iTraq is a credit card-sized location tracker that uses cell tower triangulation to determine its position.
The market is all but flooded with connected devices promising that you’ll never lose your keys again. Most of them use Bluetooth tethering to trigger an alert when the tracker moves out of range — but once the object goes beyond that radius, it’s impossible to pick up the signal (unless another user with the same app happens to wander by). GPS solves that problem by providing a truly global positioning network that’s accurate to within a couple of meters, but it’s notoriously power-hungry.
iTraq is taking a third way by using cellular GSM networks, which are available in most countries around the world. It determines its location based on nearby cell towers, so the more towers it sees the more accurate the signal gets. In urban areas iTraq can locate itself to within a city block — not quite as accurate as GPS and definitely less so than a Bluetooth proximity signal, but enough to get you in the ballpark of a lost item.
Users can schedule iTraq to check in more or less often, or only during certain hours. The device conserves power by spending most of its time in sleep mode. That means you can’t ping it anytime you want, but allows the battery to last longer — from four months at one check-in per hour, up to three years of life checking in once a day.
The battery isn’t rechargeable or user-replaceable, but iTraq is planning a replacement service that will cost less than buying a new tag. It’s also bundling data fees into its prices, so users will never have to worry about running out of data or managing a subscription.
We’ve yet to see a location tracker that strikes a perfect balance between battery life, location accuracy, and ubiquity of the signal. iTraq would have been close if it offered a way to hone in on the tag once from within the radius indicated by cell tower triangulation. As it is, it seems to be carving out a unique space for tracking objects where getting the exact location is less important than keeping the tag active all over the world and for long periods.
iTraq has far surpassed its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo, and the campaign continues through April 4 with shipping planned for August.
Learn more by watching the video below.
Related: Wireless Key Finders