Guess what, you can find cats on the Internet. Even your own cat


Than again, maybe he doesn’t want to be found.

The Internet of Things gets a lot more relevant when it becomes the Internet of Your Things. Keys, phones and pets, for example. Stuff you need to find every so often. That’s the simple idea behind TrackR, a company founded by a couple of U.C. Santa Barbara students and funded on Indiegogo.

They make little coin-sized gizmos that you can attach to your stuff and link to your smart phone via Bluetooth 4.0. If you can’t find your keys, open the app and trigger a beep. And it works both ways – if you have your keys and can’t find your phone, the TrackR device will page it. When you go looking for it, the app will tell you if you’re getting hotter or colder, based on the Bluetooth signal strength.

That’s not the coolest part, though. Simple beepers have been around forever – no big deal. Because the TrackR system runs through your smart phone, you can set up a (currently free) account and track your stuff via crowdsourced GPS. If you opt in to the network, any time another user passes within 100 feet of your stuff, his or her smartphone will see it and upload the location info to the TrackR servers, which will then pass it on to you.

Right now, pets seem to be the killer app. If you’ve ever gone looking for a missing cat, you know that that the cat controls the game. With the distance indicator and a couple of friends with their own TrackR accounts, the balance of power will shift. Maybe even in your favor.

Right now, TrackR is selling a $30 credit card-sized device to put in your wallet and a low-powered tag for $25. A beefier tag, called the Bravo, is due out in January with an expected price of $30.

Simplicity seems to sell. The founders originally went to Indiegogo looking for $20,000. So far, they’ve raised more than $1.3 million.

About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management, planning and business development consultancy for municipal and community broadband initiatives. He is a 30-year industry veteran and an expert in developing new broadband infrastructure and services, including wireless, fiber optic and satellite systems. His career includes playing key roles in the launch and growth of DirecTv in the U.S., as well as other satellite broadcasting platforms around the world. For the past ten years, he has helped build municipal wireless and fiber optic broadband systems. His client list includes many California cities, such as San Leandro, Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Lompoc and Folsom. He’s a member of the executive team for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and has worked with other regional consortia in California. Steve is the author of seven books on the Internet and satellite broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to professional journals and industry events. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in East Asia Studies from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. He is a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, and is currently ranked in the top 100 of the Challenge Triathlon world rankings, out of more than 30,000 athletes.