PebbleBee is a Bluetooth®-enabled tracking tag that uses the single-chip CSR1010™ to help its customers never lose their personal belongings again. Its Kickstarter campaign struck up over 3,000 backers contributing over $200,000 – ten times the original target – to help make the vision a reality. Founder and CEO David Daoura spoke to CSR to give his insight on how Bluetooth Smart is helping bring the PebbleBee to market.
What is it about the PebbleBee device that is so exciting?
People don’t want to lose things. On average you spend ten minutes a day looking for things you’ve misplaced, or 20 minutes for me! That’s lost time you’ll never get back. By placing a PebbleBee on your treasured items, you can quickly locate them and never lose anything. That’s the basic feature of the device.
Furthermore, by using the CSR1010 we can provide extra functionality for people such as remotely taking selfies with your phone, setting range alerts, keeping track of your items’ location history on Google maps, and much more. All that in an affordable, sleek and small functional device.
When developing the PebbleBee what were the top things you wanted to achieve?
Firstly we wanted to create a quality, compact product with a sleek design that is durable. The main purpose of the device is for loss prevention and lost item recovery, meaning it needed multiple embedded sensors for monitoring the environment at an extended range. It also needed to have a replaceable battery with a long life.
Why did you choose to work with CSR?
We chose to work with CSR for a number of reasons including that the CSR1010 is the most widely used Bluetooth chip. CSR also has very responsive customer support and competitive pricing. We are also interested in the cutting edge technology produced by the CSR team, for example CSRmesh networking.
How do you think the market for smart trackers and sensors will evolve over the next five years?
It really depends on the battery and Bluetooth chip technology. Power management is what it all boils down to. The more power you can harness or conserve for a small device, the more user friendly it is. This translates to more people adopting and using this Internet of Sensors market. We aren’t just a manufacturer of tracker devices, we mainly focus on sensors. People want to know how active their pets are while they’re at work or who ripped that pillow apart at 3:00am. With sensors all of that information is available to you from the comfort of your mobile phone or tablet.
In the next five to seven years from now, I think the smart tracker market will be as big, if not bigger than the cell phone market is today. The devices will be so small that you can stick them on paper and won’t know the difference. High value assets in mail, items, toys and even merchandise and clothing will all have some sort of tracking device on them. Retailers will use them as they do today with RFID, but with Bluetooth Smart instead. The key is improved battery technology that is smaller, more efficient, and thin as a film and Bluetooth Smart chips and sensors that hardly consume any energy.
Pebblebee founders Daniel Daoura (left) and Nick Pearson-Franks (right)