GPS locators are great tools for keeping track of all kinds of things. You might be constantly losing your keys, for instance, or you might need to keep an eye on your luggage while you travel. There’s always a need to track something. Ping promises to be the world’s smallest global GPS locator, meaning you can use it for pretty much anything imaginable.
Available through an Indiegogo campaign, the device is waterproof, rechargeable, attachable to mostly anything and provides a one touch check-in function. It comes with a one year data plan, offering Bluetooth for local range tracking and GPS for bigger distances. Being so small and durable, it’s an ideal looking accessory to keep an eye on your items as well as even use as an emergency device.
A simple tap sends its location to a connected phone with a tap and hold sending SOS alerts in case of a problem, which could be ideal for people with young children or pets who might wander off and get lost.
We talked to Ping founder, Josh Lippiner, to find out more about its path to success.
“Like many simple ideas— necessity [is how Ping came about]. When my daughter went off to kindergarten I was worried about a little six year old on a school bus,” he says.
“I bought the only device available at the time, which was the size of a small hockey puck, and 36 hours later it was dead and useless. With nothing else on the market I started contacting K&R (kidnap and ransom firms) in South America but decided implanting an RFID chip and having her wear a GPS box on her belt was a bit extreme. I just wanted a solution to a common problem— where is my child right now?”
In need of a more elegant and simpler solution, Lippiner started work on what would become Ping. The idea may have been born in 2010, but initial R&D didn’t start until 2012 and Ping wasn’t founded until February 2016. From there, it’s been a gradual route to the product available on Indiegogo.
Lippiner and the Ping team hoped to create the perfect GPS locator device, which meant cramming a bevy of technology into a small footprint and getting it to last for weeks on a single charge. To get there, the team had to think creatively and approach the challenges GPS tracking devices present in new ways.
“We’re combining three different antennas (BTLE, Cell and GPS) into a watertight device slightly larger then a quarter. Furthermore we are promising a battery that lasts at least weeks, if not months under the right conditions. This requires a ton of interesting new ideas and concepts, such as properly utilizing accelerometers to account for devices that aren’t moving and intelligently shutting down device systems when not in use.”
It sounds complicated but the real beauty is how it comes across as incredibly simple for the user. As Lippiner put it: “We adhere to the ‘don’t make me think’ [principle] and simple design mentality.”
Crucially, that’s why Ping will remain simple. While other products include many new features as they break records with their crowdfunding, Lippiner’s plan is always to keep things simple.
“We want Ping to be the go to solution for people or companies that need a solution to the simple problem of locating anything or anyone, anywhere. No thinking— just grab it, attach it and know you can always find it.”
Past experience has shown him and the team that “the ability to locate anywhere plus the check-in and panic button functionality seems to resonate quite well with the core of what people and companies are looking for.”
With an iOS app confirmed and an Android app set to be available when Ping starts shipping, the device holds a lot of promise. It’s easily surpassed its $50,000 flexible goal, but there’s still time to pledge $99 for one Ping device, with $182 getting you two. With an almost endless wealth of options on how to use it, it’s sure to come in handy at some point during your day to day life.
The campaign ends March 2.