At Skyhook, we’ve always understood that accurate location is incredibly important in the mobile world. One important example of the criticality of location accuracy is in child tracking devices. Child trackers need to give parents the confidence that they will know both know where their children are and can contact them.
One such device is the Relay, byRepublic Wireless, a Skyhook customer that uses our Precision Location for IoT to provide peace of mind to parents when they aren’t with their children.
We spoke with Sam Quaile, Director of Product Management at Republic Wireless, about the importance of location positioning, working with Skyhook, and what makes the Relay device unique.
Tell us more about Republic Wireless and the Relay device.
Republic Wireless was the first cellular phone service company to go to market with a hybrid combination of Wi-Fi and cellular service. We were originally a reseller, routing calls over cell and Wi-Fi, but about three or four years ago we started to think about developing our own hardware focused on small form factor and we looked into building a screen-free phone alternative for kids. As many of the people on our team have kids of our own, we saw the need to stay in touch, know where our kids were, and to have a product that wouldn’t increase the amount of time kids were spending looking at screens. We launched the Relay device, which is now sold online and in-store at companies like Target, Amazon, and more.
What makes the Relay device unique?
The Relay device is a screen-free alternative for children’s phones. Instead of giving children another screen to look at and interact with, the Relay removes the screen and simplifies the process. With only one button to push, communication is easy and simple for kids. The device is also a great option for elderly parents or spouses who are still independent but have loved ones who want to make sure they can locate and contact them if needed. In addition, the device is able to host a bigger battery due to its larger size in comparison to watch versions. This allows the device to latch on to the low bands leading cell carriers use to broadcast their signal long distances. Some of the best bands that large companies use to broadcast their signal are at 700 or 800 mega-hertz and devices need a larger antenna to latch on to those networks. Our device is able to connect to those networks and ensure coverage in more places.
Why is it important that the Relay device allows geofencing and location tracking?Whether locating a child or loved one, being sure that the location result is exact is an absolute must. It allows independence for the child, while also providing peace of mind to the parent that the child is okay.
We knew from the beginning that location tracking that was dependable and accurate would be a key part of the Relay. Kids are walking to school, inside buildings, and in areas without clear GPS connections, so we needed a location solution with a network-based offering that is able to handle constant pinging and location requests. We originally were working with Google, but Google pricing didn’t make sense for a feature like geofencing where you’re constantly pinging location and checking where the device is at. With Skyhook we are able to do that rapidly hundreds and hundreds of times a day without an onerous per API charge. The quality of Skyhook’s network based location combined with a pricing structure that meets our use case was a perfect match.With Skyhook, we are able to pay a fixed rate per month and do rapid requests hundreds of times per day without a per API call charge.
How was your testing and integration process withSkyhook?
We were committed to partnering with a location provider that had the highest quality results. The testing and then integration process with Skyhook was seamless. We were testing multiple location providers and we put them all through an integration process - we integrated each offering into our developer account, and then ran a structure test where we traveled around and ran tests in varying areas and environment. We compared conference intervals, accurate location information, and null results. This testing led us to choose Skyhook as the best option. We have a very strong engineering team and within a few days we had the integration complete.
Why would you recommend Skyhook as a location data provider?
Skyhook provides fantastic location service and the one of a kind attention to customers that larger options just can’t provide. The high quality location positioning, simple use and attention to customers made Skyhook an easy choice.
Skyhook uses a proprietary hybrid location positioning system to provide precise location for IoT devices. This highly specialized service requires the use of algorithms for GNSS, Wi-Fi and cellular signals. These algorithms, coupled with global coverage via 5+ billion geolocated Wi-Fi access points, enables Skyhook to provide accurate and precise location available.
Precision Location for IoT provides global positioning services to nearly all types of connected devices like the Relay device. Through flexible integration offerings, our solutions allow organizations to track valuable assets globally from facilities into the field, providing real-time location intelligence, reducing operational costs and improving system efficiencies.