Northern Irish company See.Sense makes a range of smart bike lights and is now adding an anti-theft tracker to the line-up, which employs the new Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) low power, wide area network to get longer life out of a battery charge.
This means a bike fitted with the AIR tracker could be traceable for up to three months, which is longer than existing products of its size.
See.Sense says that it is the first company to apply this new technology to a bike tracker, and one of the first brands to use it in any kind of tracker design.
The AIR bike tracker weighs 80g and is “half the size of a deck of cards”, according to See.Sense.
It provides GPS location and immediate alerts to a connected smartphone app, and sounds an alarm if your bike is moved (this function can be turned off).
It can be set up to send an SMS with your location to an assigned contact if it senses that you have been in an accident, and the device also gathers “depersonalised” information so that “ride insights can be shared with partners to improve conditions for cycling”.
- Estimated launch June 2020
- Three months’ battery life
- £119.99 estimated retail price
- £12 estimated annual connection charge
- Available for pledges on Kickstarter now
If you are unfamiliar with NB-IoT, essentially it is a new communications network for “things” (phones, lights, computers, anti-theft trackers, etc.) that has been designed to “enable efficient communication, long battery life for mass distributed devices and lower costs for wide geographical footprints or deep within urban infrastructure,” according to telecommunications company Vodafone.
See.Sense’s AIR tracking device will be traceable from your mobile phone (Android or iOS) in more-or-less any location worldwide once NB-IoT fully comes into effect.
The firm has worked with Vodafone in the UK to develop and test the product in its Newbury facility, which is open to manufacturers of “things” by application, in anticipation of the provider’s network launch (which will be begin in early 2020).
The AIR tracker will work on Vodafone’s network, although that doesn’t mean you need to be a Vodafone subscriber to use it.
See.Sense says: “Although See.Sense AIR is powered by Vodafone, NB-IoT is expected to be supported by all major telecommunications providers in the future”.
In talks with BikeRadar, See.Sense’s tech team noted that they “expect in a couple of years [NB-IoT will] be as ubiquitous as mobile phone roaming”. More information about NB-IoT and a coverage map can be found on gsma.com.
AIR on Kickstarter
AIR recently launched on Kickstarter and blew through its €20,000 goal in a matter of hours, with over €60,000 having been pledged at time of writing.
The AIR’s estimated retail price is £119.99 and it is set to be delivered in June 2020. Kickstarter pledges of £74 or more will receive one AIR, with the usual multiple-product deals for bigger pledges.
A two-year network connection is included for Kickstarter backers of all levels, with the usual fee applying after that period.
Of course, the system does depend on the AIR tracker being attached to your bike, and the fact that it is an external unit, which obtains best coverage when attached under the saddle or bottle cage, means that savvy thieves might notice and know to remove it.
It is connected with a securite torx key, but, as a number of Kickstarter backers have noted, perhaps something more tamper-proof might provide further security for your bike.