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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
PERSON LOCATING SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/049202
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system to monitor a device may receive geographic area information defining a geographic area. Thereafter, periodically, location information is received from the device. An alarm condition is selectively generated based on the location information and the geographic area information. Additionally, the device may send a corresponding event signal if an assistance request indication is received through a user interface of the device, or if the device senses an overlarge impact or other tampering. These events may also result in alarm conditions. Alarm conditions may be reported to a call centre and/or an emergency dispatch service.

Inventors:
SIBBITT JUDEE A (CA)
BEGGS PETER A (CA)
Application Number:
CA2007/001867
Publication Date:
May 02, 2008
Filing Date:
October 24, 2007
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SIBBITT JUDEE A (CA)
BEGGS PETER A (CA)
International Classes:
G08B21/00; G04B47/00; G08B21/02; G08B25/00
Foreign References:
US20060166679A12006-07-27
US20030214402A12003-11-20
US6606562B12003-08-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMART & BIGGAR (438 University AvenueSuite 1500, Box 11, Toronto Ontario M5G 2K8, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A method of monitoring a device comprising: receiving geographic area information defining a geographic area; periodically receiving location information from said device; selectively generating an alarm based on said location information and said geographic area information.

2. The method of claim 1 where said geographic area information indicates an inclusion area and wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises generating an alarm when said location information indicates said device is outside said inclusion area.

3. The method of claim 1 where said geographic information indicates an inclusion area and wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises generating an alarm when said location information indicates said device is beyond a boundary of said inclusion area by more than a threshold amount.

4. The method of claim 1 where said geographic information indicates an exclusion area and wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises generating an alarm when said location information indicates said device is inside said exclusion area.

5. The method of claim 1 where said geographic information indicates an exclusion area and wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises generating an alarm when said location information indicates said device is inside a boundary of said exclusion area by more than a threshold amount.

6. The method of claim 2 wherein said geographic area information comprises a prompt from said device and, on receiving said prompt, establishing said geographic area information as an inclusion area within a pre-defined radius of a location indicated by said location information.

7. The method of any one of claim 1 to claim 6 wherein said receiving geographic information comprises receiving information defining a geographic area through a user interface.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises selectively prompting said device to generate an audible or vibratory alarm.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises selectively sending a signal indicating said alarm condition toward an emergency services call center.

10. The method of claim 1 or claim 9 wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises selectively sending a signal indicating said alarm condition toward a monitoring call center.

11. The method of claim 1 , claim 9, or claim 10 wherein said selectively generating an alarm comprises sending a signal toward said device to prompt said device to generate an audible or vibratory alarm.

12. A method of monitoring a device, comprising: periodically receiving location information from said device; on receiving a signal indicating a user request at said device to establish a safe area, establishing a safe area centered at a current location of said device; on determining from received location information that said device is not within said safe area, generating an alarm.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein said safe area is a circular area centered at said current location of said device.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein said safe area has a predetermined diameter.

15. A method of monitoring a device comprising: receiving information defining a geographic area; receiving information as to whether said geographic area is an exclusion area or an inclusion area; periodically receiving location information from said device; where said geographic area is an exclusion area and said location information indicates said device is within said exclusion area, generating an alarm.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising, where said geographic area is an inclusion area and said location information indicates said device is outside said inclusion area, generating an alarm.

17. A method of monitoring a device comprising: periodically receiving location information from said device; where said location information indicates said device is within an improper geographic area, sending a signal indicating an alarm condition toward a monitoring call center; upon receiving an assistance request signal from said device, sending a signal indicating an alarm condition toward an emergency services call center.

18. The method of claim 17 further comprising: where said location information indicates said device is within an improper geographic area, also sending a signal indicating an alarm condition toward said emergency services call center; upon receiving said assistance request signal, also sending a signal indicating an alarm condition toward said monitoring call center.

19. The method of claim 17 further comprising upon receiving a low wireless signal indication from said device, sending a notification event indicating said low wireless signal toward said monitoring call center.

20. The method of claim 17 or 19 further comprising upon receiving a low battery indication from said device, sending a notification event indicating said low battery indication toward said monitoring call center.

