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Fall Monitoring and The Evolution from PERS to mPERS

Nov 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM

From the 1970s until around 2007, not much had changed in the PERS industry. The very first device used a pendant and a rotary phone, connected to landline, to call a single contact when the pendant button was pressed. Minus the rotary phone and single contact––that’s pretty much what fall monitoring devices were until mPERS started to make its way into the marketplace and start a massive evolution in the industry.

Landlines To Mobile

AvantGuard Monitoring Centers have seen a massive shift in their PERS to mPERS subscribership in the past seven years. Pre-2012, less than 1% of subscribers were mobile PERS users, now over 75% of the subscriber base makes up mobile users. So, how did we get here?

Cellular technology is the main culprit for the shift we see in fall monitoring devices. Sure, cell phones have been around much longer than the last seven years, but PERS devices implementing cell phone technology became a game changer. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the United States no longer uses a landline. Previous iterations of PERS devices needed a landline to connect the device, but since landlines were going away, the technology had to change.

Cellular technology was implemented by updating existing devices with cellular radios instead of needing to use landlines. But since mPERS are meant to be mobile (worn outside of the home), it was important to add location services to the devices so EMS could locate users in the event of an accident.

Cellular vs. GPS

It started with 2G and 3G technology. This cell technology was the first networks to provide extensive cell coverage for mobile PERS users. Now, with the sunset of 2G and 3G technology, 4G LTE provides better coverage and faster signal times for mPERS users. 3G networks are still in use, but could be completely obsolete by the end of 2021.

GPS technology helps located mPERS users, especially when they are in rural areas. GPS uses satellites that orbit the Earth to triangulate the location of users. So, why would you need cellular location services if your mPERS has GPS technology?

Cellular technology picks up where GPS lacks. When a user is in heavily populated areas, tall buildings or other obstructions can hinder GPS from locating a user. This is especially apparent when a user is inside of a multistory building. GPS can’t track where a person is inside of a building, but cellular or Wi-Fi location services can. Cellular technology uses public information from cell towers and Wi-Fi access points to pinpoint the user’s location. This can usually triangulate a user’s location within a couple of feet. The combination of the two technologies can make location services very accurate for mPERS device users.

The Continuing Expansion of mPERS

The expansion of the PERS industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. In 2015, the market was estimated over 5 billion dollars. By 2022, that is estimated to jump to a whopping 8.6 billion. This is because of a few factors: people are living longer, mPERs devices are getting more wearable (watches and smaller pendants), and the Lone Worker segment is growing.

By 2022, the lone worker segment is estimated to hit 260 million people in both the United States and Europe. Currently, according to, there are an estimated 47 million senior citizens in the United States. And since people are living longer, they are also being more active. However, wearing pendants has long carried a stigma with them. That’s where wearable mPERS devices are beginning to explode in the market. Watches are a popular technology that eliminates the stigma of wearing a PERS device, but also keeps users protected with the same mPERS cellular and GPS technology for their active lives.

As you can see, fall monitoring technology is moving away from landlines and giving birth to a much more active and functional PERS industry. While the first 30+ years of the PERS industry didn’t see a ton of advancement, it is safe to assume that the next 30+ years will bring rapid growth in mPERS users and many breakthroughs in design and technological advancements.

If you are looking for a company that embraces technology, growth and change, check out AvantGuard Monitoring. They are industry leaders in monitoring services for fire, security, IoT and PERS markets and can help your company succeed as the industry continues to change.

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