Incident detection and SOS response smartwatches are excellent tools that can assist all types of people, from seniors to rock climbers.
This special feature allows a watch to send an SOS signal in the event of an accident, so you (or your loved one) won’t have to be concerned about getting into an accident alone.
Here, we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of the best incident detection and SOS response smartwatches of 2022. We’ll also review how these gadgets work and which brands to look for when making a purchase.
What Are Incident Detection and SOS Response Smartwatches?
An incident detection and SOS response (AKA fall detection) smartwatch watch is one that detects when you have fallen and sends an emergency signal to the appropriate authorities. Pre-programmed settings give the emergency crew access to crucial medical information about your health in the event of an emergency. It also keeps track of things like whether or not you’re allergic to certain medications.
Some watches with a cellular connection will call designated emergency contacts, alerting them to your location.
Aside from that, the device makes use of its built-in GPS to locate you and assign the appropriate team to your position.
Pros of Incident Detection Watches
- The use of incident detecting smartwatches is highly beneficial in an emergency situation
- These devices may make it easier for caregivers of the elderly to carry out their responsibilities
- In some cases, these smartwatches may be able to assist seniors in regaining some level of independence in their daily activities
- They are dependable devices that include helpful capabilities such as health, fitness and sleep tracking
Cons of Incident Detection Watches
- They are frequently more expensive than conventional smartwatches.
Apple Watch SE
With numerous features and perks, the Apple Watch SE is one of Apple’s best smartwatches. This high-quality watch offers Apple incident detection and can be used as a fall detector or medical warning device without the need for a smartphone or other electronic device.
It’s waterproof with an ergonomic design that provides greater comfort and durability over the long haul. Also featured in this watch is a powerful dual-core CPU as well as a built-in GPS for increased accuracy and navigation. Reading is easy and the experience is more engaging because of the device’s large retina display and user-friendly interface.
The most significant downside of this device is that it is more expensive than non-Apple options while also providing fewer features than many other brands. The latest Apple Series 7 and 6 can be used as electrocardiograms since they have an accurate blood oxygen sensor, something that the SE does not have.
- It’s a high-end timepiece that has fall detection technology as well as the capacity to send medical alerts to emergency responders
- This device can be used as a heart rate monitor or as a fitness tracker
- It’s easy to connect to iPhones and other Apple devices
- It has a dual-core processor and powerful GPS system built-in
- It’s made of a water-resistant material that is also comfortable
- This model does not include an ECG application or a blood oxygen sensor.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 is another excellent option if you’re seeking a high-quality incident detection and SOS response smartwatch. Though this isn’t the first Apple wristwatch to include a fall detection system as well as a medical alert system, it’s simple to use and quite dependable, which is especially important in an emergency situation.
Another advantage of this Apple Watch is that it is equipped with a highly accurate GPS. The display on this device is larger than that of ordinary smartwatches, making it simpler to read.
It’s possible to get hold of a refurbished version if you don’t have the funds for a brand new one.
- It is equipped with a very accurate GPS tracker
- Fitness trackers, fall detection devices, and medical warning systems are all standard
- Battery life is limited, which could be an issue in an emergency situation
The Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 is an older, but no less high-end smartwatch that can be used as a sleep monitor, compass, and fitness tracker, as well as for texting and receiving phone calls, among other things. It may also be used as an ECG, a fall detector, a medical warning system, and a blood oxygen sensor, to name a few of its applications.
The Apple Watch 6’s most significant drawback is that it is far more expensive than competing smartwatches and has a shorter battery life, with approximately only 17 hours of charge.
- This is a top-of-the-line device that has been constructed to be waterproof
- It performs a variety of functions, offering a fitness tracker, compass, ECG, blood oxygen sensor, and more
- High level of interoperability with Apple’s products
- Can be used to listen to music and as a voice assistant
- It is a more expensive alternative to other brands
- The battery life of this device is limited
How to Set Up Fall Detection on an Apple Watch
If your Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or later detects a hard fall when fall detection is enabled, it may link you to emergency services and send a message to your emergency contacts. If your Apple Watch senses a heavy fall and you have remained still for roughly a minute, it will tap your wrist, sound an alert, and then try to contact emergency services.