21. The method of any one of claim 17 to claim 20 further comprising: upon receiving a tampering signal from said device, sending a signal indicating an alarm condition toward said monitoring call center.

22. A method facilitating monitoring of a device, comprising: upon receipt of an indication, through a user interface, of an assistance request, wirelessly sending a signal indicating said assistance request; responsive to tampering, wirelessly sending a signal indicating said tampering; using global positioning system signals to derive location information; wirelessly sending a signal with said location information.

23. A system for monitoring a device comprising: a receiver; a database; a processor for: periodically receiving location information from said device and storing said information to said database; receiving geographic area information defining a geographic area and storing said information to said database; selectively generating an alarm based on said location information and said geographic area information.

24. A device comprising: a global positioning system receiver; a wireless transmitter; a user interface;

a processor operably connected to said global positioning system receiver, said wireless transmitter, and said user interface for: periodically wirelessly transmitting location information; upon a user prompt through said user interface, wirelessly sending a signal indicative of said user prompt.

25. The device of claim 24 further comprising an audible or vibratory alarm operatively connected to said processor and wherein said processor is also for wirelessly receiving an alarm request signal and, in response, controlling said alarm to alarm.

Description:

PERSON LOCATING SYSTEM AND METHOD

BACKGROUND

[0001] This invention relates to a method and system for locating individuals.

[0002] One of a parent's greatest fears is losing track of their child. A similar worry faces the caregiver (or guardian) of a patient with Alzheimer's, or a similar condition. A related problem is ensuring a suspected criminal adhere to bond conditions.

[0003] This invention seeks to ameliorate these problems.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0004] Information is received as to the location of a locating device. This location information may be compared with a pre-defined geographical area to determine if an alarm condition exists. Also, an alarm condition may be determined to exist if an alarm is initiated at the device. Where an alarm condition exists, a call centre and/or an emergency services dispatch centre may be alerted and location information may be sent to these centres. Optionally, caregivers may also be notified. In some instances, given an alarm condition, an audible (or other) alarm may be activated at the locating device.

[0005] In one aspect, the present invention comprises a method of monitoring a device comprising: receiving geographic area information defining a geographic area; periodically receiving location information from said device; and selectively generating an alarm based on said location information and said geographic area information.

[0006] Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings.

DRAWINGS

[0007] In the figures which illustrate example embodiments of the invention,

[0008] FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a system embodying aspects of the invention,

[0009] FIG. 2 is a detailed schematic view of the bracelet of FIG. 1 together with charging apparatus,

[0010] FIGs. 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, and 3F are flowcharts illustrating an exemplary operation of the tracking and alert system of FIG. 1 ,

[0011] FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating operation of a computer application at one or both call centres of FIG. 1, and

[0012] FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating operation of a computer application at computing devices of the guardians of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] Turning to FIG. 1 which is a diagram illustrating the components of a system made in accordance with the present invention, system 380 includes a locating device 422, such as a bracelet, which is designed to be worn or carried by an individual who is to be monitored. A tracking and alert system 408 and a call centre 400 are used to monitor the locating device. The locating device 422 has a transceiver 41 (FIG. 2) permitting it to wirelessly connect, via a cell phone network, to the tracking and alert system for two-way communication. Specifically, the locating device may wirelessly communicate with a base station 424 which, in turn, connects through (a virtual private network in) the public internet 416 and a firewall 406 to the tracking and alert system 408. The call centre 400 may communicatively connect to the tracking and alert system through the public internet 416 (via a firewall 410). Additionally, the call centre 400 may connect to an emergency dispatch centre 420 and to communication devices 412a (e.g., cell phones or wirelessly connected PDAs) of guardians (one or more of whom may be associated

with each individual to be monitored) over a network 423, such as the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The emergency dispatch centre 420 and communication devices 412b (e.g., personal computers) of the guardians may also be connected to the tracking and alert system 408 via network 416 (and firewall 410). The locating device 422 also has a global positioning system (GPS) receiver 40 (FIG. 2) for receiving signals from GPS satellites 404.

[0014] The tracking and alert system 408 provides access to monitoring/locating applications and the data that belongs to the applications. The call centre 400 is a centralized office where a large volume of telephone and electronic requests are received, processed and transmitted.

