Anyone who wants to use technology to help them stay safe at night has no shortage of options. We recently looked at over a dozen apps and gadgets built to help users reach out to trusted contacts or authorities in case of an emergency, but most were either apps or wearable sirens. Aluma Connect, which starts shipping out today, takes its own approach — with pros and cons.
Aluma Connect is a thin device that sticks onto the back of a smartphone — or, preferably, a cheap smartphone case. In case of emergency, it can be either a silent or loud alarm. The silent alarm is activated with a button press on the back, while the loud alarm can be activated by grabbing and yanking on an elastic wristband. Either way, like with most personal safety devices, the alarm (using a Bluetooth connection with the smartphone) will send out an alert to any contacts that have been chosen within the companion app. They’ll get text and email alerts instantly containing last known location and a list of other trusted contacts, so they can work together to help.
It’s not a bad idea, although not without flaws. The newest and best idea here might be that Aluma can automatically launch a conference call among trusted contacts who are available to help — there’s no other device we’ve seen that has enabled that kind of cooperation.
It’s hit or miss on the side of the user. The device has a one-year battery life, which is huge — it’ll always be on and ready, as opposed to other devices that might need to be charged more often. But, sticking it on a smartphone is a mixed bag. While a smartphone is far less likely to be accidentally left at home than a wearable, it’s more difficult to fish out a smartphone in an emergency than it is to quickly press a button on a ring or bracelet.
The other downside is that Aluma requires a subscription, although it’s a modest one at $1.99 per month per device. Aluma Connect can be preordered now for $120 for one device, $220 for two, or $300 for three, and will ship in June.
UPDATE 03/20/17: Aluma Connect can only be preordered now, and will ship in June. The post has been amended, and we regret the error.