GTX Integrates BluVision Bluetooth Tech into Memory-Care Safety System

The company, which already sells a GPS-based solution designed to help caregivers monitor the outdoor locations of patients with Alzheimer's or other cognitive illnesses, is now offering a Bluetooth version for monitoring patient locations inside care facilities.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Feb 09, 2015

According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease, and another person is diagnosed every 67 seconds. Providing care for people suffering from Alzheimer's and other cognitive diseases is challenging on many fronts, not the least of which is having to monitor the patients' locations at all times to ensure their safety.

GTX Corp., a Los Angeles-based firm that sells a number of location-tracking devices and services, began selling GPS SmartSole a year ago. GPS SmartSole is an insole with an embedded rechargeable GPS module made by Telit Wireless. When a user is outdoors, the module transmits its GPS coordinates, which are converted onto a map that loved ones or caregivers (who pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from $30 to $50, as well as $299 for the product) can access via the SmartSole Web portal or smartphone application.

GTX's BLE SmartSole insole
Now, GTX has just released BLE SmartSole. Instead of a GPS module, this product contains an embedded Bluetooth beacon, made by BluVision, which transmits a signal to BluFi, a Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi sensor that BluVision also offers. Through the facility's Wi-Fi network, the data is forwarded to BluVision's cloud-based servers, where the data is then filtered and sent to SmartSole software via an application programming interface (API). GTX will market the BLE SmartSole to assisted-living and nursing-care facilities.

Patrick Bertagna, GTX's CEO, says the shoe insole is a great form factor for tracking devices for the elderly, since it avoids the stigma associated with bracelets or pendants that other tracking systems employ. "Patients don't want to be stigmatized with a tracking device," he says. "Putting such a device inside the shoe gets rid of that stigma."

The insole form factor also means that only patients wearing shoes with the insoles can be located via the SmartSole system. So facility personnel would not be alerted if, for example, a patient were to wander out of bed.

Bertagna says his company opted to employ Bluetooth technology for its indoor tracking system due to its ease of use and simple installation process, compared with those of other tracking systems.

"With [other forms of] RFID, for example, it is expensive to install [readers and] repeaters, and they need to be installed by a professional, whereas the BluFi is plug-and-play," Bertagna explains. "An administrator could set up an entire facility."

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