[0015] Locating device 422 is preferably lightweight, shock resistant, waterproof and shatterproof. Moreover, locating device 422 is preferably able to operate between the temperatures of -20 0 C and 55°C. FIG. 2 illustrates the components of an exemplary locating device 422, namely a bracelet. Exemplary locating device 422 has a non-breakable casing 38. The exemplary locating device 422 also has a wristband 30 with an inner layer of stainless steel and an overmolded layer of a flexible skin-friendly material, one end 32 of which may be inserted into a slot 34 in the casing 38. The inserted end 32 of the band 30 may be locked within the casing 38 to lock the locating device on the wearer by a suitable electronic locking mechanism (not shown). A suitable locking mechanism could employ, for example, a solenoid. The bracelet has an embedded sensor wire 43 which, when the end 32 of the band is locked within the casing 38, completes an electric circuit with circuitry 45. The bracelet also includes an accelerometer 47 or other impact indicating sensor.

[0016] A central processing unit (CPU) 39 is embedded in locating device 422 and is operatively connected to the GPS receiver 40, wireless transceiver 41 , circuitry 45, and accelerometer 47 as well as to a built-in speaker 44, and a user interface including locate button 46, panic button 48, and an "instant geo-fence" button 53.

[0017] The GPS receiver 40 generates data related to its location using GPS or Aided GPS (A-GPS) technology and this location data is received by the CPU 39. The GPS receiver 40 may also determine the altitude, speed, and direction of the movement of the locating device 422 and such data may also be received by the CPU 39. The CPU may periodically encrypt this data, encapsulate it in a packet, and send it to transceiver 41 for wireless transmission over a cell phone network. The cell phone network may be a global system for mobile communication (GSM)/general packet radio services (GPRS) or any other known or future wireless network.

[0018] The CPU receives signals from circuitry 45 and accelerometer 47. If a signal from circuitry 45 indicates sensor wire 43 has been cut or a signal from accelerometer 47 exceeds a threshold (indicating an unacceptable impact), the CPU transmits a corresponding "event" packet to system 408. The CPU also receives a signal on a button press of any of buttons 46, 48, and 53 and responds by sending a corresponding "event" packet to system 408.

[0019] The locating device 422 may optionally have a digital clock display 50 which may also show day and date, and battery life and signal strength indicators (not shown). Also the locating device 422 may optionally be capable of receiving and displaying text messages and/or functioning as a bi-directional radio transceiver. As such, the locating device 422 may have a display 52 for text messages 52 and/or a built-in microphone 54. Furthermore, the bracelet may optionally have a built-in digital camera 56 for taking still images which may be transmitted as data via GSM/GPRS.

[0020] The components of the locating device 422, such as the CPU 39, GPS 40, the wireless transceiver 41 , etc., are powered by a rechargeable battery 58; the charge of the battery may be indicated by coloured light-emitting diodes (LEDs) 60 displayed on the locating device 422. To recharge the battery, a charger 62 is connected to the bracelet 12 using a mini-universal serial bus (USB) connection 64 or any other appropriate connection.

[0021] The locating device 422 may be worn by a wearer for reasons of personal safety or as a bail condition.

[0022] The tracking and alert system 408 hosts a database 701 (FIG. 3B) containing data records, with each record holding essential information about a locating device 422, the profile of the wearer of the device and/or the guardian. The essential information of a locating device 422 includes identification information, location information, event information, and mode type. Identification information is information that is unique to the specific locating device 422, such as a device ID number. Location information is the longitude and latitude coordinates and other relevant GPS information as sent to the system 408 periodically by the device 422. Event information relates to information reported by the locating device 422 as to its current state. Mode type indicates whether the locating device 422 is in active mode or passive mode. Active mode is appropriate where the purpose of the locating device 422 is personal safety and the wearer has attained the age of majority and is mentally competent. In all other situations, passive mode is appropriate to reduce the incidence of false alarms (however, even in passive mode an alarm can be generated by a guardian or a call centre). The wearer profile information includes background information such as name, photograph, physical description, health considerations, guardian identity and contact information (if applicable), locating device ID number, etc.

