Technology Meets Reality: New Smart Devices Generating Unwanted Alarm Signals

Technology Meets Reality: New Smart Devices Generating Unwanted Alarm Signals

Technology manufacturers continue to introduce new “smart” devices to entice consumers, and the public has been responding enthusiastically to these new products. The Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) has issued a warning statement on March 8th, 2023 regarding false alarm signals being generated by Apple iPhone 14’s and Apple Watches.

These devices can automatically generate alarm signals when the user/wearer is involved in a car accident or other unusual G-force events such as the person falling down. While these technologies have been credited with real success stories of signaling 911 centers when the device detects an accident, there have been numerous reports of these devices sending unwanted signals from users who are performing routine functions such as exercising or skiing.

In SIAC’s statement, Stan Martin, executive director stated that “…the new Apple technology could be a real setback in the goal of making sure that 911 resources and first responders are not unnecessarily diverted from their lifesaving mission.”

With the tremendous popularity of Apple products, there is great concern that these devices may generate many false alarms as their sales increase. To lessen the possibility of false signaling, SIAC recommends that users learn how their devices’ alert system(s) works, upgrade the software to the latest version, disable the alert function if the user is participating in situations that might generate false signals, and to always answer calls from law enforcement or life safety departments to help stop the dispatching after false alarms have been sent.

As we’ve seen and experienced with other ground-breaking technologies, it will likely be difficult to get users to update their devices or manipulate the settings for these alarm signaling functions. Similar to self-driving cars this new technology will likely have to be honed and adjusted by the manufacturer to help them function properly in the real world.

As other “smart” device manufacturers may well emulate these Apple features the potential for unwanted alarm signals may well increase until the manufacturers adjust their personal alarm sensing and signaling thresholds to reduce the potential for false alarms generated by these types of “smart” devices.