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  1. Yep so currently Australia is a no go with 2G (turn off has already started). USA are reducing bandwidth but coverage won't really be affected (as far as I know for now it's hard to get concrete info). 2019-2020 might start seeing degraded functionality. Rest of the world has not announced any plans for 2G switch off because it's still used a lot by industry. I think overall nothing to worry about just yet, but the plan is to release a 4g device next year to address the issue (which might well coincide with releasing a device that's suitable for skydivers). Useful to know about coverage At the risk of sounding grumpy and cynical: you don't get anything for free.. (that is designed to get companies on board who will eventually buy 100s of SIMs). I'd rather work on a sustainable business model than compromise the device / functionality / user experience. Sounds like I'm making excuses but we've been down the "own SIM" route and it doesn't work.. people don't top up the sim cards, can't set APNs, etc. and it's all our fault. I appreciate that's not the case for a lot of people, but the headaches we had just aren't worth it from our point of view as a business. The data plans we offer are also far cheaper than anything you can buy yourself, at least in the UK and Europe (when you factor minimum top-ups and credit expiry).
  2. Ok. All useful info. The subscription: I get your point and I would want the same thing. The issue is that we still pay for the mobile phone contract. However, given the relatively low usage of this application we can probably use a cheaper contract. So would a business model where you pay $20 per year (possibly have 3 years rolled into the device cost) and then $10 per cutaway be acceptable? (Whilst I like your ransomware model SethInMI we wouldn't charge per ping ) Now I want to revisit the point about spotty GPRS / phone coverage. How common is this? Assuming the answer is "quite", we have a device in the pipeline with a local network backup (10 mile Line of Sight range, but at least a few miles with obstacles). This could be perfect for this application but the downsides are increased size (current design is credit card size) and you need a specialized receiver. I think at this point if anyone could offer some rough "maximum size and weight" information for something attached to the pilot chute that would be really helpful
  3. Thank you very much for these detailed responses. Gradually getting my head around all of this! Firstly, I want to address the missing info in my first post: Lightbug locates itself with GPS & GLONASS and sends it's position over the mobile phone network (GPRS / 2G, worldwide roaming) Bluetooth is an added feature to detect if you're near to it, not integral to tracking. (BT range < 30m) This does mean you need cell phone coverage for it to work as intended but also that the range is effectively unlimited if that is the case It's basically another GPS Tracker, the difference is battery life, roaming across all networks, and size (so yeah, apologies for missing the important bit in my intro..) dthames - I really like your idea of installing it in the pilot chute as that addresses all the issues that I've been told about. I'm the last person who can comment on whether it's a good idea or not, but how small would it have to be? I like to give a reference saying Lightbug is smaller than a car key Say it was small enough and worked, then presumably charging it every few months wouldn't be an issue? (based on the ~100 jumps per year figure decompression gave) Just seen your response SethInMI.. Thanks
  4. Hi, I notice there's quite a few posts on this topic already but as far as I can tell the issue of tracking cutaways still hasn't been resolved successfully. I'm the founder / main developer for the LightBug Solar GPS tracker Quite a few people have approached me asking if they could use it for tracking cut-away canopies. I usually answer with a tentative "yes" because I know nothing about skydiving, but it's something I'd like to look into, so here I am... Firstly, the Lightbug specs: Weight: 33g Dimensions: 53x27x15 mm / 2.08"x1.06"x0.6" Battery Life (assuming no sunlight): 1 location every 12h : 300 days Effectively: at least 600 "pings" on one charge Charging time:~1h Attachment: reinforced keyring loop Now, I'm trying to work out what needs to be done to make this a useful product for the skydiving community. My initial thoughts were you use it as a jump tracker (1 second tracking of speed, alt, position..), attach it to your main canopy, and then charge it after every jump. So it serves a double function. But it seems that smartphones do a good enough / more convenient job of that which is fair enough So 2nd idea was to pack it in with your canopy, and forget about it for 6-12 months. When it's stationary it stays off, sending one update per day. When you pick up your bag for a jump, LightBug connects via Bluetooth to your phone and stays asleep as long as you are near it. In the event of a cutaway, the device will be "moving" without being connected to your phone, which will trigger the "wake" condition. (You can also set a "safe" Wifi network, so it stays asleep even if it is moved wherever you store the bag) This effectively means you will get one location every 24h, for 6-12 months and get more regular location updates when you need them. This makes sense to me, but since I'm yet to go skydiving, I don't really know what I'm talking about. The assumptions I wanted to check here: - Attachment: is a keyring loop good enough? - Bluetooth connection: is it fair to assume that you have your smartphone on you when you jump? - Operating mode: is the above scenario optimal? Or would it be better to get one location every 4h for 3 months regardless of what's happening since you have to repack anyway? (no issues with movement detection of need for bluetooth) Any feedback would be much appreciated. Obviously my aim in the long run is to sell more devices, but I want to make sure Lightbug is right for the application first.. Thanks Chris