CLICKING ON: Ian Kinny aboard his Yamaha touring motorcycle. His eButton emergency call system allows people to make contact on the road or in the bush as well as at home.
CLICKING ON: Ian Kinny aboard his Yamaha touring motorcycle. His eButton emergency call system allows people to make contact on the road or in the bush as well as at home. Belinda Scott

Push of an ebutton helps to save lives

IAN Kinny arrived on the Coffs Coast to carry out a work contract, but he and his wife fell in love with the place and decided to stay on.

In the process, they got to know their neighbours and it was thanks to one of those neighbours that Ian developed the eButton.

The semi-retired engineer with a special interest in digital technology was looking for a new project when his neighbour and friend had heart surgery and chafed at being restricted to his house in case he became faint and collapsed.

Ian, who enjoys motorcycle touring and walking the beach with Nelson the labradoodle, began hunting for solutions.

At the same time his mother, who had a home-based emergency call system, had the alert go off several times by accident and was upset when she was called by people she did not know.

"There was no mobile emergency call system available at that time," Ian said.

He decided to investigate a cutting-edge development, low-energy Bluetooth technology.

"It was a lot of fun- there was no documentation. No one knew anything about it, it was all researching on line," Ian said.

By the end of 2013, the first Android mobile phones which could use the new technology appeared on the market and in 2014 Ian launched eButton.

Today thousands of different smartphones use the technology and the eButton, a smartphone app linked to a tiny call button, has become a success story. Its applications have widened from being a mobile help button for seniors, to being a discreet help button for anyone who may need to call for assistance in a range of situations.

It may be professionals like doctors, nurses or lawyers who are alone in a room with a client who becomes threatening or unstable, or teenagers who find themselves in an uncomfortable situation - or at a party they want to leave. It may even be real estate agents taking a new client to inspect a vacant house. The majority of modern smartphones are compatible with the app, which teams with a fingernail-sized button which you can wear as a pendant or put in your pocket.

You then select your list of helpers - Ian suggests from three to five is a good number; add them to your call list and choose whether to add a siren sound or just send a text message. Once you press the eButton, the alert goes to the first person on your list. If he or she does not respond, the call goes to the next person until someone responds.

The eButton works up to15 metres away from your mobile phone and if you are moving, location updates are notified until the eButton is deactivated.

Unlike Vital call or other home-based help call systems, eButton allows you to roam and can be used in conjunction with home-based alarm systems.

It is also economical, costing just a one-off payment of $89.

And, yes, Ian's friend now has an eButton. Unfortunately, his mother did not live to see his success, but his 102-year-old father did.

Since 2014 Ian has talked to hundreds of people about their needs, helped them with their problems and continues to refine the technology he uses.

The saddest story he has heard was from a Sydney man who said he could not use eButton because he did not have a single friend or relative he could call in an emergency.

Further information

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