Fall detection is switched on automatically if the birthdate you specify when setting up your Apple Watch (or adding it to the Health app on your iPhone) shows that you are 55 or older. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 55, you may manually activate fall detection by completing the following:
On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.
Turn on Fall Detection by going to SOS > Fall Detection.
You may also use your iPhone to launch the Apple Watch app, hit My Watch, press Emergency SOS, and then switch on Fall Detection.
Note that if you disable wrist detection, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 and later will not try to contact emergency services even if a heavy impact fall is detected.
Choose “Always on” if you want fall detection on all the time, or “Just on during workouts” if you only want it on while you’re working out.
Fall detection during workouts is switched on automatically if you’re between the ages of 18 and 55 and setting up a new Apple Watch with watchOS 8.1. If you’re upgrading from an older version of watchOS, you’ll need to enable the functionality to detect heavy falls only during workouts.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the brand’s top-of-the-line timepiece and can be used for fall detection by connecting it to a compatible smartphone and downloading a fall detecting application. GPS allows it to be used as a precise fitness tracker as well.
With its light weight and small size, this gadget is comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Among other things, you may use it to keep track of how many calories you burn throughout the day as well as how far you walk and how well you sleep at night. As an additional plus, the battery life of this device is exceptionally long.
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- This Samsung watch is both powerful and precise in its performance.
- Exercise tracker, medical alert system, and fall detection system are all possible applications for this device.
- This style is quite comfortable.
- It may keep track of your sleeping patterns, as well as other aspects of your daily routine, for example.
- It can be used for an extended period of time on a single charge.
- The Samsung Galaxy fall detection system requires the use of a smartphone in order to function properly.
How to Set Up Fall Detection on a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Fall detection was first introduced in the Galaxy smartwatch line in 2020, and it was capable of detecting if the wearer had fallen down while exercising. On the Galaxy Watch 4, you can now set the sensitivity so that it can detect a fall even while you’re still standing. 2 In addition, the Galaxy Watch 4 may send an SOS notification to up to four pre-selected contacts.
Following the successful pairing of your Watch3 or Watch4 with your smartphone:
1. Launch the Wear application
2. Press the SOS button.
3. Enable the Detect Falls feature.
4. Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.
5. Select either Create Contact or Select from Contacts from the drop-down menu.
6. You may add up to four contacts at a time.
7. Designate a single contact for SOS calls.
8. If you take a heavy fall, your watch will notify you for 60 seconds with a pop-up sound and vibration.
9. Upon failure to answer, an SOS message with your current position will be sent to the person who has been designated as your SOS contact.
Garmin wearables are well-known for their high-quality hardware as well as unique features and benefits. It’s hardly surprising that certain Garmin models include fall detection. One thing to keep in mind: the brand calls it ‘incident detection,’ not ‘fall detection.’
The way they recognize incidents is similar to how other smart wristwatches detect falls. When the wearable detects an unexpected collision or slows down, it will send a message to your emergency contacts, including your contact information. Please keep in mind that in order to send the message, your Garmin wristwatch must be connected to your phone.
Which Garmins Have the Feature?
Select Garmin watches now provide new safety and tracking features that were previously unavailable.
The Vivoactive 3 Music, Fenix Plus Series, and Forerunner 645 Music wearables now have a variety of safety and tracking features, including support and incident detection.
Activating the paid option will quietly send a message with your real-time position to your preset selected contacts, making it simpler for emergency responders to locate you if anything happens while you’re out and about.
Even though Wi-Fi is not necessary, your smartphone must be with you at all times and Garmin Connect must be active in order for these wristwatch safety features to function properly.
How to Set Up Fall Detection on a Garmin Watch
Garmin Connect can broadcast your name and location (if accessible) to your emergency contacts when an incident is detected on your device. Garmin’s LiveTrack location tracking tool determines your location. During an activity, LiveTrack provides a real-time stream of your whereabouts.
In the Garmin Connect app, you must set up Incident Detection and emergency contacts. Below you’ll find information on which Activity Profiles on your device enable incident detection.
Activity-based apps that you acquire from the Connect IQ Store do not operate with incident detection.
A Few Things to Know
- The Garmin device must be linked via Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app on a compatible smartphone, or the Garmin device must have LTE service enabled (only available for select devices).
