Connected Objects Wallets

Where’s Wallet calls home to your smartphone to avoid being misplaced

Forgetting or misplacing a wallet can be a major inconvenience — especially if it’s left in a public place and has a lot of cash and credit cards in it.

Where’s Wallet is a twist on the increasingly popular Bluetooth item finder that solves that dilemma. It’s a wallet that features a hidden sensor inside. Users just have to download a free Android or iOS app, set a notification range, and their smartphone/wallet will beep to alert them the moment they step beyond that preset distance. Its maker is fielding the product in three versions: a $49 slip model, a $69 bi-fold version and a $99 clutch version. Each will ship in August. Its maker is trying to raise $30,000 through Kickstarter by March 22.

Where’s Wallet is a clever entry in the Bluetooth tracking device category. Applying the technology to a wallet is a no-brainer, and should be especially appealing to consumers with a tendency to misplace their valuables. However, the specific application has a drawback in that some consumers will prefer a small tracking device like TrackR Bravo that can be attached to the object of their choice. For example, folks who are more likely to misplace their keys than their wallet.

Connected Objects

Swiping with Swyp helps lighten your wallet

Walking around with a wallet filled with multiple credit, gift and store loyalty cards can be a major hassle—especially when they can barely even fit in the wallet anymore.

The company Qvivr has come up with a solution to that dilemma called Swyp (pronounced Swipe). The next-generation electronic wallet is a thin electronic device that looks, feels and works just like a conventional credit card, but the device has a chip that can store account information for up to 25 cards, eliminating the need to carry around all the extra bulk. The user can select any of the programmed cards using buttons on Swyp and a graphical image will show which card is being used at any given time. The user’s name, account number and expiration date are all displayed on the card, and the magnetic stripe on the back is programmed to transform Swyp into the chosen card.

Swyp is designed to work any place where the user can swipe a standard plastic card, and should work in any location that accepts magnetic stripe-based cards issued in the U.S. Swyp has been designed to conveniently learn from the user’s behaviors, patterns and surroundings to predict what card they will be using for the next purchase. Users can also share and exchange gift cards with other Swyp users. Swyp can also be used to electronically capture and organize receipts using an accompanying smartphone app. For security, it will lock up and stop working if the user’s smartphone is out of range. Older, similar devices include the Coin and Plastc, but those products can only store up to eight and 20 cards, respectively. Swyp is also similar to mobile wallets, but the latter only work with NFC-enabled terminals.

Consumers can buy Swyp direct from the company’s own Web site for $49 as part of an early bird special. It is expected to cost $99 at retail when it ships this fall.


PIE band aims to take a slice of the smart wristwear market

The Premise. Everyone’s had a moment where they meet someone new and everyone pulls their phones out and circles up to swap information and add a new contact or two. It’s more convenient than it used to be, but interrupts socializing for much longer than a simple pass of the business card used to do.

The Product. Looking to bring back that elegance and seamless networking is PIE (Personal Interactive Experience), a smart band that users wear on their wrist to interact with the world around them. PIE can take advantage of its proprietary protocol called FLEX to interact with other PIE devices. However,, for the foreseeable future, it will have to interact with other products using NFC and Bluetooth 4.0. PIE can be used to make purchases at any contactless terminal, trade information with other PIE users, and download any data from NFC hotspots. With a simple shake of the hand, potential employers can get a copy of a resume, or simply swap contact information.

The Pitch. In the extremely clever campaign video, we see a bearded PIE user go through his day, mostly through his eyes and perspective. While out and about, he does what people do: networks, enjoys company, meets new people, and engages in business, but does so with the assistance of the slim band on his wrist. Because the video is largely artistic in its narrative, the rest of the campaign goes over exactly what PIE does and how. PIE needs to raise $150,000 for pretty much the entire process, from materials and design to packaging and shipping.

The Perks. A PIE unit with all features, diary app, and charging base can be had by the end of this year for $110, plus $20 outside of Europe for shipping. A limited Indiegogo version is available for $165, a 2-pack for $200, and for those that can’t wait, a developer tier is available for $345 that will ship in August.

The Potential. The PIE is kind of a neat idea that’s just a little too late. Because it operates entirely on NFC and Bluetooth, there’s no reason that this kind of functionality can’t be employed on a smartphone or other smartwatch or band, either by hardware or by app. It doesn’t do enough to supplant any form of human interaction, and potentially could only be brought to its full potential by other PIE users, meaning early adopters will have a hard time getting the most out of the device, let alone explaining to a store clerk that they can just tap their wrist on a POS terminal to make a purchase. There’s more here in theory than there seems to be in practice, making the hopes of this product rather “PIE in the sky.”