GPS-based location devices: have we become too security-conscious?
By Jude Garvey
October 23, 2009
Gizmag has featured a number of GPS based location devices and concepts that are designed to keep track of your most loved people, pets and possessions. From the Nu.M8 child watch system, to a GPS dog-collar device or a range of tracking devices capable of following just about anyone or anything. The latest in an ever expanding range of tracking devices - the Ekahau wrist-tag, is a tracking device that allows monitoring via a Wi-Fi network. When will it end? Not anytime soon - we checked out three different tracking systems on (or soon to be released on to) the market.
BrickHouse Security’s Amber Alert GPS system
The Amber Alert GPS system (AAGPS) is a small tracking device that can be placed into a child’s bag or attached to their wrist, ankle or belt. It is ideal for parents wanting to track their child’s whereabouts when the child is away - on a school camp, for example. The parents simply call or text the AAGPS device and they receive a detailed map and address of the child’s location via a text or web-enabled phone. The location results arrive within seconds and parents can also track location updates on their computer.
The device measures just over an inch across, and also features an “SOS” alert button that the child can activate to send an emergency signal home. If it's being used to keep an eye on a teenager, it can send speed alerts if the teen’s vehicle exceeds speed limits and will record a retrievable trail of exactly where they have traveled.
The AAGPS retails for US$379 and requires a monthly subscription plan. Whilst the device has merits, will teens appreciate their every move being tracked and will children send emergency SOS calls from summer camp just because the food isn’t up to scratch? See BrickHouse Security for more details
AT&T;’s Family Map locates family members by their mobile phone
A new tool offered by AT&T; is designed to locate a family member's phone via a web browser on a computer or mobile phone. Users will pay a monthly subscription fee to view the location of their family members as well as surrounding landmarks such as parks or schools. They will be able to change views from satellite maps to interactive street maps and can customize the maps by adding a name and photo to each phone device included in the plan.
The maps can also be labeled for places that the phone user visits regularly, for example, “school” or “home”. There is an option to include a schedule check so parents are alerted via email or text to check on the child’s location – is little Johnny really at gym?
The service will cost around US$9.99 per month to monitor one phone and the cost for up to five phones is around US$14.99 per month. This device would certainly work initially…but what about when the kid works out to leave their mobile phone with a trusted friend whilst they abscond? It could also lead to an apprehension order. See AT&T; for details.
Isaac Daniel Shoes offer GPS and Bluetooth
So here’s the last offering and it’s a beauty. Don a pair of Isaac Daniel’s Compass and Blue GPS shoes and you will be able to let friends and family know exactly where you are - via your Bluetooth compatible phone.
It’s possible they may release these in kid sizes and they could be useful for folk who tend to wander off– you’ll just need to make sure you keep an eye on your phone all the time. You can pre-order a pair from US$150 from Isaac Daniel.
So, is the world becoming too sensitive about security, or are new technologies making the lives of parents and those caring for the young and elderly a little easier? Le us know your thoughts in the comments section below.