One of the no-brainer use cases for smartwatches is providing users with an easy way to call for help, and yet in many cases it's a multi-step process that requires an accompanying phone. Fossil is planning to address this gap in the market by partnering with digital safety platform Noonlight to integrate a discreet 911 alert button on its fourth generation smartwatches. The application will come pre-installed (and at no extra cost) on the new Wear OS-powered Fossil smartwatches. Meanwhile, those that have already shipped will receive an update rolling out soon.
During setup, users enter details they'd like first responders to know (e.g. allergies and medical history), as well as their name and a 4-digit PIN, which is used to cancel emergency help in case of a false alarm. Fossil wearers can choose between two different emergency response modes — panic mode, which is a one-tap alarm, and timer mode, which sends help if users don't enter their PIN on the watch and cancel the alarm within a set time. The watch will vibrate to confirm when help is on the way.
This version of Noonlight is slightly more limited than the $2.99/month smartphone app, which was built not as a replacement to 911, according to its FAQs, but as a more discreet and digitally-connected option, useful in times when wearers "feel scared" yet aren't ready to call emergency services. The app, which only works in the U.S., also connects with Google Home and Alexa for when users can't reach their phone, can be automated with IFTTT, and can work alongside larger smart home systems with Nest and Canary support.
Integration with smartwatches, however, might be the most natural extension of the app's capabilities. Wearables let users keep their emergency alerting button near them at all times, and can be used very subtly in tense situations. The partnership adds a useful bonus to potential U.S. buyers of the first fourth generation Fossil watches, the Q Venture HR and Q Explorist HR, both of which offer significant hardware improvements over third generation Fossils, including untethered GPS, a major aid to emergency dispatchers.
App pricing added, along with confirmation that users will not be charged extra for the Noonlight integration.