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NEW GPS Tracker

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findmycanopy

Hello Hellis, I'm Taneva, one of the inventors of the Get it Back.

***
Uses their server (if they go out of buissiness, it's worth nothing)



Once we get through manufacturing and get the product out to consumers, it’s actually very easy for us to keep the devices connected to the network. So even if we close the doors, as long as you pay the yearly bill we can pay the carriers to keep the device connected from our end. We invested a huge chunk of time and money into a back-end system that would, in the event that we had to stop manufacturing devices, take care of itself, with minimal input from myself or Brendan.

Yes there is a risk to being an early adopter, but we tried to make it as minimal as possible for the consumers. I feel like it’s my personal reputation, of 18 years in the sport, on the line here with my community and family of skydivers if we let you down. Not just money.


Quote

Cost is quite high for what it is (a GPS tracker), but it is very customized though.



I'm not sure exactly what trackers you are referring to. Every tracker we have looked at is as much or more per year, and are only good within a certain country or region. Our subscription allows the device to be used in about 130 countries, without the hassle of signing up for roaming services.


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The GPSes I use to build the same costs about $40 and no subscription or server.
But I'm still having smal issues that needs to be fixed

How are you transmitting the data from your device to your cell phone or receiver then? GPS is receive only and has no transmission capabilities without a cellular or radio transmitter.


Sms.
Simple and cheap.

It's a GPS and GSM device. So you just call the phonenumber and it hangs up.
Wait one minute to get a GPS position, then it sends you the google maps link.
Over here we don't need a subscription for it, you can buy a prepaid sim for ~$7 and it will continue to work as long as you use it at least once a year.


However I must say that it now seems as a better product as you have answered som questions here.

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Hellis


Sms.
Simple and cheap.



Actually, we are using SMS to send out the positional data. Partly for cost, but also because SMS rides on the baseband frequency of the cellular signal. This means it requires VASTLY less signal quality and electrical power to get a message out than if we were trying to use a UDP connection or something. Even in places where a phone shows barely one bar or even "No Service", we've found that our device can often still get out an SMS position update.

Quote

It's a GPS and GSM device. So you just call the phonenumber and it hangs up.
Wait one minute to get a GPS position, then it sends you the google maps link.
Over here we don't need a subscription for it, you can buy a prepaid sim for ~$7 and it will continue to work as long as you use it at least once a year.



Two separate issues here: one is the cellular module itself, and the other is the SIM card/rate plan/carrier agreement. I think if you try and scale your device up, you'll find there's a huge gap between "hobby project that works on pre-paid SIMs" and "Fully engineered device ready for mass production and worldwide use". Our first proof-of-concept was identical to what you describe, using an Arduino as a base: http://findmycanopy.com/development/

Regarding the cellular radio: While there's a plethora of tiny and cheap cellular modules that work fine in hobby or small regional products (uBlox has some great ones), if you start trying to scale them up to an international product you find limitations. They're usually region-specific; they work only in Europe or only in North America, not both. They're also usually 2G or 3G only; they won't do both.

Regarding SIMS, pre-paid SIMs have a lot of limitations, aside from what will happen if you go to your carrier and ask to buy 5,000 of them (try it and see). They're usually carrier and region specific; they won't roam to other companies networks and they won't work overseas (or if they do they're very expensive). They also expire, many require that they be connected to the network at least once every 90 days, regardless of if any actual data/messages are sent or not.

We've designed around these problems by using a Hex-band cellular module; it works on both the EU and North American frequencies, it works on on any 2G or 3G GSM network, and we've got roaming/carrier agreements in 130 countries that will allow this device to work internationally with no extra fees or roaming charges. This capability makes it more expensive; our cellular module alone costs a lot more than the price you quoted, and that's even with us getting large volume discounts. And that's before we factor in the power regulation circuitry, the microprocessors, GPS and cellular antennas.

I'm the engineering half of the team who's created the Get It Back, so I'm more than happy to talk shop if you've got any more technical questions. :)

-Brendan

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findmycanopy

***
Sms.
Simple and cheap.



Actually, we are using SMS to send out the positional data. Partly for cost, but also because SMS rides on the baseband frequency of the cellular signal. This means it requires VASTLY less signal quality and electrical power to get a message out than if we were trying to use a UDP connection or something. Even in places where a phone shows barely one bar or even "No Service", we've found that our device can often still get out an SMS position update.

Quote

It's a GPS and GSM device. So you just call the phonenumber and it hangs up.
Wait one minute to get a GPS position, then it sends you the google maps link.
Over here we don't need a subscription for it, you can buy a prepaid sim for ~$7 and it will continue to work as long as you use it at least once a year.



Two separate issues here: one is the cellular module itself, and the other is the SIM card/rate plan/carrier agreement. I think if you try and scale your device up, you'll find there's a huge gap between "hobby project that works on pre-paid SIMs" and "Fully engineered device ready for mass production and worldwide use". Our first proof-of-concept was identical to what you describe, using an Arduino as a base: http://findmycanopy.com/development/

Regarding the cellular radio: While there's a plethora of tiny and cheap cellular modules that work fine in hobby or small regional products (uBlox has some great ones), if you start trying to scale them up to an international product you find limitations. They're usually region-specific; they work only in Europe or only in North America, not both. They're also usually 2G or 3G only; they won't do both.

Regarding SIMS, pre-paid SIMs have a lot of limitations, aside from what will happen if you go to your carrier and ask to buy 5,000 of them (try it and see). They're usually carrier and region specific; they won't roam to other companies networks and they won't work overseas (or if they do they're very expensive). They also expire, many require that they be connected to the network at least once every 90 days, regardless of if any actual data/messages are sent or not.

We've designed around these problems by using a Hex-band cellular module; it works on both the EU and North American frequencies, it works on on any 2G or 3G GSM network, and we've got roaming/carrier agreements in 130 countries that will allow this device to work internationally with no extra fees or roaming charges. This capability makes it more expensive; our cellular module alone costs a lot more than the price you quoted, and that's even with us getting large volume discounts. And that's before we factor in the power regulation circuitry, the microprocessors, GPS and cellular antennas.

I'm the engineering half of the team who's created the Get It Back, so I'm more than happy to talk shop if you've got any more technical questions. :)

-Brendan

Why buy the simcards to the user?
Why not let the end user decide what carrier he/she wants?

I understand you want to solve everything, but is it really needed?
I'm quite sure people know how to insert a simcard.
If it's a enclosed device I understand the issue the reason but if it's possible to open it...

Regarding roaming, network quality and how long they are activated depends a lot on the carrier and country.
Again.. here it's not an issue.
All carriers here have good enough network for most areas you will ever visit.
Roaming is as far as I know possible.

And some (or most) carriers have M2M sims.
They are generally quite cheap.

Regarding the price of your parts, I can't comment on that.
But I bought 10 units and costed me $38 each.
Buying larger scale probably makes it cheaper.
But this is an of the shelf product, so costs are different.

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