TrackNet used CES 2018 as a springboard for its new smart home monitoring platform, Tabs; a system that the company says has a range of up to one mile without the need for cellular connectivity.
Tabs is a multi-device system consisting of motion sensors, air quality sensors and GPS locators, which all communicate with the Hub â with a much further range than the likes of Samsung SmatThings, Wink et al.
Thatâs because the Hub â that is also a functional dual-band 801.11ac Wi-Fi router, packs in LoRaWAN connectivity, which is said to have a range of 100x that of Bluetooth. LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification designed for seamless interoperability among smart things.
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The idea behind Tabs is that a whole neighbourhood could be covered, with kids being tracked (via a wristband locator) as they go to friendsâ houses, round grandmaâs or to and from school. And the more LoRaWAN-equipped hubs in a neighbourhood the better. The system doesnât tie a user to a specific hub, it uses whatever access point it can to communicate with the app. Tabs will be selling mini hubs to expand the range â you could plug these in at other houses, local establishments, at schools, to enhance and expand the range.
Itâs not just about tracking the kids though. In the âHome Monitoringâ box â which is available to pre-order now on Kickstarter for $229 (40% off of the targeted retail price) â youâll get a hub, three door and window sensors, a motion sensor and a healthy air sensor.
With the âFamily Tabs Kitâ youâll get two wristbands, the hub, a mini hub and two keyring locators. On Kickstarter thatâs $259 â again, 40% off of the regular price. Once the system is out in the real world, youâll be able to buy various Tabs devices individually. There are no subscription fees and so youâll only pay for the kit you want.
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In theory, itâs a fantastic idea, especially if you live in a town where you and your kids donât often travel too far from home. The LoRa Alliance, the guys championing the LoRaWAN protocol, already have more than 500 companies signed-up, including the likes of Cisco, IBM, Comcast, Samsung, Alibaba, Orange and Swisscom.
We spoke to the TrackNet guys over in Vegas and they assured us that Tabs is already in production and the Kickstarter campaign is there in order to keep costs down for people pre-ordering the system.
Tabs is due to start shipping in March â The Ambient has a kit to test, so weâll let you know if it lives up to its billing ASAP.
UPDATE: Since this story was published, the Tabs team have been in touch to say:
We had an amazing week at CES with the launch of Tabs and due to new strategic partnerships in development, its production process has been accelerated and will be done ahead of schedule with the first batch of products arriving next week. With that said, we have canceled Kickstarter and moved direct ordering through the Tabs website. Link here: tabs.io