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DIGITAL SWITCHOVER

Choosing a digital-ready, no landline personal alarm

Not all personal alarms need a telephone landline. Prepare for the digital switchover with a digital personal alarm.

October 18, 2021

Elderly man with digital personal alarm pendant

Personal alarms can help you or a loved one live confidently and independently for longer. With a personal alarm, you can quickly and easily call for help should you have an emergency such as a fall.

However, traditional personal alarms rely on the analogue telephone network to alert the Emergency Resolution centre. The digital switchover, known as BT Digital Voice, will replace all analogue telephone lines with digital lines by 2027. 

This will have an impact on any equipment that relies on a telephone landline to operate, such as traditional personal alarms.

What is Digital Voice?

Digital Voice is what BT are calling the new digital home phone service. You can find out more on the BT Digital Voice website.


Are personal alarms compatible with BT’s Digital Voice?

Current customers who have a personal alarm that connects to the traditional analogue phone line should retain their analogue line and not be upgraded to a digital one. This is the recommendation after the major telephone providers signed the Government's Public Switched Telephone Network charter

In some instances, your analogue personal alarm may work on a digital phone line but this should be considered an interim measure as analogue telephone lines will no longer be maintained after 2027.

If you are a Taking Care customer who has already been upgraded to a digital phone line, we recommend you upgrade to a digital personal alarm. Digital personal alarms are unaffected by the switchover because they do not use a telephone landline. Instead, digital personal alarms have a roaming multi-network SIM that will automatically switch to the strongest available mobile network.

    This video explains how the digital switchover will affect personal alarm users.

    Digital Voice compatibility

    We have tested all our personal alarms at the Openreach testing lab and we know which of our own products work with new Digital Voice service from BT – we cannot vouch for other alarm providers though and so this advice only applies to our products.

     

    What is the best digital personal alarm to choose?

    Which is the best personal alarm for you depends on what features and wearable options you would like.

    To help you, we have a handy personal alarm comparison feature online. You can choose a personal alarm based on how you want to wear it, whether you want fall detection, an activity monitor and more.

    Here are 6 popular digital personal alarms:

    1. Taking Care Anywhere

      Taking Care Anywhere


      If you want to combine the reliability of an in-home personal alarm with fall detection, Taking Care Anywhere is a good choice as an elderly GPS tracker.

      • ✓ Worn as a neck pendant, on a belt or keyring.
      • ✓ Talk with the Emergency Resolution Team through the pendant.
      • ✓ Detects falls automatically.
      • ✓ GPS tracking included.
      • ✓ Water resistant.
      • ✓ Spare pendant included.
      • ✓ 1 - 2 months pendant battery charge.

      Elderly GPS tracker

      2. Digital Personal Alarm

      Digital Personal Alarm Alarm


      The Digital Personal Alarm works in the home and garden. However, it does not require a telephone landline because the base unit has two pre-fitted multi-network SIMs for extra reliability and reassurance the alarm unit will remain connected as long as there is a mobile network available.

      • ✓ Worn as a neck pendant or wrist.
      • ✓ Talk with the Emergency Resolution Team through the alarm base unit.
      • ✓ 5 year pendant battery life so doesn't need charging
      • ✓ Option to add a second user and pendant.

      Digital Personal Alarm

      3. Digital Fall Alarm

      Digital Fall Alarm


      The Digital Fall Alarm has all the benefits of an in-home personal alarm with fall detection included.

      • ✓ Worn as a neck pendant or wrist.
      • ✓ Built-in fall detection included in the pendant.
      • ✓ Talk with the Emergency Resolution Team through the alarm base unit.
      • ✓ 2 year pendant battery life so doesn't need charging
      • ✓ Option to add a second user and pendant.

      Digital Fall Alarm

      4. Out-and-About Personal Alarm Watch

      Watch alarm


      If you want stylish personal alarm to wear on your wrist, try the Personal Alarm Watch.

      • ✓ Talk with the Emergency Resolution Team through the watch.
      • ✓ Includes GPS tracking.
      • Can send alerts to friends and family if the device moves outside of preset locations.
      • ✓ Built-in pedometer measures the number of steps taken daily.
      • ✓ Approx 16 - 18 hour battery charge.