[0023] In overview, referencing both FIGs. 1 and 2, the tracking and alert system 408 is suitably programmed to perform as follows. System 408 periodically receives data packets from the locating device 422 via GSM/GPRS or analogous wireless networks and from the received data the system 408 determines the geographical location and the current status of the locating device 422. The system 408 may prompt the locating device 422 to adjust the time interval at which the location data is obtained, depending on the circumstances.

[0024] The tracking and alert system 408 can set up virtual geographic boundaries - "geo-fences" - for the locating device 422 in order to monitor or track the movement of the locating device 422 in relation to the geo-fence(s). Geo-

fences can be inbound or outbound. Outbound geo-fences are set up to restrict the movement of the locating device 422 to within the bounded zone. Inbound geo- fences are set up to keep the locating device 422 from entering the bounded zone. After obtaining location data from the locating device 422 and determining the location of locating device 422 in relation to the geo-fences, the tracking and alert system 408 may initiate a notification or warning if the device 422 is getting too close to a geo-fence (i.e. reaching a predefined geo-fence threshold) or has crossed a geo-fence (i.e. geo-fence breach).

[0025] Inbound and outbound geo-fences can be pre-defined by a guardian (to create a user-defined geo-fence). Alternatively, an outbound geo-fence can be instantaneously created based on the current location of the locating device 422 (instant geo-fence). An instant geo-fence may be initiated (by the wearer of the locating device or by a guardian) by pressing the "instant geo-fence" button 53 on the locating device 422. This causes the CPU 39 of the locating device 422 to send a packet reporting this event. When the tracking and alert system 408 receives data from the locating device 422 indicating an instant geo-fence event, the system 408 determines the current location of the locating device 422 and sets up an inbound circular geo-fence encircling the locating device 422 with a pre-set radius (for example, 50 meters or 150 meters) from the locating device's current location.

[0026] When the locate button 46 or panic button 48 of the locating device is pressed, this event is reported to system 408 by CPU 39. Similarly, if sensor wire 43 is cut (such that circuitry 45 no longer sends an integrity signal to CPU 39) or the accelerometer 47 outputs an acceleration which exceeds a threshold, these events are reported to system 408 by the CPU 39. Additionally, if the wireless signal strength falls below a threshold (which could indicate, for example, a wearer is going into a subway system) or the battery strength falls below a threshold (which indicates the battery needs to be recharged before it fails thereby rendering the locating device inoperative), these "notification events" are reported to the system 408 by the CPU 39. The system 408 handles these events as alarm events of different priority.

[0027] In addition to monitoring the location of the locating device 422, the tracking and alert system 408, by transmitting an appropriate signal encapsulated with a programmed event to the locating device 422, can activate an audible alarm at the device 422 - where the intensity of the alarm can be dependent upon whether the alarm is a panic alarm (e.g., 70 to 100 dB) or a locate alarm (e.g., 30 to 50 dB) - activate a vibratory alarm (where the device 422 is provisioned with a controllable vibratory element), send a text message, or unlock the locking mechanism of locating device 422. In this regard, the system 408 may send an unlocking message to the locating device 422 on receipt of an instruction from the call centre 400, and the call centre may send such an instruction on receiving a request from a guardian who supplies a proper user ID and password.

[0028] Another function of the tracking and alert system 408 is to send text messages to cellular phones, pagers, and/or email addresses associated with the caregiver data record for a given wearer, when necessary. The tracking and alert system 408 is also responsible for resetting the system, i.e. stopping an audible (or vibratory) bracelet alarm, closing pop-up windows, and sending electronic billing information to subscribers, etc. The tracking and alert system 408 supports multiple locating devices 422.

[0029] An authorized user may log on to tracking and alert system 408 and obtain an application that can be run in the background of their computer. One such application is suitable for the computers of the monitoring call centre 400 and the EMS call centre 420 and another for a computer of a guardian. The tracking and alert system 408 can, via a background application, generate a web portal and a pop-up window on a computer screen. The pop-up window functions as an alert to the computer user and may be interactive or passive. The web portal may provide (static) background information about the wearer (e.g. name, photograph, physical description, guardian identity and contact information, bracelet identification number, etc.) as well as (dynamic) location information (e.g., latitude and longitude coordinates or a map pinpointing the last known location of the device 422). The web portal is refreshed instantaneously with updated information

as the tracking and alert system 408 obtains and generates new data at set time intervals.

