Ottawa's FCi partners with Bruyere to offer new emergency-alert services

Red Dot Alerts
Bruyere Continuing Care chief executive Guy Chartrand (left) and FCi CEO Mike Fleming launch their new partnership, Red Dot Alerts. (Photo provided)

An Ottawa company has joined forces with a major local health-care organization to offer technology that will alert caregivers when users suffer medical emergencies.

FCi, which provides security, telecom and wireless solutions to customers in a range of industries, announced this week it has partnered with Bruyere Continuing Care to launch a new entity called Red Dot Alerts. The public-private partnership will provide a range of products designed to send help to patients in distress.

The new organization is an extension of the Bruyere Helpline, a service run by the health-care organization that allows seniors to call for assistance in their homes by pressing a button on a small wireless pendant or bracelet.

The new partnership will expand that service, adding a mobile application that can detect falls and allow seniors to instantly send a text message to emergency responders on their smartphone. It can also track users’ movements via GPS and alert family members or caregivers if someone ventures beyond a predetermined “safe zone.”

Red Dot Alerts also plans to offer a smartphone-like device that can be implanted in the sole of a shoe to keep tabs on the wearer’s movements and ensure that a patient with dementia, for example, does not wander away from a care facility.  

Users pay monthly subscription fees that vary depending on the services provided. The two partners will share revenues from Red Dot Alerts, with some of the money being funnelled into research, programming at Bruyere’s facilities and the Bruyere Foundation. FCi and Bruyere will split the proceeds if the venture is ever sold to a third party.

FCi vice-president of business development Steve Burton said the agreement gives his firm access to Bruyere’s existing base of 1,500 Helpline customers while providing new opportunities to tap into the growing emergency-alert business.

“It gives us credibility in the marketplace,” Burton said. “That partnership is really, really good for us and also connects us into other health-care partners that Bruyere is connected with.”

FCi, which was founded in 1995 and now employs about 155 people in Ottawa, does not manufacture its own products, instead working with technology suppliers from around Canada and the United States to deliver its services.

“We look for the best-of-breed technology where we find it,” Burton said.

Red Dot Alerts is aiming to attract at least 3,000 customers within the next couple of years, he added. Eventually, Burton said, the partners hope to add health-care delivery to its roster of services ​– for example, by allowing seniors to take their blood pressure at home and instantly send the results to a hospital.