Aussie brothers use technology to put family first
Sydney, 13th August, 2014: Celebrating the bonds of family is central to Father’s Day this September. It is also central to the story of two Sydney brothers – and fathers – whose lifesaving innovation has helped hundreds of families stay connected all year round.
Peter Apostolopoulos and Paul Apostolis experienced a taste of what countless Australians with older loved ones dread when their own father Michael became lost and disoriented while out one day – and couldn’t get the help he needed.
“Dad was out driving, became unwell but recovered himself enough to get home. Like so many people of his generation he didn’t want to make a fuss – and of course his mobile phone was where it always is – at home, in a cupboard, out of charge,” explains Paul. “Mum persuaded him to go to hospital where it became clear he’d had a stroke. It is only sheer good luck that he’s still with us.”
The experience stayed with Peter and Paul, who resolved that it would never happen again. Peter, who has a health technology background, and Paul, a marketing professional, joined forces to develop an affordable, easy, family-friendly way to help families stay in touch.
They formed a specialist healthcare technology company, mCareWatch, and set about exploring options that would deliver 24-hour connection that works anywhere, offering the right combination of peace of mind and independence for everyone concerned.
The result? The SOS Mobile Watch SMW14, a smart watch personal emergency alarm that combines mobile phone, GPS and Wi-Fi tracking, and Internet capability along with an SOS alarm – among other features. Linked to the smartphones of other family members or carers via Mobile APP, it enables talk at the touch of a button and lets families know where wearers are at any given time – all for around the cost of an ordinary mobile phone plan.
“It’s been a long journey to find the right solution and we’ve pretty much put our life savings into the enterprise. We’ve travelled extensively, spent a lot of time in factories and technology companies, talking specs, trialling technologies and constantly pushing for something more and better,” explains Peter.
“At the same time, some of the biggest international technology players have been entering the space. So here we are, a tiny local start-up releasing the new watch, knowing it works better and offers more than those big guys can which is a great feeling.
“But hearing so many real life stories from real life families has been by far the greatest reward. One man called and told us that the last conversation he ever had with his dad was on the watch, another one has told us how happy he is to be able to talk to his daughter every morning on the watch and how safe he feels when he is outside of the home. What it means to us is that our watch is making a real difference to people’s lives and that has always been our aim.”