[0030] The monitoring call centre 400 can communicate by telephone with personnel at the emergency dispatch centre 420, the wearer (via email or cell phone), and the guardian (via email or cell phone), when necessary. The call centre 400 handles the registration of locating devices 422 and receipt and updating of pertinent information about the wearer and the subscriber and/or the guardian 412. A subscriber or guardian may register, update or change the subscription and the information on file, change the password, etc., either by phoning the call centre 400 or through a call centre website. The call centre 400 is responsible for sending received information to the tracking and alert system 408 and the tracking and alert system 408 updates database 701 accordingly.

[0031] When the locating device 422 is registered through the call centre 400, the call centre 400 is provided with information from the subscriber in relation to the locating device 422 (e.g., bracelet ID, date of purchase), the guardian (e.g., mailing address, email address, phone number, pager number), the wearer (e.g., photograph, age, gender, height, weight) and the subscriber (e.g., mailing address, payment information). The subscriber may set up geo-fences and the radius for the instant geo-fence either by logging onto the tracking and alert system 408 (using the bracelet ID and the given user ID and password) or by phoning the call centre. Also, the mode type (active or passive) may be entered as part of the information provided during registration. Alternatively, the mode type may be programmed into the locating device 422 and passed to the system 408 by the device.

[0032] One or more call centre 400 computers are connected to the tracking and alert system 408 with a monitoring/locating computer application running in the background. The tracking and alert system 408 alerts the call centre 16 computer of a potential event by initiating a web portal and, in some cases, an interactive pop-up window on the screen of the call centre computer via the background application. The call centre 400 computer may give commands to the tracking and alert system 408 through the pop-up window.

[0033] One or more computers of an emergency dispatch centre 420 may also be connected to the tracking and alert system 408 with a monitoring/locating computer application running in the background. Emergency dispatch personnel may be alerted of potential events via a web portal or a pop-up window on the computer screen.

[0034] If the locating device 422 is in active mode, the wearer may activate an alarm by pushing either the locate button 46 or the panic button 48. When either alarm is activated, a signal is transmitted to the tracking and alert system 408 and the tracking and alert system 408 alerts the call centre 400. The tracking and alert system 408 may also alert the call centre 400 when the system 408 detects that the device 422 has crossed a geo-fence. In some instances, additionally, the EMS 420 may also be alerted by system 408.

[0035] When an alert from the tracking and alert system 408 is received, the call centre 400 contacts the guardian, the emergency contact person (if different from the guardian), the wearer, and, under certain circumstances, the emergency dispatch centre 420. Once contact is established with the appropriate person, the call centre 400 confirms with the person whether there is an actual event, at which point the person must provide the call centre 400 with his ID and password. If the situation is not an event, the call centre 400 enters the given ID and password and transmits a "clear" signal to the tracking and alert system 408 via the web portal or pop-up window and the tracking and alert system 408 resets the system. If the situation is a confirmed event or if no contact can be established, the call centre 400 stands by while emergency dispatch centre 420 handles the situation. Once the call centre 400 receives notification from emergency dispatch centre 420 that the situation is resolved, the call centre 400 transmits a "clear" signal to the tracking and alert system 408 using the web portal or pop-up window and the tracking and alert system 408 resets the system.

[0036] FIGs. 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, 3F, and 3G are flowcharts illustrating an exemplary operation of the tracking and alert system 408. Turning to FIG. 3A,

system 408 may receive a request from a locating device 422 to establish a secure connection (200). Device identification data in the packet is compared to information in the system database 701 to validate the identity of the locating device 422. (If validation is unsuccessful, the invalid identity request is logged and the locating device 422 is disconnected.) If validation is successful (214), a secure tunnel is established with the locating device 422 (218). The locating device may then transmit encrypted data packets which are decrypted and location information, event information, and (optionally) mode type (i.e. active or passive) is extracted from the payload (220). If event information has not been received (230), a request for event information is sent to the locating device 422 (228). If event information has been received (230), the device event information in database 701 is updated (232). If location information has not been received (222), a request for location information is sent to the locating device 422 (224). If location information has been received (222), the device location information in database 701 is updated (236). If mode type has not been received (226), a request for mode type is sent to the locating device 422 (216). If mode type information has been received (226), the device mode type in database 701 is updated (234).

