Bluetooth LE in Your Wallet: Keep Track of Your Cash with Find’Em Tracking

Find’em Tracking promises you’ll never lose your wallet or purse again. By embedding Bluetooth LE in a slender wallet, your stack of credit cards or cash will now be able to ping your phone if you leave it behind, helping absent-minded shoppers who worry about leaving their bag on the checkout counter or their wallet by the front door when they leave home in the morning.

The technology is actually quite remarkable. Slipping a Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) chip into a pouch that’s as thin as a few credit cards, they demonstrate if nothing else a central principle of LE: the chip itself is incredibly tiny, and because all it does is broadcast a tiny radio signal it can last on a single battery for years at a time.

Find'em Tracking
Find’Em Tracking

Don’t Lose Meeeeee
“Leaving your valuables behind is a problem that people face in their daily lives and can be avoided with the Find’em Tracking device and app,“ said Find’em Tracking CEO Gary Nazarian. “It easily fits into a wallet and allows you to never leave your valuables behind ever again. And if you never lose your valuables in your wallet, your identity is that much safer.”

One nifty feature of the wallet is reverse tracking: lose your phone, and press a small button on the wallet to have your phone ring.

They bill the device as the world’s thinnest Bluetooth LE tracking device.

Which proves a larger story: that Bluetooth LE devices will be ubiquitous, nearly invisible, and can be deployed on everything from your wallet to your child’s wristto a small token that sits on a retail shelf.

The Challenges of Bluetooth LE
There are two challenges, however, with Bluetooth ‘beacons’:

  • Apple “respects” its users: they have built their iBeacon(TM) technology so that if a user closes off an app, they won’t let it poll for location in the background. We’re assuming the same is true for Find-Em: turn the app on your phone OFF, and if you leave your purse behind you’ll be none the wiser. But with most people leaving dozens of apps on in the background tray and with users realizing they’ll need it to be sitting in background mode if they don’t want to lose their cash, it’s hardly a show stopper.
  • While Find’Em Tracking can figure out how far away your lost wallet is, it can’t tell you if it’s north or south. It uses radar to send you on a “hot/cold” search. On the other hand – it’s not a bad way to amuse the kids. Hide you wallet and let them use the app to find it – what endless fun on a rainy Sunday morning!

Find’Em Tracking is shipping in January. Grab one for your purse, then grab a Beluvv and put Bluetooth LE on your kid and feel assured that the two things in the world with the greatest tendency to wander off are safely tethered to alerts on your phone.

Now, if someone can invent one for my glasses without needing to put a big dorky LE sticker on the side I’ll be golden.

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5 Responses to “Bluetooth LE in Your Wallet: Keep Track of Your Cash with Find’Em Tracking”

  1. Hi Doug,

    In your section about challenges, the statement:

    “… they have built their iBeacon(TM) technology so that if a user closes off an app, they won’t let it poll for location in the background… ”

    is incorrect – Apple does allow location change tracking in the background. What it doesn’t allow is broadcasting in the background.

    Alexandre Ackermans
    Technology Director

  2. Hmm Alexandre – if you can clarify, because that contradicts what Apple itself has said.

    Yes, your app can track in the background. NO, it can not track if the app closes the app entirely (removes it from the app tray/running in background).

    Unless you’ve discovered otherwise, which would be fairly major and would contradict Apple’s statements.

  3. Check this discussion at Apple:

    “Note, what I’m talking about is if the user explicitly kills the app in the app switcher. At that point the user has told us that this app should not be running, and we will honor that by not re-launching the app any more. If the app is terminated by the OS (e.g. due to memory pressure) then we will continue to launch the app for region monitoring. Hopefully that clarifies a bit.” – APPLE

    • Hi Doug,
      Indeed if the user decides to kill the app, notifications will not be served. Why would a user expect them to be? Most users do not kill apps manually – for all common use cases, with the app in the background even for a long period of time, or even if the OS kills it due to memory pressure, notifications will be served.

  4. OK, then I think we got into semantics but that was the point in my post – but I can see how the word “background” was perhaps confusing.

    On the other hand do you have hard data on how many apps get killed manually? I’d love a hard figure – we’re having trouble convincing people that users keep dozens of apps open in their tray. It feels like an anecdotal statement to say they don’t kill them – almost everyone we TALK to says they DO, but that’s a qualitative sample as well.


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