Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Bluetrack develops GPS belt for keeping tabs on dementia sufferers

Steve Rogerson
September 8, 2015
 
Elderly people suffering with dementia and other similar diseases are being urged to belt up with a GPS accessory from UK firm Bluetrack. The GPS tracker belt has been developed for those suffering from diseases that cause serious memory loss, and aims to help loved ones keep tabs on relatives at all times.
 
With more than 850,000 people suffering with dementia in the UK, and the number expected to rise dramatically over the coming years, the company says the belt could potentially keep thousands of vulnerable people safe, as well as offering peace of mind to concerned relatives and loved ones.
 
The Alzheimer’s Society notes that many people with dementia feel compelled to leave their homes to walk around – whether it’s for exercise, to relieve boredom or because of their memory loss. Unfortunately, for many of these people in vulnerable states, it isn’t safe for them to be out unaccompanied. The Bluetrack GPS tracker belt helps families find their loved ones more easily and return them to safety as quickly as possible.
 
“We developed the GPS tracker belt specifically for people suffering with some form of dementia or other memory loss,” said Keith Walker, Bluetrack support director. “It was actually down to high customer demand that the product came into being. We found ourselves fielding regular enquiries about whether we could manufacture a GPS device that could not be forgotten and required no input, and the belt seemed a perfect option. Putting on a belt is part of an everyday routine for many people, and with no overt markings, the tracker belt can be worn in complete confidence, remaining undetected most of the time.”
 
The belt looks and feels just like a normal belt, with a tiny hidden GPS device concealed within.
 
But Walker stressed: “It was not a simple case of getting a belt and slicing it open and inserting a tracker; we had to build the tracker from scratch, make it flexible and small including the battery. We then approached a high-class belt manufacturer to make bespoke belts around our devices in Italian leather. They come in various sizes and a choice of black or brown, with a silver or bronze buckle. It took months to create the product but they are selling like hot cakes. They are priced comparatively to our other devices but more fitting to the cause as they cannot be forgotten; they are fashionable, functional and do the job they are required to do.”
 
Conductive charging means the belt can simply be removed in the evening and rested on a special charging mat, where the battery is then restored to full. The tracker works in more than 220 countries, making it a perfect holiday accessory for those travelling with a dementia sufferer. A switch-off button makes it compliant with all safety regulations.
 
The statistics on dementia show a huge problem for UK health services, carers and families. The number of sufferers in the UK is set to rise to over one million by 2025, with one person developing dementia every three minutes on average. Two thirds of the cost of dementia is paid by those suffering and their families, but the financial aspects are just one of the many burdens faced by those living with the terrible illness.