PERS & mPERS: Get private and worthwhile with emergency response

Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems expand capabilities beyond the historical PERS market. See how the mPERS lone worker use case can boost your RMR.

Traditionally, Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) are mainly used in the senior market. Why? According to the US Census Bureau, more than 56 million adults ages 65 and older live in the United States, representing about 16.9% of the country’s population.

By 2030, when the last generation of baby boomers will age into adulthood, there will be more than 73.1 million older adults. This means that more than one in five people will reach retirement age. The total number of adults age 65 and older is projected to increase to an estimated 85.7 million by 2050 — about 22% of the total US population.

Of these, almost 90% of seniors want to remain in their own four walls and age in place. Aging in your own home promotes life satisfaction, a positive quality of life and self-esteem. It is important to be able to stay in your own home and to maintain a sense of independence. It allows seniors to maintain a high level of control, allowing them to continue living in familiar spaces and maintain routines while also contributing to their self-confidence.

There is no question that security is a basic need for adults to age in place. PERS is one of those tools that promotes security in retirement homes. Technology, like PERS devices, also gives extended family members the peace of mind that their loved ones can call for help at the touch of a button. PERS use continues to skyrocket, as does the elderly population.

Today’s PERS technologies must evolve to meet the demands of adult aging in place. The global PERS market in 2022 is estimated at US$8.2 billion and is projected to reach US$10.7 billion by 2026.

A more advanced technology, Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (mPERS), is a significant contributor to revenue and is the fastest growing segment compared to home PERS systems. This newer technology allows PERS to go beyond the confines of homes.

The improvement in mPERS technology means that a person wearing an mPERS device can get assistance anywhere there is a cellular connection. A person can be protected when running errands, going to the movies, taking a vacation, visiting a friend or family member, or doing anything else outside the confines of their primary residence.

MPERS devices also use GPS and WiFi technology to pinpoint the precise location of the user and cellular technology to connect to a central monitoring center. An mPERS device ensures users can call for help from their medical alert system at any time, whether at home or on the go. It is undisputed that PERS and mPERS can be essential for the safety of older people.

So far it is the classic usage for PERS and mPERS devices. However, mPERS is seeing its usage expand into a whole new market. It is being introduced in more and more markets, especially in the workplace, where commercial opportunities are growing for all ages and professions. Businesses around the world are looking at ways to protect their lone workers and are learning more about the protection today’s mPERS can offer their employees.

With mPERS devices like those from Anelto, a lone worker can add detailed information about the time of arrival and the time spent in a place for those who provide or perform services.

What is a lone worker?

A lone worker is a worker who performs an activity in isolation from other workers without close or direct supervision. These personnel may be at risk because there is no one to support them. Examples of lone workers are:

  • Home Healthcare Providers – Home Nurses, Physical Therapists, Certified Nursing Assistants and Private Providers
  • Social worker
  • Installers, service technicians, delivery drivers and truck drivers
  • Convenience store, liquor store and gas station employees and other retail store employees
  • real estate agents and brokers
  • Teachers, helpers and other classroom professionals
  • Construction, oil and gas workers

These examples show that mPERS offers enormous opportunities for lone workers. There are 53 million lone workers in the United States, Canada and Europe combined. This corresponds to around 15% of the total workforce. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 2.3 million work-related deaths each year.

Some statistics from show considerations for protecting lone workers:

  • 44% of workers say they face personal safety issues at their primary job.
  • 62% of social workers have been subjected to psychological aggression in the past year, and 86% have experienced it at some point in their career.
  • 15% of social workers have been physically assaulted by clients in the past year, with 30% having experienced it at some point in their career.
  • The turnover rate of home health care workers is as high as 75%.
  • 50% of retail workers killed are employed in nightspots such as liquor stores or gas stations alone.

The 2019 Broker Member Safety Report provides additional data:

  • 33% of real estate agents had an experience that made them fear for their safety.
  • 5% of real estate agents say they have been the victim of a crime at work.
  • 44% of members – 35% men and 49% women – carry self-defense weapons such as pepper spray, firearms and knives.

Because mPERS are standalone cellular devices, this solution allows for a quick push of a button in an emergency without being connected to a personal cellular phone. For example, a delivery truck driver may have a locator in the cab and a cell phone. But when they run to make a delivery, they can’t take their cell phone with them.

Or a home care worker has a recalcitrant patient or family member and can’t get their phone out of their pocket. What if a construction worker falls and can’t use a cell phone? The time to call an emergency call using a mobile phone takes much longer than pressing a single button on an mPERS device.

As an added benefit, mPERS devices can integrate two-way communication in the event that an employee is incapacitated and enable listening in. This would also be helpful in a locked down classroom situation. Monitoring or tracking lone workers is very different from monitoring them from a managerial perspective. It’s about keeping track of a lone worker’s location, progress, and safety when no one else is around.

Setting up a lone worker with an mPERS device could help a company establish routines and spot problems faster should they arise. With the added mobility, smaller units and longer battery life of mPERS and integration with apps like RemoteCare 24/7 and GPS, the solutions are more acceptable and effective than ever.

The mPERS technology in the hands of lone workers is the first piece of the puzzle. The other important piece is a central station to support lone workers in an emergency. (Image:

Central stations are indispensable

Having the mPERS technology in the hands of lone workers is the first piece of the puzzle. Another important building block is a central monitoring station to support lone workers in an emergency. Central stations provide workers and employers with that added reassurance by being able to track lone workers via GPS, communicate two-way with the person who needs assistance, and in an immediate situation, call the emergency response center to the exact location.

Some dedicated mPERS devices, like those from Anelto, offer additional benefits by having smaller programmable buttons. A lone worker can add detailed information about the arrival time and the time spent in a place for those who provide or provide services.

Today there are hundreds of monitoring stations across the US, Canada and Europe integrated with various types of mPERS devices, all with the same mission of protecting seniors and lone workers.

Lone worker programs can add RMR

Traditionally, mPERS monthly recurring revenue (RMR) ranges from $30 to $50 depending on the services and security features offered. mPERS devices are leased security alert systems that can be leased multiple times, extending that system’s profits and giving merchants ROI within months.

Additionally, due to the aging population, the PERS industry has typically seen medical alert device wear and tear of around 25% to 30% per year. With a lone worker program, we can expect the turnover rate to be much lower due to the younger age of the population and the way the systems are used.

There is a significant opportunity for hubs, vendors, and PERS technology partners to increase their revenue streams by incorporating a lone worker strategy into their platforms. Adding a lone worker safety alert program to your offerings gives your customers another product to help them stay safe while adding another profit center to your business.

Steve Anton is Vice President of PERS Sales at Anelto.

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