Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

The Wherify locator is a breakthrough that may help save your child’s life. This wristwatch device determines its own location using satellite GPS technology and then transmits that information using PCS telephone technology. Lock it onto your child’s wrist and you can view his or her location on a map, right down to the street address.


Price

$399; Monthly fee of $25 (includes 20 “locates”) to $50 (80 “locates”); $35 activation fee; other fee-based services available

Wherify
Redwood Shores, Calif.


Competition

Here’s a product that has no direct competition that we know of. The technology behind the Wherify is brand new.


Helping Children

In the U.S., two organizations help find lost children. They are the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Lost Children’s Network.


AMBER Plan

Learn all you can about “America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response,” better known as the AMBER Plan. The AMBER Plan is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases.

To see if the AMBER Plan is available in your community, view this map of the U.S.


 

Communications gear

Wherify Satellite Child Locator Wristwatch

Rating:

By Joel Shore

February 20, 2002

Updated August 28, 2002

How much do love your child? More than the dog you’re careful to leash each time you take it outside to poop? I’ll bet you do. And here’s the perfect product: a snazzy-looking digital wristwatch for your kid that just happens to contain a satellite homing device so you can pinpoint junior’s whereabouts.

Yeah, it’s a truly sad commentary on society that there’s even a need for a tracking system like this. But given the tragic fates of several young children in California, Oregon, Utah, and other locations over the past couple of years, the need for a device like this is beyond any doubt.

ADVERTISEMENT
 

Here’s all you need to know: The Wherify wristwatch locator may save the life of your little loved one.

Wherify’s Locator uses the U.S. Department of Defense’s multibillion-dollar Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network combined with the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network.

To locate your child, simply log in to the Wherify Web site with your ID and password and view a map. Alternatively, you can call a special toll-free number and you’ll be told the closest street address.

When you put the device on your child’s wrist, it locks. It can be removed remotely, with an Internet-initiated command, or by pressing a particular sequence of buttons on the device.

With a full battery charge, the device can do about 40 “locates.” The battery charges in six hours, and the device is water resistant to a depth of eight feet. Depending on environmental conditions, the device can pinpoint the wearer’s location to within 90 feet, and usually within 10 feet.

What else can you do? Here are a few features:

  • Choose Map Style: Select a standard street map or custom aerial photo. Then zoom in, zoom out, pan right or left for a better look.

  • Breadcrumbs: Soccer game? Play practice? With the “breadcrumb” feature, you can pre-set times for “locates” to ensure your child arrives safely. (Of course, if you do one “locate” every half hour, you’ll get a pretty good idea of how your child spends his or her day.)

  • Unlock Device Remotely: Once your child safely arrives at the pool party, you can unlock the locator via Internet or phone so your child can remove it.

This peace of mind is not inexpensive. The Wherify locator wristwatch is priced at $399, not bad. But on top of that, you need to pay a monthly service fee of $25 to $49 for service. You’re actually paying for PCS service, but you don’t get a phone. Depending on which of four service plans you choose, you’ll get from 20 to 80 “locates” per month. You can purchase additional “locates” for a small fee. Another factor to consider is the availability of PCS service. In rural areas, PCS telephone service may not be available. While some might suggest that the Wherify device is necessary only in densely populated areas, the watch can also be used to keep track of campers or hikers, activities that take place away from urban locales.

This product is currently slated to ship in late 2002. The company is currently taking reservations. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth the steep price. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that it can prevent tragedy. But the Wherify is a landmark product that proves that you can buy peace of mind. And that’s a pretty good start.<

 
Yeas & Nays

Yea:

4Cool styling has kid-appeal

4Easy set-up

4GPS, pager functions

4It’s a wristwatch, too

Nay:

4Expensive

4Monthly service fee

4Works only in areas where a PCS phone signal is present

4Has is really come to this?


Child Safety Tips

Personal Safety: A Guide for Parents from the President of the United States (PDF format, English and Spanish)

Lost Children’s Network safety tips

National Center for Missing Exploited Children safety tips

 

   

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