Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan Mobile to distribute ‘smart’ bracelets for elderly

SMART FEATURE:The company plans to hand out 4,000 bracelets with near-field communication (NFC) capabilities for free in Taipei and New Taipei City

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan Mobile Co president James Cheng yesterday displays his company’s new near-field communication-capable smart bracelet which can help senior citizens find their way home. The bracelets will be available in Taipei, New Taipei City and Pingtung County this week.

Photo: Wang Yi-hung, Taipei Times

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大) has considered the nation’s graying population with a near-field communication (NFC)-capable smart bracelet that could help senior citizens find their way home.

When lost, wearers can swipe the bracelets over any NFC-enabled smartphone to alert authorities to their location, pinpointed by GPS, the nation’s second-largest mobile carrier said yesterday.

“This marks the first NFC-based electronic tagging feature in a smart bracelet in Taiwan, and it could raise people’s willingness to help find senior citizens who get lost,” Taiwan Mobile president James Cheng (鄭光遠) told a press conference.

The company plans to distribute 4,000 bracelets for free in Taipei and New Taipei City in partnership with the Foundation for the Welfare of the Elderly, and in Pingtung County with the Bjorgaas Social Welfare Foundation.

The bracelets could help the 200,000 Taiwanese seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease, Cheng said.

The Foundation for the Welfare of the Elderly has said that about 58 percent of people with Alzheimer’s who become lost are found within a short period of time, but the technology in the bracelet could increase that number to 100 percent, Cheng said.

Cheng also mentioned Taiwan Mobile’s plans to sell fourth-generation (4G) smartphones that support the nation’s unique 700 MHz frequency, saying the company would launch 10 smartphone models capable of using the frequency in the third quarter of this year, when its 4G network is due to be inaugurated.

The phones include a Taiwan Mobile-branded 4G phone made by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), the main manufacturer of Apple Inc’s iPhones and iPads.

Taiwan Mobile will increase its 700 MHz 4G phone selections to as many as 40 models by the end of the year, thanks to 4G LTE chips launched by suppliers such as Qualcomm Inc, Cheng said.

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