Push button alerts may be the new mandatory IoT

By / November 11, 2019

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What is a panic button?

Panic buttons have been around as long as the telephone system. Early panic buttons are best known for being used by banks to signal an emergency, such as a robbery attempt. Traditionally, most panic buttons have used the PSTN to automatically dial an emergency number, or connected to an internal system that triggered an audible alarm.

Today's panic buttons

Today's panic buttons can be much more sophisticated, with the advent of IoT. Panic buttons can still be used to dial emergency numbers, with many utilizing VoIP to place the call. Others can trigger silent alarms, security alerts on phones, cameras that immediately start filming, locking of doors, or countless other functions, only limited by some type of connectivity. These functions can take place locally, or send requests to the cloud.

Panic button connectivity

The technology behind the button can vary as greatly as it's use. Button connectivity may be through IP based devices with Ethernet, WIFI, LTE/5G, USB, or LPWAN capabilities. Others will connect wirelessly to a gateway, via BLE, RFID, Zigbee, LoRa, LPWAN, NFC, etc.

The requirement for business

Panic button laws are making their way across the US. Chicago, Sacramento, Long Beach, Miami Beach and New Jersey are just some of the cities that have already mandated panic buttons for hotels and other businesses.

Many large hotel chains like Radisson, Loews, Four Seasons, Marriott and Hilton have all supported panic buttons and have stated that this is an evolution of their position to take care of their people. The growing public outrage spurred by movements, like #metoo, and allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, have forced the hotel industry to act.