Empowering the Special Needs Community
AngelSense’s Service Plan – Why Maximum Safety Costs More
There are two aspects to consider when researching GPS trackers for kids – the device and the service. Understanding the differences between the devices and service plans can get confusing, so we’ll walk you through it.
Comparing GPS Tracking Devices
While it is easy to compare device qualities like size and battery life these have very little to do with the actual benefits of the device. For instance, you may think a smaller device with the longest battery life is the best option, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a bigger battery is necessary for more frequent location updates and continuous monitoring, meaning the device has to be a bit bigger. We have a great blog post that discusses the 5 Reasons a Bigger Personal GPS Is Better for Your Special Needs Child.
Comparing GPS Tracking Monthly Subscription Service Plans
The most crucial aspect of any GPS tracking solution meant to protect your loved one is ‘how it works’ and ‘what does it actually do’ to keep them safe. To understand this we have to get a little technical and describe how the actual GPS service technology works and what makes AngelSense’s service different from other technologies out there.
How Do GPS Tracking Services Work?
Let’s start with a broad overview of what AngelSense is and how the tracking and safety device works. First, you have to have a device. We tested and continue to test devices all the time to ensure that we are able to offer the maximum amount of safety possible – Our loved ones have autism and special needs, so this is our top priority. Our 2020 version, for example, is a vast improvement from when we first started. It’s smaller, more powerful, and has a longer battery life.
The device is then worn by a child, teen, or adult who requires extra safety measures to protect them from wandering and/or getting lost. There are different ways the device can be worn, but AngelSense is the only GPS device that includes a wearing option that is non-removable and made for those with sensory sensitivities. We also offer optional wearing accessories as well that are all designed to be worn by those with special needs.
But the device alone is worthless without the monthly service and only the most advanced technology can truly protect your loved one. The monthly service fees vary between different companies because there is a big difference in what each service provides in terms of safety and protection. It isn’t just basic GPS service that AngelSense uses, it is GPS service combined with complex data analytics and features that are thoughtfully developed to provide the best safety solution available.
To achieve this, we rely on a large farm of highly secure data servers to process data analytics for each individual user so we can identify deviations from daily routines and eliminate GPS errors and false alerts. To ensure the highest level of security, availability, and reliability we pay a premium price for Amazon hosting. This keeps your personal data safe while we use it to run advanced algorithms to provide the most reliable and intelligent alerts when you need them the most.
GPS vs. WiFi vs. Bluetooth Trackers vs. Project Lifesaver (RFT)
There are devices that may not require a subscription service, however, they are not real GPS trackers. Tiles, bracelets or other RFT, WiFi and Bluetooth trackers are not even comparable to devices that use GPS service. While they may be great for locating lost keys, they aren’t really meant for protecting a human being. Even Project Lifesaver and other similar RFT options are only effective for locating a child that is within range of the location device and are only used once the child is already missing. They don’t alert you or provide any detailed location information. As we all know, in those situations every second counts and the options without a monthly service fee will not ensure that you find your loved one as soon as possible, if at all.
What Do All GPS Tracking Service Plans Include
To understand the difference between monthly service plans, let’s discuss the similarities first. When comparing different services, it is easy to use marketing terminology to make it seem like one service is the same as a competitor’s service. By reviewing the basic service that is included in each service plan, we can then dissect each component and dive into the real difference.
Standard GPS Tracking with Unlimited Range
GPS trackers are all able to track your loved one’s location and allow you to access that information from anywhere in the world. The real difference here involves the accuracy of your loved one’s location. Later on, we’ll go into detail to explain how AngelSense is able to provide the most accurate location as quickly as possible.
Basic Alerts For Predefined Geofences
When your child or loved one enters or leaves a place that has been manually added as a geofence (safe place with set boundaries like a school or home) GPS trackers will alert you when the child leaves the area. However, how geofences are defined, how accurate the boundaries are, and how reliably alerts happen can vary significantly. This is crucial and we’ll discuss the difference in detail when we go over the AngelSense iAlerts and automatic geofencing.
