By Michelle Choi, an insider at Lease Advisors
Tracking devices and apps like Lapa, Tile, and Guardian are gaining popularity for their ability to help locate missing valuables and even people. A new tracking device that uses cellular triangulation as opposed to GPS or Bluetooth technology is in its final stages of crowd funding and development, ready to be shipped to consumers this June. iTraq, about the size of about five credit cards put together, is unique because it uses cell towers to report its location anywhere in the world (except Japan and Korea, which lack the network). The use of a common GSM cellular networking standard allows the tag to be located anywhere that has cell towers, the way laptops can “see” available Wi-fi networks.
iTraq co-founder, Roman Isakov, described the device saying, “[it] wakes up, scans, transmits data, and goes back to sleep again.” With an app that allows users to schedule specified intervals for the app to check-in with the tag’s location, whether hourly or daily. iTraq currently has a battery life of up to three years and 1,500 communications cycles; the less the device checks in, the longer the battery lasts. While many GPS or Bluetooth trackers have limited range with high battery usage, iTraq’s use of cell towers extends the battery life while expanding its range.
Because cell towers return less precise location data than Wi-fi, iTraq is not ideal for tracking objects lost around the house. The device does have enough precision to let users know if their car is at home or in a parking lot. Accuracy is also dependent on the density of towers in any given area. iTraq is optimal for “those who want peace of mind in knowing their valuables are safely in their designated locations,” Isakov said. Additionally, guard mode allows users to set a boundary and sets an alert the moment the tag leaves the designated area. The app is able to track and manage multiple devices with their own names and ringtones, logging a map history with time stamp if desired.
Having struck a deal with an undisclosed cellular provider, iTraq requires no extra charge for its service other than the upfront cost of the device which powers itself until the battery runs out. In the current test board stage with its prototype, manufacturers are completing testing, debugging, and power consumption measurements with the funds raised. A subsequent version will have a rechargeable battery. The new addition of iTraq to a line of cellular tracking devices brings cell towers into the game, literally extending its capabilities for users everywhere.