Ever encountered that sickening feeling in your stomach when you can’t seem to locate your wallet or handbag? You’re willing to bet your right kidney that it was here just a moment ago. Is it stolen, lost, or has it simply disappeared off the face of the earth?
These occurrences might soon be a thing of the past.
RockDove, which launches today on Kickstarter, is introducing a range of bluetooth-connected fashion accessories. There’s something for everyone – wallets, briefcases, totes, keychains, and smartphone covers. Each product comes with a non-invasive smart tracking chip that pairs with your phone via an app, ensuring that you’ll always be able to locate it.
“Last year, during a trip to Thailand, I walked through airport security and noticed a guy frenetically trying to call me back. I realized I had forgotten my backpack at the scanner carousel, along with my laptop, camera, and other valuables. That was terrible,” recalls Ammar Jangbarwala, co-founder of RockDove.
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Thankfully, the rest of the trip passed without much incident. When Ammar returned home he discussed his experience with close friends, all of whom had similar tales to tell.
“One of my friends, Mohsin, actually boarded a flight from Dubai to Singapore and left his laptop behind [in the lounge]. It was only upon arrival that he discovered the missing luggage. We realized it was a common problem,” he says.
Ammar, who has a background in mechatronics, engineered a solution. The initial concept was to build a device that could tether to your accessory, similar to Tile.
But such devices were obtrusive, clunky, and not suitable for long-term usage. You could put them inside an existing bag or wallet but they’d need to be replaced every six months or so. Their tracking capabilities weren’t impressive either.
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“We didn’t just want to make an incremental change,” explains Ammar. “We wanted to create something amazing, that would look and feel cool.”
The team came up with a whole range of products suitable for a large cross-section of consumers. The idea is to provide tracking for anyone carrying valuable items, be it smartphones, laptops, cameras, or wallets.
The embedded bluetooth tracking device in them creates an electronic leash of sorts. Users can set up alerts to monitor if they move outside a particular range, with a maximum radius of 100 meters. There’s also a nifty feature called Crowdfind, which comes into play if a user suspects the accessory to be stolen. Once activated, all other RockDove products in the vicinity act as beacons, trying to transmit the location of the missing piece.
There’s a guaranteed battery life of four months for each tracking chip, and it’s possible to extend this via power-saving modes. Each chip comes with a wireless charger which doubles up as a power bank to charge other devices on the go.
Building a brand
While the highlight of the products is its technological pedigree, that shouldn’t distract us from the aesthetic appeal.
Rockdove claims it uses premium quality leather with vegetable tanning processes to give it a sophisticated finish replete with deep hues.
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Sara Khan, head of design, adds that a conscious effort has been made to appeal to millennial consumers who prefer modularity and function as opposed to ostentatious brands.
“It’s for early adopters,” she notes.
Part of the design ethos was to build an eco-friendly brand. Sixty percent of the circuitry used in the tracking devices comes from recycled electronic goods and is sourced from a supplier in Shenzhen. Similarly, the decision to go with vegetable tanning rather than the cheaper, chemically-ridden chromium tan was out of concern for the environment.
“We believe we provide an overall design that takes a step towards reducing waste. That’s a fundamental problem in Asia and one that doesn’t go away easily,” affirms Bilal Siddiqui, co-founder.
With prices that start at US$232 for a briefcase, the products aren’t cheap. But the team believes the attention to detail should resonate with potential consumers.
“Even with our zips we wanted to implement something better. We looked at YKK, and they were okay, but we went with Swiss company RIRI instead. They’re the Rolls-Royce of zips,” explains Bilal.
Courtesy : Express Tribune