Access to Your Loved One’s Location by Multiple Caregivers
Most GPS services are set up to allow more than one guardian or family member to have access to the child’s device. Some, like AngelSense, allow you to give access to an unlimited number of guardians – creating a larger team to help find your loved one should they run off. AngelSense gives you the most control over guardians and can even automatically limit access based on certain days and times.
Voice Calls and Speakerphones
Although many devices don’t have this option at all, there are a few that have the ability to make and receive phone calls. However, AngelSense is the only one designed for those with special needs and is completely different from anything else out there – You’ll understand just how important this is when we explain below.
Transit Tracking for Bus and Car Rides
Tracking your child while they are on the bus or in a car is generally available from any GPS tracker, however, due to power-saving limitations, their ability to do so is insufficient – in addition, due to their limited battery capacity, they require you to turn on the functionality each time you want to access it. Only AngelSense offers unlimited, enhanced Safe Ride Monitoring that keeps your loved one safe every time they travel between safe places.
The Difference Between AngelSense and Basic GPS Trackers
Above we discussed some of the features that all GPS trackers offer, but what’s important is the differences. When your loved one’s safety is concerned, the last thing you want to do is compromise. Understanding these differences will help you to understand how our competitors can offer discounted monthly service plans, while only AngelSense provides the highest level of safety and well-being for our most vulnerable loved ones. It’s important to point out that all of our premium features, that are crucial for your loved one’s safety, are included in all of our service plans at no additional cost.
Assistive 2-Way Speakerphone
As you’ve gathered by now, one of the essential things that sets AngelSense apart from all other GPS devices is that it is specifically designed for those with autism and special needs. This is why our service plan includes voice minutes for the device’s built-in assistive speakerphone with 1-way and 2-way voice features. When you call your loved one’s device it automatically answers without them having to do anything at all. Giving you the ability to talk to them, or simply check-in and listen to what’s going on, even if they aren’t able to press a button or verbally speak.
The SOS Call Request feature was also designed with special needs in mind. To ensure that you only get notified when your loved one really needs you, there is a customizable button on the device. You can adjust the settings to allow them to press the button just once or a certain number of times in a row to send you a call request notification. This is a noninvasive way for them to let you know that they want you to call them, unlike basic tracking devices that call you directly every time the button is pushed – if your child has an obsessive nature you can only imagine how disruptive that could be. We also have a setting to stop alerting you if the button is pushed repeatedly within a certain amount of time, so you won’t be bombarded with notifications.
Reliable Safeguard GPS with Continuous Monitoring All Day
Many GPS tracking companies claim that their devices have live tracking – and this is true to some extent – but it is definitely misleading. Just because a device has the capability, doesn’t mean it is doing so continuously or consistently. In fact, smaller devices would quickly run out of battery if they truly provided continuous monitoring. They, therefore, merely provide the ability to turn it on in case of an emergency. The truth is they stay in sleep mode for most of the day and don’t monitor your loved one until they are woken up. This poses several issues. It takes a while for the device to wake up and even longer to access accurate location information. This delays the notification that your loved one has left a safe place and delays your ability to get to them as quickly as possible. You may be wondering why a company would do this when your child or loved one’s life is at stake and the answer is actually simple – They were designed for pets, typical kids, cars, and laptops, not to protect those who are unable to protect themselves.
The founders, and most of the employees, of AngelSense have children with autism or other special needs. We know how important it is for an autism GPS tracker to continuously monitor your loved one and provide accurate location information – ALL DAY. This is why we dedicate a lot of research, money, time, and testing to design and improve upon the most comprehensive and complex tracking system available. Where standard GPS service may be acceptable for others, we know that our loved ones require something more sophisticated, accurate, and reliable – because oftentimes, their lives depend on it.
AngelSense is the only GPS safety solution that monitors your loved one throughout the entire day – making it the most reliable tracker available. It also is the only one that uses Safeguard GPS technology to warn you of unexpected places and ensure that your loved one’s location is as accurate as possible, so you can pinpoint where they are and get to them as soon as possible. Our continuous, non-stop monitoring system allows us to provide several other safety features, including our intelligent iAlerts, that aren’t available from anyone else. We’ll go over some of those features now.
