February 21, 2017

Protect What's Most Important

Whatever precious person, pet, or possession you're keen to track, Bay Area outfit iotera thinks iota is the device for you. Reviewed by Bike Index's Bryan Hance on BikePortland.org last week, iota is a diminutive—43×22×11 millimeters—GPS tracker that relies on radio rather than cellular signals. So no monthly fees! The iota also boasts a long-lasting battery that only needs recharging every two to four weeks. 

Each iota tracker ships with a "home base" that connects to an in-home wi-fi network and has a 1/2- to 1-mile range. Two crowdsourced networks—a community of iota home bases and every mobile phone running the iota app—enable tracking farther afield.

Although Hance's review notes ways in which the iota could be more useful to bike owners—by fitting into handlebars, say, or mooching power off lights—the tracker has already helped reunite at least one cyclist with a stolen ride:

Iota's reliance on a network of individually owned base stations does mean, though, that the protection offered depends on the extent of community buy-in. I checked out the company's coverage map and was pleasantly surprised by the number of stations already active in and around my Northern Virginia 'hood. I wonder if iotera would consider offering bulk discounts—at $149 a pop, iota is not cheap—to groups of neighbors together capable of adding swathes of acreage to the area covered.  

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