Categories of pet tracking devices


There are multiple technologies available to identify, track and/or locate pets. Very broadly, I group them into the following categories:
  • Passive identification devices
    • These include nametags, collars and various similar devices which provide information about the pet, and contact information about the owner
  • Microchips
    • These are tiny electronic devices placed under the skin of the pet. They can be read only with a specific reader, and provide a link to a record which contains pet and owner information
  • Bluetooth trackers
    • These are typically quite small devices, with long battery life, but an operational range of only a few metres. They are low power, and can have long battery life, in the range of many months
  • GPS trackers
    • These devices have GPS receivers and cellular network interface devices, like a cell phone. They can report position information fairly accurately, on request, either via SMS or via an App. The down-side is battery life. These devices typically need recharging every day or, at best, few days. They work only in areas with cell phone coverage
  • Satellite trackers
    • These devices also have GPS receivers, but instead of reporting the position via a cell network, they do so with a direct satellite link. The result is a devices which can work almost anywhere on the globe.

I will discuss each of these categories, its advantages and disadvantages, and more importantly trade-offs and limitations, in a little more detail in upcoming posts. 


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