Unlimited Access to Detailed Location & Transit History
Because AngelSense is continuously monitoring your loved one’s location, we’re able to provide access to detailed information for the entire day, each and every day. This includes every location with exact times and every transit with routes, speed and more. This information is always available, so you can go back to any day and see where they were at what time.
This is so important when your loved one is unable to verbally communicate what happened throughout the day. They can’t tell you if their caregiver took them somewhere that wasn’t agreed upon, or that they were late to therapy, or if they were somewhere they shouldn’t have been and for how long. AngelSense becomes your eyes and ears when you’re not with them.
Location Activity Playback
Another feature that only AngelSense offers, is the ability to playback your loved one’s movement inside a geofence safe zone. This allows you to see if your child went outside for recess, if they went to therapy, or how much time they spent in the cafeteria during the school day. Monitoring your loved one’s behavior can help you detect potential issues, like bullying or exclusion from activities.
Step Counter for Each Location
While some GPS trackers provide step counter information for each day, AngelSense gives you the number of steps for each location. Once you have a baseline of your loved one’s normal activity level, you can quickly see if something is wrong. For instance, if your child is restless at school and begins pacing, you’ll see an increase in steps at that location. You’ll also be able to tell if they aren’t getting enough exercise and physical activity throughout the day.
Intelligent, Instant, Intuitive iAlerts
As we explained earlier, all GPS trackers provide ‘smart’ alerts when your loved one enters or leaves a predefined geofence. These basic alerts do not require the continuous, all day monitoring that allows AngelSense’s iAlerts to proactively protect your loved one. It is a bit complicated, but we’ll try to simplify it as much as possible so you’ll understand the difference and how valuable it is.
Technically, AngelSense runs advanced algorithms on Amazon’s large scale, powerful, and secure servers to continuously collect GPS data points to determine abnormalities. See, it’s complicated. But in real life what does this mean? Well, on an extremely simplified level it means that our AngelSense service is designed to learn your loved one’s routine and then detect when something doesn’t seem right. This gives us the ability to immediately alert you to potentially dangerous situations – no other GPS tracking device can do this.
Our intelligent iAlerts proactively let you know something is off BEFORE it becomes an emergency situation. Mistakes happen and with AngelSense you’ll be able to act more quickly and check to ensure that everything is ok. Like all of our safety features, our iAlerts are designed to address real-life situations we have found ourselves in. Here are some examples:
Late Departure Alerts
We experienced a few instances where our children or our customers’ children had accidentally been left behind at school. In some cases, they had missed the bus or a caregiver forgot to pick them up. Sometimes, it was simply a scheduling mishap. Whatever the reason, we knew that it was important that the guardian be notified as quickly as possible that their child or loved one was still somewhere they normally would have left. This is where our Late Departure Alerts come in and give you peace of mind knowing where your child is even if they’re just running late.
Late Arrival Alerts
Much like our late departure alerts, our proactive monitoring system allows us to notify you if your child or loved one doesn’t arrive to their desired location on time. Our loved ones are at the most risk during travel between safe places. Many times they are on the school bus alone and some of them are non-verbal or otherwise unable to tell a new bus driver where their bus stop is. It happens way too often that autistic and special needs children get off at the wrong stop or don’t get off the bus at all. Other times they get off at the correct stop but bolt before actually getting to their final destination. Only our late departure alerts can protect your loved one in these cases.
One of our customers even had her child brought to a public library and was left there alone by a school bus driver! Thankfully, her son had AngelSense on and she knew right away that something was wrong, giving her a head start to locate him and get to him asap.
Automatic Geofences and Unknown Place Alerts
As we mentioned, all GPS trackers provide basic alerts for arriving to and leaving known places, but what about places that are unknown or unexpected? At AngelSense, we weren’t satisfied with alerts for only certain places that had to be set up in advance. We wanted alerts for everywhere our loved ones found themselves. This technology is invaluable and only available with AngelSense. Imagine going to a grocery store or library that you haven’t set up as a known location. If your child took off wearing another device, you wouldn’t get an alert that they had eloped.