[0037] Turning to FIG. 3B, which continues from FIG. 3A, the device event information and mode type in database 701 are checked at pre-determined time intervals (302). If the received event information indicates that the locating device 422 is on-net (304), the device 422 is registered as active in the database 701 (308). If there is no on-net event information (304), the system 408 stands by until on-net event information is received (306). If the event information relays a "notification event", the event priority flag is set to level 3 (312) and an event handler is called (314). A "notification event" can be of one of two types: low wireless network signal or low battery (310). If event information indicating a cut sensor wire is received (316), the event priority flag is set to level 1 (318) and the sensor wire event handler is called (320). If event information indicating device impact is received (322), the event priority flag is set to level 2 (324) and the device impact event handler is called (326).

[0038] Turning to FIG. 3F 1 when any one of the notification event handler, sensor wire event handler, or device impact event handler is called, a device tracking process is initiated (700). Once the device tracking process is initiated (700), current location information and wearer profile information are retrieved from database 701 (702). The priority flag level, event description, location information and wearer profile information are passed to the event manager (described in FIG. 3E) via a router (703, 708, 709).

[0039] Referring to FIG. 3E, the information via the router is sent to a web portal for authorized users to access (600). Additionally, a bridge interface to a CTI (computer telephony integration) of the call centre 400 is established (602) and the interface then activates the call centre queue (606), which queries the call centre for available agents and requests the CTI to transmit the agent ID of the available agent (612). If no agent is found, a notification message is sent to the call centre supervisor for immediate intervention via a background application running on their computer, which application may be termed an Incident Management System (described more fully hereinafter), in order to prompt a popup window (614). Alternatively, a back-up monitoring call centre, with mirrored processes, may be used to handle overflow traffic.

[0040] For priority flag level 1 situations (608), instead of, or in addition to, bridging to the monitoring call centre to find an available agent, the query for an available agent may be routed via a secure network to the emergency dispatch centre CTI (609, 610, 611).

[0041] Once an agent ID is received, the location information of the locating device 422, wearer profile information, and event description are routed (624) and displayed to the agent via the Incident Management System portal (622). If the event priority flag is level 1 (620) and the system 408 did not directly contact the EMS, a popup is initiated to prompt the agent at monitoring call centre 400 to contact the emergency dispatch centre 420. For a priority 1 event, the Incident Management System portal also prompts the call centre agent to provide feedback as to whether the emergency dispatch 420 has been contacted, whether the

guardian and emergency contact person have been notified, and whether contact with the wearer has been established. If the event priority flag is level 2 (630), the portal prompts the agent to provide feedback as to whether the guardian and the emergency contact person have been notified, and whether contact with the wearer has been established. The database 701 (FIG 3F) is updated when the agent's feedback is entered in the Incident Management System portal with respect to contact with emergency dispatch (616), with the guardian (626), with the emergency contact person (632), and with the wearer (638).

[0042] Turning to FIG. 3C, which continues from FIG. 3B, if the mode type received is active (800) and the event information received indicates a panic event (802), the event priority flag is set to level 1 (804) and a signal is sent to the locating device 422 to activate the panic alarm on the device (806). After the panic alarm is set off (806), a panic alarm notification is sent to the guardian via email (808). Turning to FIG. 3F, simultaneously with sending a notification to the guardian, the device tracking process is initiated (700). Once the device tracking process is initiated (700), current location information and wearer profile information are retrieved from database 701 (702). The priority flag level, event description, location information and wearer profile information are passed to the event manager (described in FIG. 3E) via a router (704). Referring to FIG. 3E, the information via the router is sent to the web portal for authorized users to access (600). A bridge interface to the call centre CTI (computer telephony integration) is established (602) and the interface then activates the call centre queue (606), which queries the call centre for available agents and requests the CTI to transmit the agent ID of the available agent (612). If no agent is found, a notification message is sent to the call centre supervisor via a popup window to the Incident Management System (614). Instead of queuing the call centre to find an available agent, the query for an available agent (606) may optionally be routed via secure network to the emergency dispatch centre CTI (604) in event priority flag level 1 situations (608), as in this case. Once an agent ID is received, the location information of the locating device 422, wearer profile information, and event description are routed (624) and displayed to the agent via the Incident Management System portal (622). If the event priority flag is level 1 (620), as in this case, a popup is initiated to