        Personal Alarm Watch

        5. Out-and-About Classic GPS Alarm

        GPS alarm


        The Out-and-About Classic GPS Alarm is an easy-to-use device with one button to press:

        • ✓  Worn as a neck pendant or on a keyring.
        • ✓ Talk with the Emergency Resolution Team through the pendant.
        • Includes GPS tracking.
        • ✓ Can send alerts to friends and family if the device moves outside of preset locations.
        • ✓  48 hour pendant battery charge.

          GPS Alarm

           

          Comparing landline alarms and digital alarms

          How does a landline personal alarm work?

          A personal alarm that relies on a telephone landline is a simple but reliable device:

          1. You wear the alarm as a pendant or on your wrist.
          2. When you need help, you press the button on your wrist.
          3. This communicates to an alarm base unit in your house, which is connected to the telephone landline.
          4. The alarm base unit calls the 24-hour alarm monitoring centre. They will respond by talking with you through a built-in speaker and microphone in the base unit.
          5. If you need help, the monitoring centre will call friends, family or the emergency services.

          How personal alarms work

          How personal alarms work

           


          Digital alarm pendant

          How does a digital personal alarm work?

          Unlike landline personal alarms, digital models do not use a telephone landline to call the 24-hour monitoring centre:

          • The digital alarm pendant has a pre-fitted multi-network SIM, a bit like a mobile phone.
          • However, unlike most mobile phones, the digital alarm pendant will automatically switch between networks to get the best and most reliable signal.
          • When you press the alarm button, the pendant will call the 24-hour monitoring centre. The pendant will have speaker and microphone inside of it so you can speak directly with the monitoring centre using your pendant.
          • Digital pendants may have other features, such as GPS technology so the alarm monitoring team will know where you are when you press your button.

            What are the advantages of a digital personal alarm?

            Advantages of digital alarms

            Here are some of the advantages of digital personal alarms compared to traditional landline personal alarms:

            • They are unaffected by the BT Digital Voice upgrade plans.
            • No need to have an alarm base unit close to your telephone socket.
            • They work anywhere in the UK where there is a mobile signal. This means you can use it when out for a walk or on holiday. Digital alarms use a multi-network SIM, which means they do not rely on one mobile network. Instead they switch between networks so you get the best possible coverage.
            • Speak with the Emergency Resolution Team from any location through the “talking pendant”.
            • Cost of alarm calls included in the subscription.
            • GPS tracking included so the alarm monitoring team can accurately identify your location and direct help to you.
            • More choice of styles and designs, including a personal alarm watch.
            • New features available, including activity monitoring and fall detection.

             

            Digital Switchover FAQs

            Can you have personal alarm without a landline?

            Yes, a digital personal alarm uses a multi-network SIM rather than a telephone landline to alert the alarm monitoring centre in an emergency. This means you have more freedom and can use the digital personal alarm when you are out-and-about, not just in the home and garden.

            Which personal alarm without a landline is best?

            The Taking Care Anywhere is a popular digital personal alarm and elderly GPS tracker, although other models are also available. You can compare digital personal alarms online or our Sales Advisors can recommend a personal alarm based on your circumstances. You can speak with a Sales Advisor by calling 0800 085 7371, 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.

            How do digital personal alarms alert the monitoring centre?

            A digital personal alarm will have a pre-fitted multi-network SIM. This automatically switches between mobile networks to get the best and most reliable connection. When the alarm button is pressed, the pendant will alert the monitoring centre over the mobile network.


            How do I get a digital personal alarm?

            You can compare personal alarms online and securely place your order when it is convenient to you. Or you can speak with a Sales Advisor by calling 0800 085 7371, 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday.


            I’m an existing customer. Can I upgrade to a digital personal alarm?

            Yes, of course. Our Customer Service team are happy to help and can explain the options to you. If you would like to upgrade, call our Customer Services team on 0800 085 7371, 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday or contact us online.


            Where can I find our more about the digital switchover?

            If you want to know when your telephone lines are due to be upgraded, you should speak with your landline phone provider, or contact Ofcom or Openreach for more information:

            We are happy to help with any questions you may about your care alarm. Call our Customer Services team on 0800 085 7371, 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday or contact us online.

             

            Helping customers through the digital switchover

            To help our customer, we've published articles and resources in the Digital Switchover section of our website.

            Digital switchover articles

            Independent living products brochure

            Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

            Download brochure

            Ways to support independent living

            Independent living products brochure

            Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

            Download brochure