In 2014, a Santa Barbara-based startup called TrackR funded nearly $ 1.7 million to produce TrackR Bravo, a $ 29 Bluetooth beacon designed to help you keep track of your stuff. The idea was simple: clip it to your keychain or slip it into your wallet, then pair it with your Android or iOS device to track its location or make it ring the next time you lose something.
Now, a few months after the latest Bravo tag was finally shipped to supporters, the TrackR team is back on Indiegogo. This time around, they’re looking for funds for the TrackR Atlas, a $ 39 Wi-Fi outlet designed to make Bravo tags even smarter.
Atlas’ promise is room-specific location tracking for all your Bravo tags. Connect Atlas and it will “map” the room – connect enough of them and TrackR will be able to tell you which room the missing object is in. From there, you’ll be able to play your Bravo tag as usual to help find it.
Wi-Fi connectivity is the real upgrade here, though. Bravo tags use Bluetooth radios, which means you can’t track them when you’re out of range of Bluetooth. With both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, Atlas plugs solve this problem. They will stay connected to your home tags 24/7 and allow you to monitor them from afar. Seems especially useful for pets – clip a TrackR Bravo to your dog’s collar and you’ll get an alert on your phone if they ever jump the fence while you’re away from home.
TrackR also promises compatibility with the voice-activated Amazon Echo smart speaker, which means you’ll be able to ask Alexa where your stuff is.
The other big selling point is TrackR’s GPS crowd network. If you lose your wallet while out running errands and another TrackR user passes within the Bluetooth range of their location, the network will update with the new information.
These are some pretty interesting claims, but they raise a lot of questions. How accurate is the tracking of the specific object for that room? If you’re tracking your pet, but don’t have enough Atlas outlets to cover your entire home, will you be showered with annoying notifications every time Rex comes in and out of your system’s Bluetooth range? We haven’t had a chance to test those TrackR Bravo tags yet, so it’s hard to tell how useful they are compared to similar products, like Tile.
TrackR Atlas will ship worldwide, with plugs available for sockets in the US, UK, EU and Australia. That price of $ 39 for each plug converts to around £ 25, or around AU $ 55, though you’ll have to add $ 10 (around £ 7, AU $ 14) for shipping outside the US. We will research and test the system in the CNET Smart Home as soon as possible – once done, we’ll let you know how it works with a full review.