prompt the agent to contact emergency dispatch centre 420. The Incident Management System portal also prompts the agent to provide feedback as to whether the emergency dispatch 420 has been contacted, whether the guardian 412 and emergency contact person have been notified, and whether contact with the wearer has been established. The database 701 (FIG 1.H) is updated when the agent's feedback is entered in the Incident Management System portal with respect to contact with emergency dispatch (616), with the guardian (626), with the emergency contact person (632), and with the wearer (638).

[0043] Turning back to FIG. 3C, if the mode type received is active (800) and the event information received indicates a locate event (810), the event priority flag is set to level 1 (812) and a locate alarm notification is sent to the guardian 412 via email (814). Turning to FIG. 3F, after a notification is sent to the guardian, the device tracking process is initiated (700). Once the device tracking process is initiated (700), current location information and wearer profile information are retrieved from database 701 (702). The priority flag level, event description, location information and wearer profile information are passed to the event manager (described in FIG. 3E) via a router (705). Referring to FIG. 3E, the information via the router is sent to the web portal for authorized users to access (600). A bridge interface to the call centre CTI (computer telephony integration) is established (602) and the interface then activates the call centre queue (606), which queries the call centre for available agents and requests the CTI to transmit the agent ID of the available agent (612). If no agent is found, a notification message is sent to the call centre supervisor via a popup window to the Incident Management System (614). Instead of queuing the call centre to find an available agent, the query for an available agent (606) may optionally be routed via secure network to the emergency dispatch centre CTI (604) in event priority flag level 1 situations (608), as in this case. Once an agent ID is received, the location information of the locating device 422, wearer profile information, and event description are routed (624) and displayed to the agent via the Incident Management System portal (622). If the event priority flag is level 1 (620), as in this case, a popup is initiated to prompt the agent to contact emergency dispatch centre 420. The Incident Management System portal also prompts the agent to provide feedback as to

whether the emergency dispatch 420 has been contacted, whether the guardian 412 and emergency contact person have been notified, and whether contact with the wearer has been established. The database 701 (FIG 3F) is updated when the agent's feedback is entered in the Incident Management System portal with respect to contact with emergency dispatch (616), with the guardian (626), with the emergency contact person (632), and with the wearer (638).

[0044] In FIG. 3C, if the mode type received is passive (816) and the event information indicates a locate event (818), the event priority flag is set to level 2 (820) and a locate alarm notification is sent to the guardian 412 via email (822). Turning to FIG. 3F, after a notification is sent to the guardian, the device tracking process is initiated (700). Once the device tracking process is initiated (700), current location information and wearer profile information are retrieved from database 701 (702). The priority flag level, event description, location information and wearer profile information are passed to the event manager (described in FIG. 1.F) via a router (706). Referring to FIG. 3E, the information via the router is sent to the web portal for authorized users to access (600). A bridge interface to the call centre CTI is established (602) and the interface then activates the call centre queue (606), which queries the call centre for available agents and requests the CTI to transmit the agent ID of the available agent (612). If no agent is found, a notification message is sent to the call centre supervisor via a popup window to the Incident Management System (614). Once an agent ID is received, the location information of the locating device 422, wearer profile information, and event description are routed (624) and displayed to the agent via the Incident Management System portal (622). If the event priority flag is level 2 (630), as in this case, the Incident Management System portal prompts the agent to provide feedback as to whether the guardian 412 and the emergency contact person have been notified, and whether contact with the wearer has been established. The database 701 (FIG 1.H) is updated when the agent's feedback is entered in the Incident Management System portal with respect to contact with the guardian (626), with the emergency contact person (632), and with the wearer (638).

[0045] Turning back to FIG. 3B, if event information indicating a request for instant geo-fence is received (328), the event priority flag is set to level 4 (330) and the instant geo-fence event handler is called (332). Similarly, if event information indicating a request to deactivate an instant geo-fence is received (334), the event priority flag is set to level 4 (336) and the instant geo-fence event handler is called (338).

