The Bluetooth tracker to help people stop leaving their wallet or purse behind has become almost ubiquitous, as has the GPS-based tracker for things that people have deemed a little bit more valuable, such as fleets of cars or even pets. But for those of us who aren’t made of money or who don’t want to pop a heavy module on a child or animal, the newly launched iTraq device looks pretty intriguing.
The product launched on Indiegogo on Wednesday, although it won’t ship until August. What’s cool about it is that it determines its position and location in the world using cellular towers. That means it doesn’t rely on its distance from a phone or its distance from another person’s phone using the app the way many of the Bluetooth trackers out there do.
Products like Tile or the newly launched Pixie work fine if you want a reminder that you’ve left your keys behind, but it can take a long time before you are reunited with a lost item if that item is in a place where not a lot of people are running the device’s app.
With iTraq, the device can be set to ping cell towers at certain times to save on battery life, but when it does ping the towers, it uses triangulation to figure out where it is within 100 feet. Obviously, this can give you too wide a range if you are looking for your lost keys or wallet in an urban area, but it could be useful for a larger item like your bike or your dog. The battery life is up to three years depending on how you set the ping time.
Unlike many other cellular-based devices, the iTraq doesn’t come with a subscription fee. All communication expenses are included in the up-front pricing, which runs from $39 in the first two days of the campaign for first movers and settles out to $49 for one tracker. There are also package deals that range from $129 for three to $196 for five.
But, a word of caution. The iTraq is using a module from a company called [company]GeoTraq[/company], which is traded over the counter and is a relatively unknown entity with no revenue and little history. iTraq purchased $300,000 worth of GeoTraq modules in December, presumably to help build the beta versions of its products and kickstart this campaign. Its most recent filings with the SEC indicate that GeoTraq has assets of $38,241, and will spend at least $200,000 in development, marketing and sales of the technology over the next 12 months.
I’ve reached out to iTraq to understand a bit more about its relationship with GeoTraq and its confidence in the delivery of the modules on which the iTraq product rests, and will update the story when I learn more.