Many medical warnings are still similar. This means that these devices are designed to work well and flawlessly with a traditional telephone system. But new digital technologies (such as voice-based Internet protocol and data and cable telephony) are rapidly replacing traditional phone lines, and analogue signaling users are soon at risk of getting unreliable service. How to get here?
First, a bit of backstory: a typical medical alert system consists of three parts: a portable alarm button (which can be worn on the wrist or neck), a base station connected to a telephone line, and a constant 24/7 communication response from the center system provider. In the event of an emergency medical care, the user presses the panic button, and the center immediately communicates with the base unit.
Therefore, rapid communication in real time is extremely important for the successful protection of this system of life of a loved one: any delay in the two-way communication between the person in need and the response center can literally become the difference between life. Dead. This is where the “minor” compatibility issue between analog alert systems and VoIP arises.
The issue of compatibility is now a critical issue. There are unscrupulous providers of medical warnings whose devices can be classified as “traditional” or essentially analog, who always insist that their systems are completely “forward-looking”, which means that their devices can work independently of the new communication system introduced. In some cases – especially in medical companies that have specifically developed their systems for digital communications technologies – they will be right. But in most cases, especially with older telecom operators, using their medical warnings with the new VoIP can put you at risk. Indeed, VoIP, like other digital communications technologies, is very similar to the Internet: it transmits data (including voice) in packages. This means that the system spends some time converting analog data (from analog medical alerts) into digital packages that are transmitted to the person at the other end of the line (response center).
Imagine waiting for a few seconds for the response center to hear you. In a particularly serious medical situation (and you never know when something serious might happen) these few seconds are extremely important.
Make no mistake, there is a marketing war between the old telephone system and the new Internet Voice Protocol (VoIP) and other related digital technologies. In fact, many telecommunications companies offer generous discounts to attract new customers and convince them to switch to new digital systems. What was once an expensive option (cable systems) is becoming more common. Soon VoIP will become faster than analogue, which will endanger many providers of medical warnings (ignoring this difference).
The fact is that of course you should check with your medical alert service whether their devices are designed specifically for VoIP. Also keep in mind that there is a noticeable difference between “specially designed for VoIP” and simply “updated for compatibility”: the latter can still be unreliable. At first, a local health alert may seem “successful” in ensuring the compatibility of the two systems, but you won’t know how reliable they are until a real emergency occurs. And by then it may be too late.
In the recent past, when digital services were introduced, people had no choice but to opt out of a medical alert system. For the most part, it was simple: a typical provider of medical alert systems does not oblige its customers to enter into long-term contracts. Most, if not all, require only a monthly or quarterly extension, so the question is simply not extended for the following month. There are also devices that act as “bridges” between analog medical alert and digital VoIP, and these devices can cost more. Not to mention the fact that they can not be effective one hundred percent.
Chances are you’ve already used the latest medical alert system.