[0046] FIG. 3D illustrates an exemplary operation of the geo-fence function of the tracking and alert system 408. If the instant geo-fence handler is called, an outbound geo-fence of a predetermined radius is configured (502) and the database 701 is updated with this information. The database 701 may also contain user-defined geo-fence information (510). Device location information (506) and device breach profile (508) are retrieved at a preset time interval. If the retrieved device information from the database 701 indicates an inbound geo-fence (514), the coordinates at the threshold boundary of the geo-fence spatial polygon is calculated (518). The device location information is compared with the threshold coordinates (542). If it is determined that the device 422 has not reached the threshold (542), the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and the device breach profile (508) periodically. If it is determined that the device 422 has reached the threshold, a signal is transmitted over the wireless network to the device 422 to activate the device locate alarm (530). After the locate alarm is set off, an email notification is sent to the guardian 412 indicating that a geo-fence threshold has been reached (534). Once a geo-fence threshold has been reached, the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and the device breach profile (508) and checks for a geo-fence breach (524). If there is no geo-fence breach (524), the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and device breach profile (508). If there is a geo-fence breach (524), the device speed and altitude are calculated and the database 701 is updated with this information (528), which is used for tracking purposes. When a geo-fence is breached, the event information in the database 701 is set to a user- defined priority flag level (540) and then an event handler is called (546).

[0047] If the retrieved device information from the database 701 indicates an outbound geo-fence (516), the coordinates at the threshold boundary of the geo- fence spatial polygon are calculated (520). The device location information is compared with the threshold coordinates (544). If it is determined that the device 422 has not reached the threshold (544), the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and the device breach profile (508) periodically. If it is determined that the device 422 has reached the threshold, a signal is transmitted over the wireless network to the device 422 to activate the device locate alarm (532). After the locate alarm is set off, an email notification is sent to the guardian 412 indicating that a geo-fence threshold has been reached (536). Once a geo-fence threshold has been reached, the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and device breach profile (508) and checks for a geo- fence breach (522). If there is no geo-fence breach (522), the system 408 continues to retrieve device location information (506) and the device breach profile (508). If there is a geo-fence breach (522), the device speed and altitude are calculated and the database 701 is updated with this information (526), which is used for tracking purposes. When a geo-fence is breached, the event information in the database 701 is set to a user-defined priority flag level (538) and then an event handler is called (548).

[0048] Where the instant geo-fence handler is called on a deactivation request, the database 701 is updated to indicate that there is no instant geo-fence (550).

[0049] In FIG. 3B and FIG. 3C, if the event information received does not indicate an event then the system 408 continues to check the device event information and mode type in database 701 at a pre-determined time interval (302).

[0050] As mentioned hereinbefore, agent computers at the monitoring call centre 400 and EMS call centre are provided with a background computer application which may be termed an Incident Management System. The operation of this Incident Management System is described in FIG. 4. Turning to this figure, when system 408 sends information to the application, a window pops-up on the computer displaying the information (900), through the user interface of the

computer, the agent can acknowledge receipt (902). Depending upon the priority of the event reported in the pop-up window, the agent may be prompted to contact EMS (where the agent is at the monitoring call centre), the wearer, and the guardian (and emergency contact). The agent will also be prompted to input information to the pop-up window to indicate what steps have been taken (914, 908, 920, 916, 922, 904, 924). For certain events, such as notification events, where a device alarm is not generated consequent upon the event, the pop-up may give the agent the option to generate an alarm (905, 918, and FIG. 3c at 850). If the agent instead inputs a decision not to generate an alarm, the event is cleared and the application notifies the system so that the database 701 is updated (938). The pop-up will also allow the agent to indicate the event has been resolved (932, 940) in which case the background application will send this to the system 408 so that the alarm condition is cleared in database 701 (934). is updated. Further, in this instance, the system is prompted to clear the alarm at the device (FIG. 3A at 250).

[0051] A computer application is also provided for the computers 412b of the guardians. The operation of this application is described in FIG. 5. Turning to this figure, the application allows a guardian to log-on to system 408 (1000, 1016) to update wearer or subscriber information (1022, 1028). Also, by entering a device ID (1018), the application will generate a pop-up window to report any events and to provide current location information (1002).

[0052] Modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art and, therefore, the invention is defined in the claims.