INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Apps that help you locate your missing smartphone are nothing new. "Find My iPhone" and "Find My Mobile" have been around for years.
The next step involves technology that helps you find the individuals you hold closest to your heart: your spouse, your kids and your pets.
"If I'm in danger, then I can just send her an alarm and text her real quick."
Eight-year-old Gage Tacket is talking about the "Chat with Parents" app on his smartphone, which links to the "Find My Kids" app on his grandmother's phone.
"This just gives me peace of mind of always knowing where he is at," Gage’s grandmother Chastity Drennan tells us. "This way, I don't have to text five parents to find him. I know right where he's at all times."
The "Find My Kids" GPS tracker feature allows Gage to venture beyond his grandmother's line of sight. The "SOS" feature alerts Chastity that something may be wrong, and she can not only talk to Gage, but hear what's going on around Gage without him even knowing it.
"He can hit the SOS, so I can listen to the surroundings," Drennan said. "So I know if it’s something as simple as he's had a bike accident, and he needs me to come and help him, and I can let him know, 'Hey babe, I'm on my way, I got your message.'"
But what if your little one is too young for a smartphone? The Indianapolis-based company Aubry Lane sells a key-phob-sized GPS tracking device that your can slip into your toddler's pocket.
"It's a great device for (children) because you don't have to worry about them having a fancy phone where they can get exposure to things (on the internet)," said Aubry Lane owner Jordan Hetlund.
It started with a disturbing car-jacking
Hetlund is a former law enforcement reserve officer who actually began developing the Aubry Lane amulet device for women to hide in their purses after he heard a disturbing call on the police scanner.
"A woman had been car-jacked, and the guy took her cell phone," recalls Hetlund. "She had her kid in the car, and he put a gun to her head. She was not able to call for help. So our goal is to help empower women and to help keep them safe."
Both goals are accomplished with "Active Notification" using the Aubry Lane Amulet on a key chain, belt loop or hidden in an Aubry Lane purse. Not only is it a GPS tracker, but it's also a tiny cell phone that you can call.
"On the inside of every one of our bags is a hidden pocket," Hetlund said of his Aubry Lane handbag line. "The Amulet hides inside. But it's still accessible, so you can put your hand in the bag and still press the device, pressing it in case of emergency. You hold down the SOS button for two seconds, it sends a text message, so now five people know exactly where you are. And then it calls. And we can talk back and forth."
Now Hetlund is taking that same technology and applying it to our four-legged loved-ones. His dog Otis kept running through his yard's invisible fence, so Hetlund came up with the Furtrieve device for Otis' collar. It's an active GPS device and so much more.
"We're not just putting a GPS tracker on (our dog), but we're really solving the problem which is getting help," Hetlund proudly proclaims. "What if you're out of town, and your dog goes missing. You're completely powerless. There's nothing you can do. So why not get a SWAT team of people, neighbors, friends to all help you at the same time. And then we built this technology called 'Crowd Notify.'"
Using the Furtrieve app, Hetlund sets up a Virtual Perimeter for Otis, so if Otis wanders in any direction, Hetlund and his designated contacts get a text with a link to Otis' exact location. Using Furtrieve, Hetlund can even dial up his dog and talk to him live.
That kind of technology gives new meaning to "calling your dog."