.
Other configurable options
In addition to the main menu functions, there are other functionalities that can be activated from the configuration menu.
The possibility of being able to generate a security area is a very useful functionality and allows to delimit in a simple way a variable area around a specific point on the map to activate an alarm in case the person leaves this delimited space. This function is disabled by default and must be activated in the configuration menu.
There is also a very useful functionality in which you can determine a battery level from which you want to notify the caregiver by SMS. This functional allows that when the battery level is reduced the caretaker can warn the user to put the mobile terminal to charge. This functionality is disabled by default and must be activated in the configuration menu.
This functionality allows you to activate the hands-free mode so that the person can communicate at a relative distance in case of receiving a call and not having the terminal in your hand for any circumstance. This functionality is disabled by default and must be activated in the configuration menu.
The detection of falls does not work reliably on all occasions, but we have managed to detect some impacts. This does not surprise us since the level of reliability of all the applications of detection of falls is usually low and depends to a great extent on the quality of the accelerometer or gyroscope of the used telephone. This function is disabled by default and must be activated in the configuration menu.
Call main contact
This functionality simplifies the direct call to the contact of interest previously configured in the contacts section by pressing the call icon of the main menu.
The alarm communication system through SMS is highly reliable provided that mobile coverage is available, not having failed in any of the cases tested during our analysis. The only drawback is the cost associated with these messages, although most operators currently do not charge abusively for the use of text messages at an average of € 0.12 / message or are even included in the rates flat of the different contracts. However, we know that developers are working on a new version that sends messages via 3G and 4G avoiding the cost associated with sending SMS.
Design, organization and access methods
The design of the application is simple and practical, identifying all the important functionalities with a representative image or pictogram.
It is very appropriate that some features are read with voice as the modes or message sent automatically. In any case, labeling is missing in the buttons of the main menu for screen reader. Also, it would be nice to include pulsation confirmation by vibration.
Another fundamental thing to implement would be to facilitate that the application can always run in the foreground on the phone so that the user does not have to worry in an emergency to find the application if it has gone into the background for any reason .
In summary, we can say that the application is a great ally of the elderly or dependent even of those vulnerable people such as women victims of gender violence or children who can make use of the alarm features in dangerous situations. Its functionalities are very well organized and identified and the reliability of sending alarms is high.
Next, we detail the highlights and improvement points.
- The utility of all its functionalities, no surplus and no lack
- Its simple implementation
- Reliability in all your alarms and communication
- Its free, with the only cost of SMS sent.
- The need to use SMS is a cost to the user, although on the other hand it supposes a reliable communication system.
- Some accessibility points such as the lack of vibration to confirm pulsations and alarms, and the lack of labeling for screen readers of the functionalities of the main menu buttons
- It would be important to be able to easily configure it as a foreground application to be executed when the phone is turned on and the button is always present.
- Some configuration problems of the contact menu with certain Smartphone models.