Crowdsourced tracking

A bunch of people are trying this one, so many in fact that I sadly have to declare them all DOA. Dead On Arrival.

I mean no ill will to any of them, and I just picked this one to blog about because it popped up on my feed, there are just too many of them to list.

Electronic tags to help stop you losing stuff are nothing new. But usually they rely on Bluetooth or similar to sound an alarm when an object goes out of range.

A new solution from Canadian company Linquet mixes the cloud and the sharing economy to track tagged devices in a kind of internet of lost things.

“We’ve all been there. We always lose or misplace our phones, keys, wallets, laptops, pretty much everything,” says Pooya Kazerouni, Linquet’s president. “Now, we have a product that is much more than a great anti-loss solution. Not only does Linquet prevent your valuables from getting lost in the first place, but it also allows for smart sharing and connecting of important items with guests, acquaintances and customers”.

[Note, there is nothing ‘new’ about this, nothing special, nothing exciting, it’s just the same old thing with a press release crafted to entice your money from your wallet].

So the idea is that you have a small Bluetooth ‘tag’. It’s like an iBeacon.
It attaches to the thing you want to track. A handbag, a wallet, a bike, a dog, what ever.
It transmits a serial number every second or so, if your phone is within range (around 50 feet – 15m), its all good. Go out of range, and your phone beeps.

But. What happens if you don’t hear your phone beep and you walk off, get in your car and get home, then realize the object is not in range?
You are out of luck?
Enter the crowdsourced tracking. If another person that is running the same app as you is within range of the tag, the cloud computer knows that the tag belongs to you, so alerts your phone, not the phone that is within range.
Thus you can rush to the location and try and get your item back.

Notice the glitch?
The challenge is, your tag only works with the app that you buy. If the other person has a different tag tracking app, you’re out of luck.
Since there are so many companies that think they have something unique and special (greed) to offer, the chances of anyone being so close to your tag and having your app is almost zero.

What should have happen is that all the app companies should have a central tag database. That way, no matter who the maker of the tag, no matter what the app, if any of the several apps or tag companies were within range, you get a notification.

The problem is a human one, not a technical one. No one wants to share or play nice with others.
The result is you lose the item with the tag attached.

The end result is that because of greed, we all lose.