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YourStride: Health-enhancing falls management technology

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YourStride

YourStride is a discreet personal alarm watch providing independence and peace of mind.

YourStride works anywhere, giving the wearer the freedom to shop, exercise and socialise, with 24/7 monitoring.

The watch also counts daily steps and measures heart rate and blood pressure, encouraging the wearer to lead an active life.

We called up YourStride Growth Marketing Manager Colin Andrade to learn more about the technology.

What inspired founders Adi and Ewan to create the YourStride Watch?

Prior to founding YourStride (previously known as Personal Alarm Watch), Adi and Ewan had spent the best part of a decade designing award winning technology for social good.

In fact, before YourStride was even an idea, they had already won the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 award for their work building technology for older people.

It was during this time that they realised how limiting the traditional pendant alarm can be.

Unfortunately, without an alternative people were essentially forced into wearing this antiquated bit of technology that the majority of its users actively disliked.

They found the red buttons to be stigmatising and it has barely changed in over 30 years.

The traditional pendant alarm only works within a short proximity of its accompanying base unit, essentially trapping wearers indoors.

In fact, as the base unit is typically where the speaker and microphone are housed, some pendant wearers are afraid to venture even as far as their garden!

The status quo clearly was not good enough, and it’s what ultimately led Adi and Ewan to create YourStride as a real, and improved, alternative.

What benefits does the YourStride watch offer users and their families/loved ones?

YourStride offers UK-wide, 24/7 emergency support at the push of a button.

Ultimately, though, it’s the resulting peace of mind and reassurance for both wearers and their loved ones that we name as the biggest benefit.

Just knowing that access to emergency help is always available encourages wearers to be more active, to go out and enjoy life.

In a recent survey we conducted, 97 per cent of customers said that they felt greater freedom since wearing a YourStride watch. That’s music to our ears.

A YourStride watch also includes a step-counter (again, to encourage activity), heart rate and blood pressure monitors.

It works anywhere in the UK, and has a dedicated 24/7 monitoring team ready to respond to any emergency.

What happens when a wearer presses the ‘SOS’ button?

We partner with an experienced, TSA-accredited, 24/7 personal alarm monitoring centre based in the UK.

When a customer raises the SOS by pressing the emergency button, they are connected to this team, and can have a 2-way conversation through their YourStride watch.

The monitoring team will then send the right help, whether that’s contacting the wearer’s pre-selected named contacts or the emergency services.

As the SOS button works anywhere in the UK, we can get help to people whether they are at home, at the shop, or even out climbing a mountain!

Tell us about the research process. How long did it take to go from concept to market?

The process took many years, and thousands of hours of research.

Adi and Ewan are committed to user centred design to ensure they learn from people and develop something that is genuinely useful.

In designing YourStride, they ran workshops, group sessions, and hundreds of interviews throughout the UK.

They spoke to potential wearers, their friends and family, as well as healthcare professionals. It was a long and arduous process but the results have made it all worthwhile.

How important was it for the watch to be discreet and customisable?

One of the major issues wearers had with the traditional, red-button alarm was its appearance. People said that it screams vulnerability.

We wanted to remove that stigma, so a discreet, regular looking smartwatch was a must. We want people to feel proud when wearing a YourStride watch, and the design plays a big part in that.

It’s why we’ve designed a number of colourful straps for customers to choose from. They can tailor it to match their preference.

Why did you decide to incorporate a step counter and blood pressure monitor?

During our initial user-centred development process, we evaluated lots of different options and technologies and we found there was a real demand to be able to do more with the watch than just raise an alarm.

Hence the date and time, steps, heart rate and blood pressure monitor.

Our customers say it helps them to stay active. A loss in independence can result in depression or a detrimental impact on physical health.

The YourStride Alarm Watch gives wearers their independence back, and a step-counter (plus the other health tools) allows them to measure and improve their physical activity over time.

How do you ensure that user GPS data is secure?

To maximise security and privacy, the YourStride watch doesn’t send continual GPS data as other trackers do. Instead, it transmits GPS data at the time of the emergency.

This enables the emergency services to quickly locate where their help is needed without tracking people going about their day to day activities.

We use industry best practices to ensure data is transmitted and stored securely and our monitoring team is accredited to the highest standards by the TSA.

Do you have any plans to add a fall detector or any other functions?

As we are focussed on delivering the best possible service, we will not add automatic fall detection until the technology is sufficiently reliable.

We’ve spent countless hours testing the technology and, right now, we are unhappy with the sensitivity of fall detectors.

With the current technology, SOS calls are constantly being made (despite no fall having taken place), causing undue panic and concern for all involved.

The automatic fall detectors that avoid this issue (due to lower sensitivity) tend to miss falls altogether!

Whilst we would love to add an automatic fall detector at some point, adding one using today’s technology would simply result in an inferior product and experience for our customers.

We have an exciting roadmap of new features that we are always working on. We focus on what we can do to help more people stay active and independent.

This continual improvement means we can continue offering the best possible device to help people stay safe and well for as long as possible.

This is an excerpt from our Special Report – Falls Management: Innovations for an Ageing Population

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