Now on Indiegogo: The Concepter Soul Tracks Togetherness

 The Concepter Soul Tracks Togetherness

Concepter, maker of the wireless flash devices iBlazr and iBlazr 2 for iPhone, is coming out with a new concept wearable on Indiegogo. The Concepter Soul can track you and those close to you, but not in the traditional sense. Instead of tracking simple movements, the devices are designed to track how much time you spend together Yeah, this is definitely one for people who WANT to be in very close contact with each other.

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The Soul ecosystem encourages you to spend less time out of range of loved ones and friends. The sensors, embedded in either a keychain or wearable band and married to an iPhone app, mainly do one specific type of tracking: When within 15 feet of another connected sensor, the devices sync and the iPhone app logs the amount of time the Soul sensors spent within that range. The app also allows you to link up with Facebook friends and challenge others by "leveling up" (presumably to earn awards for the amount of time synced). 

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I interviewed Concepter CEO Vlad Tislenko about this departure from flash accessory products into the wearables market. My comments and questions and Tislenko's responses are below:

So Vlad, this device tracks mainly "time" spent either in or out of proximity of other sensors, correct? Seems odd that there is not an LED display that indicates the time, like say a Fitbit, reminds you that you have been out of contact for too long (though I suspect the app takes care of that). Would it be a big deal to add a small LED display? Too much power or cost?

We have big plans for the Soul platform and decided to start with a stylish, inexpensive and simple product that will do one thing perfectly - track time with other people. We know that wearables is a crowded space, so we make it both as a wristband and as a keychain, people will always have an option how to use it. If we would add a display - we will automatically start competing with Fitbit, Apple and other big products by feature set and that would be an extremely difficult task for a startup without venture financing. So, a display may appear in the second generation of the product.

What about privacy? If I want to go "icognito" or not have my time tracked for awhile? Is there a mode for that?

Regarding Privacy; the Soul app is made to track the time with people important to you, not every person around. We hope that people will not have problems with that. Your idea regarding "incognito mode” is great! We will add it in the future updates of the app.

How does it handle proximity exactly. Say you and your Soul contact are shopping in the same mall, but more than 15ft away or on different floors? Is this time counted as well? Would probably get annoyed with the app in these cases if getting too many notifications.

The app is using GPS for time tracking. So in the case of being on different floors - it would track the time. But if you will have a sensor with you - we would track only the time in a 15ft diameter. Regarding the notifications - we are sending them only when somebody added you as a friend, when you achieve a new level of friendship with someone and some service notifications. Our goal is to help people spend more time offline, so we are tying not to distract them with too much notifications. 

 The Concepter Soul Tracks Togetherness

Thanks to Vlad for providing his comments and responses. For my part, I must say that all of the Concepter products I have reviewed and experienced are top-quality and innovative, and even this new Soul product garnered accolades at CES 2016 (Engadget nominated for a best new Offbeat Product award). The idea behind it is novel, and possibly something useful for family or younger people madly in love (or older people, for that matter) and interested in staying in contact more often. I could see it as an interesting Valentine's Day or anniversary present, for example. Not sure anyone already wearing another tracker or smartwatch will want to add this to their wrist gadget wardrobe just to track their time together, but there is possibly a niche there. If you want to back (and possibly snag) a Soul product, there is still time to contribute at the links included above.

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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.tumblr.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.