- If you’re using an iOS device, the Garmin Connect app must be running in the background and cannot be closed.
- The linked smartphone must have a cellular connection and a data plan from a phone network operator for non-LTE Garmin devices.
- When incident detection is on, the Garmin device must have a GPS signal.
- Text and/or email communications must be received by emergency contacts.
- Before you can utilize Incident Detection, you must first add emergency contacts to the Garmin Connect app.
How to Add Emergency Contacts to the Connect App
- Open the Garmin Connect app on your phone.
- Activate the menu.
- For Android, choose the Garmin Connect app menu icon (upper left).
- Select More on iOS (lower right).
- Select Safety & Tracking from the drop-down menu.
- Choose from the selection of safety features.
- Select My Information and fill in the blanks.
- Return to the previous page.
- Select the option to add an emergency contact.
- Select an option from the drop-down menu. If your emergency contact isn’t displayed, choose Choose Phone Contacts or Create Contact from the three dots in the top right corner.
- Select each contact from the list to check their contact details.
- To modify a contact, click the three dots in the top right corner.
Once emergency contacts have been set up in the Garmin Connect app and those contacts have been synced to the device, Incident Detection will be activated and ready to use with compatible Activity Profiles.
The HandsFree Smartwatch, which has a fall detection mechanism as well as medical alert technology, is a cost-effective solution for those looking for a straightforward smartwatch without a lot of bells and whistles. A monthly subscription is required for the fall detection and medical alert features, which does raise the total cost of the device significantly.
An experienced crew is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you in an emergency. Aside from keeping track of your heart rate throughout the day, this wristwatch can also function as a very accurate GPS tracker. A user-friendly user interface (UI) is also included with this device, which will make your whole experience much more enjoyable.
The most significant disadvantage is that it does not have the additional features that other fall detecting watches have. Furthermore, when used for lengthy periods of time, this model does not provide great durability or comfort.
- This form of medical warning and fall detection system is dependable and reliable.
- There is a 24-hour assistance line available in the event of an emergency.
- It can monitor and record your heart rate over the course of the day.
- It has the capability of serving as an accurate GPS tracker.
- You must pay a monthly charge in order to make use of the fall detection and medical alert services.
- This simple model has few features.
- Not designed for great durability.
GreatCall Lively Wearable
The GreatCall Lively Wearable is a medical alert watch that is especially suitable for the elderly. Autonomous fall detection, fitness monitoring, and a replaceable battery are all included at no additional charge. One of the characteristics that distinguish the Lively Wearable from its competitors is the ability to detect falls automatically, rather than only when a button is pressed.
The Lively Wearable is a wonderful alternative for seniors who enjoy being active. Additionally, it’s waterproof, so you can wear it anywhere, from your yard to the beach. Precision GPS monitoring ensures that, in the event of an emergency, emergency personnel will always be aware of your location and can respond accordingly.
A modest, straightforward design distinguishes the Lively Wearable from the competition. It never needs to be recharged, and comes with an app that allows you to set daily goals and challenges for yourself and others.
The Lively Wearable retails for under $50 and is one of the most affordable medical alert watches available on the market. The price of monthly monitoring starts at $14.99 per month.
- Quick response time.
- Caregivers can benefit from the use of a free app to assist them.
- Patients are connected with doctors and nurses through this one-of-a-kind service.
- Design that is both elegant and contemporary.
- A location detecting system may be used by both the response center and the caregivers.
- This device does not provide two-way communication.
- The design of the battery case could be improved.
- Not the best solution for seniors who have older smartphones, as it requires iOS 8.0 or Android 4.4 or later.
Frequently Asked Questions about Incident Detection Smartwatches
Below, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about smartwatches with incident detection, including which additional smartwatch brands offer this feature and how to set it up.
How Does the Fall Detection Algorithm Work?
Most devices with fall detection now use an algorithm that involves a combination of a simple threshold method and a hidden Markov model (HMM) that uses 3-axis acceleration to determine when someone falls.
The threshold method involves a three-axis accelerometer which uses a simple threshold to pick out possible falls by identifying changes in direction and acceleration by the device’s wearer.
