Your fitness tracker already keeps tabs on the health benefits of your long run or your remote hike, but now, it can also keep tabs on your safety. Now that Garmin has brought Strava’s safety features into its collection of wearables, the benefits of wearing a fitness tracker are twofold — not only are you able to see how many calories you’ve burned, but your friends and family will also be able to “see” you. Or at least, know where you are in case of an emergency.
Over the summer, Strava unveiled a new safety feature, known as Beacon, which allows users to choose up to three contacts to receive a text message whenever they begin activity. A unique URL found in the text allows emergency contacts to track users in a map in real time, so even if a runner is alone miles away, he or she can rest assured that someone is watching.
And now, Beacon has made its way to Garmin fitness trackers, notably the Edge 520, Edge 820, Edge 1000, Edge Explore 820, Forerunner 230, Forerunner 235, Forerunner 630, Forerunner 735XT, and Fenix 3.
In order to function, Beacon syncs directly with Garmin’s LiveTrack feature, and allows any three emergency contacts to monitor the Garmin wearer’s progress. Contacts can also see how much battery is remaining on the wearer’s device. And even if you don’t have a Strava account of your own, you can still take advantage of Beacon’s functionality (at least, from the emergency contact side).
Strava is known for its tracking abilities, and already sells anonymized tracking data to planning groups and government agencies responsible for improving biking, walking, and running tracks across the United States. Of course, if that sounds a bit creepy to you, Strava allows you to opt out of that particular kind of tracking.
So the next time you go on a run with your Garmin device, let someone know where you’re going by way of Beacon.