The beach community of Santa Barbara, California, is home to lush ocean views and sprawling sandy shores. It was there that Chris Herbert came up with the concept of TrackR Bravo, having lost the keys to his car after a day of sun and surf.
“I went surfing and my key fell out of my wetsuit on the beach. My car was parked below the high tide line and when I came in to move my car, I couldn’t find my keys! Luckily people with metal detectors came by and found my keys before the ocean swept away my car.
That made me wish for an easy way to keep track of items,” Herbert says.
TrackR Bravo is small, sleek disc that can be connected to a bunch of keys, held snugly inside a wallet or simply attached to a surface with its optional adhesive backside. It is roughly the size of a coin and functions with an accompanying smartphone app. It pairs up with your phone – either device lets you know when the other falls outside a certain parameter that is determined by the user. For example, if your bicycle goes missing with TrackR Bravo attached to it, you can survey its location using your smartphone’s GPS functionality.
TrackR Bravo works in reverse too. Should the device be on hand and your phone is missing, the metallic coin can be activated to engage your smartphone and make it ring remotely.
One technical constraint is the radius of connectivity that TrackR uses. It works with low energy Bluetooth, meaning its scanner reaches up to 100 feet or 30 meters. TrackR Bravo cannot send its whereabouts to your phone if it lies far beyond that boundary. While this may seem to be a considerable drawback, its power becomes manifold when the TrackR Crowd feature is activated.
TrackR Crowd utilises the 100ft radius of all TrackR devices to search for your lost item. It strings all units together to create a collective geographical minefield of detection for your missing TrackR coin.
Should the TrackR app or device of someone else come within 100ft of your lost item, its coordinates will be sent automatically from their device to let you know where your lost item was noticed. This feature could essentially privatise the function of vehicle tracking since the TrackR Bravo can be hidden inside a car easily without incurring monthly charges. By nature, this still relies on the popularity of the device and the chance of another user coming within the radius of your missing TrackR coin.
The Phone Halo company remains confident in this necessary proliferation, boasting a growing number of over 10 000 users that have become part of TrackR Crowd’s detection network in the USA.