There’s an old saying in show business that goes something like, “Never work with children or animals.” That’s fine advice if you work in film or theatre, but if you’re a parent or pet owner you gave up making that choice didn’t you. So what do you do now? You’re stuck with these wild, uncontrollable, messy creatures; rolling in puddles, eating and sniffing whatever they find lying on the ground, and the pets are even worse. You can’t always keep them in sight and you don’t want to crush their spirit of adventure and discovery but letting them run loose isn’t a realistic option either. Along comes Wonder Technology Solutions, a Swedish company that laughs at old show business sayings and reminds you that there’s plenty of good business in parenting with their product Trax.
Trax is a GPS tracking device and app designed to help people keep track of their children and animals. The tracking device was created to be as small and light as possible, durable and waterproof too of course, which makes sense considering this is something you’ll attach to an animal’s collar or a child’s clothing. It also comes with a built-in SIM card that provides two years of free data and data-roaming in 28 countries so you can even use it when you go abroad. Just check you’re going to a matching country first, and have a data-roaming plan for your mobile worked out as the free deal only includes the tracker.
The app seems well thought out too as it includes features such as alerts if the tracker is dropped, gets low on battery or begins to move too fast, the speed rate you can set yourself. Another neat feature is the ability to create boundaries, geofencing they’ve called it, so that your child can roam within a certain area, say a playground, or within a radius of your mobile device and you’ll be notified if they leave that area. They also seem happy to promote their augmented reality feature which helps you get your bearings if you can’t figure out which direction your child has wandered off in. The app will use your camera to show you your surroundings as you scan the area and it will show an overlay of where the tracker is and how far away.
Now I’ve been using the terms animal and pet so far in this article but it should be pointed out that while they do include photos of dogs with the tracking device attached to the collar their FAQ says that they have not yet tested the tracker with cats. I’m sure many cat owners out there would be curious to discover where it is their cats wander off to when they’re out of the house while at the same time being amused at the thought of a cat putting up with any extra weight added to their already annoying collar.
The Trax can be ordered now through their website for 199€ in Blue, Green, Orange or Raspberry Red, delicious bright colours your little monsters will just delight in trying to eat I’m sure. Then after the two year data plan expires you can subscribe for a monthly fee of $5, yes that’s US dollars, and no I’m not sure why the device is priced in Euros and the later monthly fee in dollars either.
Trax isn’t the only device of this type on the market, competitors like Pocket Finder, Amber Alert and Securus Zoom also offer small GPS based tracking devices. However they all appear to be based in the US and expensive additional roaming costs are charged if the device is used outside North America. So it appear that only if you’re living in the US do you have some options to pick from, although at under 200€ and with a two year free service plan the Trax is still very competitively priced.
So do you feel the need to keep your rabid tearaways on the invisible, intangible leash that Trax provides? Just remember the app won’t be able to pull your animals back to you, you’re still going to have to chase them down. There’s no app for that… yet.