This threshold is used in conjunction with two types of HMM to tell the difference between a fall and an activity of daily living (ADL). The combination of the simple threshold method and the HMM is more accurate and reliable than the simple threshold method alone.
What About Fitbit Incident Detection?
Fitbit, one of the most dependable brands in the smart wearable market, has released a line of cutting-edge smart wristwatches with a variety of features and functions. Pulse oximetry, skin temperature monitoring, and ECG are examples of their features.
Despite this, fall detection doesn’t appear to be available in Fitbit smartwatches.
We also contacted the company’s customer service for confirmation, since not having this capability in high-end Fitbit devices such as the Fitbit Sense is a disappointment. However, according to Fitbit’s customer service, none of their smartwatches have the capacity to detect falls.
Still, there’s a good probability the brand may include this feature in future product units. Given that Fitbit’s best-in-class wearables, such as the Fitbit Ionic and the Versa line, have the sensors needed to detect falls, such as a three-way accelerometer, adding this feature to future models is a no-brainer.
Does Huawei Offer Incident Detection?
In the smartwatch sector, Huawei isn’t yet well-known, though it is gaining attention in the U.S. for its smartphones. While it offers a variety of smartwatch product units with standard smart wristwatch features, it lacks sophisticated features such as ECG.
It’s no surprise, then, that the company’s wearable versions lack fall detection capability. As a result, if you need that feature on your wearable gadget, you’ll want to choose a different brand.
Do Xiaomi smartwatches have incident detection?
Do you know that Amazfit is Xiaomi’s partner and supplies the company with wearable technology?
According to various unauthorized sites, Amazfit smartwatches, such as the Amazfit Bip S, have the capacity to detect falls. However, neither the official website nor other reliable sources have mentioned whether or not this functionality is included in Amazfit smartwatches.
We also contacted the company’s customer service department to check whether their smart wristwatches include the feature. While they did confirm that fall detection is not offered on current Amazfit models, support personnel promised us that the development team will consider adding a fall detection feature to Amazfit smartwatches in the future.
TL;DR…Which Apple Watches Have Fall Detection?
If you have fall detection enabled on your Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or later, if your Apple Watch detects a hard fall, it may assist you in contacting emergency services and sending a notification to your emergency contacts.
Do You Need a Smartphone Connection for the Apple Watch to Detect Falls?
An Apple Watch does not need to be connected to a smartphone to detect falls. Nonetheless, by linking your watch to your iPhone, you can access a plethora of additional advanced features, including fitness tracking and sleep monitoring.
How Much Does an Incident Detection Watch Cost?
There are several different pricing ranges to choose from when purchasing a fall detection watch.
We recommend spending between $100 and $200 on an excellent fall detection watch. You can find lower priced options, but they will be less dependable and long-lasting in the long run, and won’t have as many or as useful features. Premium devices, such as the Apple Watch Series 5, offer even more extensive capabilities and a quicker CPU, but they are significantly more expensive than entry-level models.
Look for the Following Features in a Smartwatch with Incident Detection:
Whether you’re a senior, a serious athlete, or just safety-conscious, consider the following when purchasing a fall detection watch.
Easy to Use
Especially if the fall detection watch is for seniors or someone who has difficulty with technology, the device should be simple to operate. If you or the intended user you’re buying for is comfortable using Apple devices, an iOS smartwatch is a safe way to go, while Android users may have a smoother learning curve on a Wear OS smartwatch.
When it comes to wearable electronics that you’re spending significant money on, comfort is key. You should be able to wear the device for long periods without becoming uncomfortable, as a fall detecting watch won’t be able to do its job if you’re not wearing it.
Most smartwatches are equipped with a variety of features, such as heart rate monitors, GPS, fitness monitoring, and others. If you want additional features in your fall detection watch, you might consider purchasing a premium model.
Choosing the Best Incident Detection Smartwatch
So which SOS response or incident detection watch should you shell out for? In our opinion, a Samsung Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch are the best in this category because these high-quality devices use a large data set to pinpoint the exact location of the fall.
However, you should choose a fall detection smartwatch that is easy to use and, perhaps most importantly, comfortable to wear. For most people, the cheapest models are not recommended because they lack features such as medical alerts, a heart rate monitor, and long-lasting durability. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
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