Bluetooth LogoLately a lot of Bluetooth connected personal protection/alarm devices have been being offered to me for review which generally means you’re going to be seeing a lot of them advertised probably this week.

I’ve seen a Bluetooth whistle (blow or press a button for three seconds,) some jewelry that you can press a panic button, several variations on the theme of press button and your phone will send out texts to friends indicating you need help and potentially start calling the police.

Good idea, but they have a lot of potential failing points you should verify with the manufacturer before you ever use them. Here’s a list of things I’ve come up with to check before trusting one of these devices with anything.

  1. Does the app tell you when the battery on the safety device is no longer functioning?
  2. Does the app have a mode in which if the phone is moved away from the person with the safety device that it can alert people that the phone is either lost or the person has been separated from the phone?
    I’ll tell you why this is important – on October 13th my wife was held at gunpoint, pistol whipped, and her and her friend’s phone stolen. This is fairly standard attacker behavior I’m told.
  3. Does the device have a method to tell you that the app is no longer functioning? All sounds pretty good until you’re relying on a device and the phone is either dead or your damned task killing crapware that comes with your phone disables the background app since it hasn’t been used in three days.
  4. Does either device or app have a way to let you know a time range that you have on either? Your first battery to go is the complete failure of the product.
  5. Will the safety device work when your device goes into low power mode?

Basically unless there’s dual verification that devices are working and good to go, chances are pretty good you’re going out with a product that isn’t functioning due to battery, OS update, task killer, low battery condition, etc.

So yeah, don’t buy unless you know the answers.