One of our newest features detects every place your child visits and automatically creates the best geofence boundaries for each place. Making AngelSense easier to use and more effective at notifying you of potential issues.
These alerts will warn you if your child doesn’t get on the bus, gets off the bus at school but elopes before going into the building, gets off the bus at the wrong stop, if the bus stops at an unexpected place or breaks down, or if something unimaginable happens. Here’s a real-life example of how AngelSense’s iAlerts saved the life of a girl who was kidnapped. Basic geofence alerts would have been useless in this situation.
Safe Ride Monitoring
As a parent of a child with autism or special needs, we are often torn between allowing them independence and not letting them out of our sight for even a minute. One decision that is usually a tough one is whether or not to let your child ride the school bus. From the moment our child leaves home until they get to school – and vice versa – is the most stressful time of the day for a lot of us. This is also true of any situation we let our child ride in a car, bus, or van without us. This is why we track every detail of every transit.
You can watch their route in real-time or go back and review the details of their transit history including the speed. You even get updated ETA information so you know when your child will arrive and can plan accordingly. The best part is that using the intelligent iAlert system we discussed earlier, you’ll know right away if your child gets off at the wrong location, if there are unexpected stops, or if the bus breaks down. All of this happens automatically for every ride your loved one takes. No one else provides as much information or as many safety measures as AngelSense.
There are so many benefits of being able to watch your child’s route on a live map. One of our moms noticed that the bus had taken an alternate route. Knowing this would cause their child anxiety they used the 2-way assistive speakerphone to proactively calm him before a full meltdown occurred. There are so many examples of how this feature alone has protected our customers’ little angels from wandering, bullying, abuse, and more.
Other Premium Safety Features
In addition to everything mentioned above, AngelSense also provides other premium safety features that are included in the monthly service subscription. Here are a few of them:
- Alarm – Activate an audible device alarm from anywhere to easily find a child who is hiding or in a crowd (other devices require you to be within range to activate it and are difficult to hear)
- First Responder Alert – Instantly notify a list of first responders that your loved one is missing with one click
- Share Location – Send a link to give temporary access to your loved one’s live location map
- My Location – Easily see where you are in relation to your loved one to get directions to them
- Runner Mode – Enhanced location monitoring for emergency situations
- Unlimited Alerts – Email and push alerts with SMS backup alerts when cellular coverage is poor
The Bottom Line
AngelSense is committed to providing the maximum protection possible so your loved one stays safe, giving you a little more peace of mind. We could offer a lower monthly service fee, but we wouldn’t be able to do this without compromising safety. As parents of children with autism, this has never been an option for us. However, we are aware of the financial strain that comes with caring for someone with special needs, so we are constantly looking for ways to add more value and make our device and service more affordable – but again, without compromising safety. This is also why we oftentimes offer our device at a discounted price that is less than what we pay for it.
Many of us have loved ones who cannot verbally communicate, who have no safety awareness at all, who are experts at hiding, and who have a tendency to wander or elope. No matter how many safety precautions we take, there’s always a lingering fear of that one heart-stopping moment when we lose sight of them and don’t know where they are. Our customers are constantly telling us how our GPS safety device and service has changed their lives. They can go out more, sleep better at night, and allow their loved ones more independence and freedom. They also love that they can get valuable insight into their loved one’s day and well-being.
No other device or service can offer the amount of care and protection needed for those who are most vulnerable. Our Customer Care Team uses AngelSense for their own children with special needs, they’re experts at using each safety feature and have tips and information that can only come with real-life experience. When you need assistance, you get to talk to someone who truly understands – not just a typical call center. From your private onboarding consultation to wearing assistance and tips to any other questions you have, they are more than happy to help you keep your loved one safe. They can even provide information on getting financial assistance and we have a team of School Liaisons dedicated to helping collaborate with your child’s school.