Do you have a habit of losing your stuff? Or just forgetting to bring one thing or another with you? Here’s some good news for you. There are now several products designed to help you keep track and remind you about your stuffs. One of them comes from the Singapore company Innova Technology.
It’s called the PROTAG Elite, and is in fact Innova Technology’s second generation lost-and-found gadget. The Elite runs on Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, and has apps for both iOS and Android. You will need an iOS or Android phone that supports Bluetooth Low Energy.
Let’s talk about what you can do with the PROTAG Elite. First, you pair the Elite with your smartphone. Then, you put the Elite in your wallet, bag, or whatever other valuable stuff you want to track.
Now, suppose you’re at home in the morning, setting off for work. You bring your phone, but you forgot your wallet. As you step out of your door, or beyond the configured “secure range” of the Elite, your phone sets off an alarm notification to alert you. Nice, so you get back into your house to fetch your wallet.
You can configure the “secure range” for each Elite you pair with, choosing between “near” (about 2 to 3 metres) or “far” (something like over 15 metres). Why do you need this? Well, you may want to know as soon as possible the moment your wallet goes farther than an arm’s length away. But it’s alright for your bag, or coat, or some other item to be a little further. Like, for example, at the office, it’s alright as long as your work bag is still somewhere around in the office, no need for it to be by your side all the time.
The PROTAG Elite also supports secure Wi-Fi zones. You set this up in the iOS or Android app, so that when your phone is within a specified Wi-Fi area, the app stops bugging you about your Elite tagged stuff. How is this useful? Well, say you’re at home (i.e. area of your home Wi-Fi coverage), you don’t want to be bugged about your wallet not being near enough to your phone.
There are other features I would have liked, but alas are not part of the PROTAG Elite. For example, to further help locate a lost item, it would be nice to have the PROTAG Elite sound a buzzer or something so you can follow it with your ears.
I tested the Android app on my Samsung Galaxy S4, and unfortunately I found the app to be a serious battery drain on the phone. Now, the PROTAG Elite I have is a pre-production sample, and the app presumably will continue to be optimized, so hopefully by launch time, the situation will be much improved.
Moving on, there is also the cloud service called PROTAG Trace that, in a nutshell, can be described as a lost-and-found system for the phone itself. After you install the PROTAG app in your iOS or Android phone, you will be asked to create an account to use on the PROTAG Trace website. On the website, you can check and view the location of your phone on a map, lock the phone, send a message, or snap a photo. It’s pretty much like other phone lost-and-found systems.
The PROTAG Elite runs on an internal battery which the company says is good for 18 months. Fortunately, it is rechargeable, via a nifty pop-out USB port. This is really nice, because other competing products either ask you to buy another gadget, or get a coin battery replacement.
Selling at US$55 for a pair at their Indiegogo project page, the PROTAG Elite works out to be US$27.50 a piece (about S$35.75). The project funding ends on 6 Sep 2013. It’s a little on the high side, but I’m sure it becomes immeasurably valuable if it helps you to find back your important stuff just once.
The PROTAG Elite is one of the new generation of Bluetooth Low Energy lost-and-found tracker gadgets. Paired with an iOS or Android app packed with useful features, the PROTAG Elite makes it a practical solution to help manage the barrage of paraphernalia around you.
- Bluetooth Low Energy
- Radar distance tracking works quite well
- Long rated battery life with easily rechargeable battery
- No way to ring the gadget
- It may be 3mm thin, but still too bulky for many men’s wallets