“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” Woodie Guthrie
The “I am okay” button
James is attracted to ideas that “challenge paradigms” and an example of this is his invention of the “I am okay” button in response to the limitations of the “panic button”, “PERS” or “Medical Alarm” often used by older people.
In 2003 James’ grandmother Eveline, who was in her 80’s, was involved in an accident that resulted in her breaking her arm. Shortly afterwards James suggested she got a panic button to wear round her neck or wrist to summon help in an emergency. Eveline rejected the idea and told James that she “wasn’t old enough to wear one of those things”.
This got James thinking about the usefulness of panic buttons and he discovered that most people who own them don’t have them within easy reach or can’t use them when they’re most needed anyway. Their value is often overstated.
It also seemed obvious to James that a panic button is useless when someone is incapacitated or unconscious because the user isn’t able to press it and that is potentially when they are most critically in need of help.
On that basis James felt a better approach would be to proactively establish contact with someone once or twice a day to confirm everything is okay. This style of contact could lead to a rescue of someone who was non-responsive and users could potentially enjoy and benefit from the increase in contact.
Keen to ensure users themselves could control the frequency of contact so the system would be attractive to the widest possible range of people James invented the “I am okay” button in 2004.
The “I am okay” button is now available as OkEachDay® from Alertacall®.
OkEachDay® is unique because it gives users freedom to get on with their day by allowing them to press the OkEachDay® button in their own time, human contact at an agreed time if they do not press and control over their contact levels.
Furthermore, because the user is stood by the OkEachDay® button when they press it – that provides the perfect opportunity to deliver a recorded message to the device creating an incredibly simple and effective way to get relevant news and information to users of the service of a daily basis.
In 2005 Alertacall started work on ContactSense™ a technology that detects changes in the trends of communication with OkEachDay® customers and that can be used to indicate whether there is a shift in the cognitive state or needs of customers in order to get them help when they need it.
The OkEachDay® button and ContactSense™ now improve safety, security and contact levels for thousands of people and help many progressive housing providers, public bodies and charities improve the lives of those they support.
James developed the “I am okay” button and the systems behind it in secrecy for 2 years – only telling his wife and a small selection of close friends.
When launched hundreds of “sector experts” told James “it would not work” and that “the idea would fail”. James ignored them and continued anyway.
James personally made 59,000 phone calls to customers and visited 500 of them in their homes so that he could understand their exact needs.
Satisfaction of customers using OkEachDay® is incredibly high with nearly 100% of users stating they would recommend the service to a friends.
The OkEachDay® button now helps tens of thousands of people and the company Alertacall® is awarding winning, invests extensively in its staff and is working on other ingenious technology to communicate with people at risk.