In 2014, a Santa Barbara-based startup called TrackR crowdfunded almost $1.7 million dollars to manufacture TrackR Bravo, a $29 Bluetooth beacon designed to help you track your stuff. The idea was simple — clip it to your keychain or slip it in your wallet, then pair it with your Android or iOS device to track its location or make it ring next time you misplace something.
Now, just months after the last of the Bravo tags finally shipped out to backers, TrackR’s team is back on Indiegogo. This time, they’re seeking funds for TrackR Atlas, a $39 Wi-Fi plug designed to make those Bravo tags even smarter.
The promise of Atlas is room-specific location tracking for all of your Bravo tags. Plug Atlas in and it’ll “map out” the room — plug enough of them in, and TrackR will be able to tell you which room your missing item is located in. From there, you’ll be able to ring your Bravo tag like normal to help find it.
The Wi-Fi connectivity is the real upgrade here, though. The Bravo tags use Bluetooth radios, which means that you can’t track them when you aren’t in Bluetooth range. With both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, the Atlas plugs fix that shortcoming. They’ll stay connected to the tags in your home 24/7, and allow you to monitor them from afar. That seems especially handy for pets — clip a TrackR Bravo onto your dog’s collar, and you’ll get an alert on your phone if she ever jumps the fence while you’re away from home.
TrackR’s also promising compatibility with the voice-controlled Amazon Echo smart speaker — that means you’ll be able to ask Alexa where your stuff’s at.
The other big selling point is TrackR’s crowd GPS network. If you lose your wallet while you’re out running errands and another TrackR user passes within Bluetooth range of its location, the network will update with the new info.
These are some pretty cool claims, but they bring up a lot of questions. How accurate is that room specific item-tracking? If you’re tracking your pet, but you don’t have enough Atlas plugs to cover your entire home, will you get flooded with annoying notifications every time Rex comes in and out of your system’s Bluetooth range? We haven’t had the chance to test those TrackR Bravo tags out yet, so it’s hard to say how useful they are compared to similar products, like Tile.
TrackR Atlas will ship worldwide, with plugs available for sockets in the US, UK, European Union and Australia. That $39 price point for each plug converts to about £25, or about AU$55, though you’ll need to add $10 (roughly £7, AU$14) for shipping outside of the US. We’ll try and test the system out in the CNET Smart Home as soon as we can — once we do, we’ll let you know how well it works with a full review.