It turns out that I was wrong about the Bluetooth trackers, such as Tile, Samsung Smart Tag, and Apple AirTag. Of the three, according to the Wall Street Journal which tested them, the Apple product works best: a bag "abbandoned" (i.e. entrusted to a third party) on a street corner in Manhattan with an AirTag inside was located in just four minutes. So it would make a great tracking device for a stolen instrument case, right?
Unfortunately not. To avoid that the device be used for unauthorized tracking of people, if your violin thief has an iPhone a message will appear that he is toting someone else's AirTag, which will encourage him to look for it and toss it. And if he doesn't have an iPhone, after 72 hours of separation for the phone it is paired with it starts making noise.
Smart Tags and Tiles will soon have this feature too, so it looks like these locators might be OK for those who forget their instrument in a taxi, but not if it is stolen. So what is the solution?
Contrary to my expectations, I managed to find two GPS devices, the LandSeaAir 54 and the GeoForce GT0. Unlike the old 2G GPS trackers (such as Xexun TK series) these trackers work with the 4G LTE telefone frequencies world wide. Both are small enough to hide anywhere inside the case, and have a battery life that can reach six months. Especially the LandSeaAir product seems very easy to use - just turn it on, hide it in the case, and with a dedicated app you can see where the case is at all times.
The only drawback is that you have to pay a monthly useage fee, which however starts at $10 per month so it's not that bad. It turns out that I have some clients who use this product, and they recommend it, so I can too.
Disclaimer: I have no association with the LandSeaAir company.Tweet
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