Sixth sense:Lupo launches

Tuesday 18th March 2014
Courtesy: Lupo facilities

In the wonderful world of kick-starter crowd sourced funding, the looming Internet of Things, Lupo is not simply a royal cocker spaniel, but rather the friendly smart tag on items that together with Bluetooth 4.0 and an app on your phone, tablet or laptop, can track, and record lost items, as well as securing those items to prevent their loss in the first place.

The brainchild of  Glasgow-based Connect-in Ltd  that focuses on wireless connectivity applications, Lupo  is dubbed the 'sixth sense"  app for a smart phones.

Among selling points for Its unique algorithm app package is this gives a longer battery life, a wider remote control range, improves user experience and allows remote control of apps, music, presentations and more.

"We are a group of technologists and creatives at Team Lupo," says founder Raj Sark. " Lupo is a product developed by Connect-In Ltd. that focus on wireless connectivity solutions. Lupo (formerly known as Smarttag) has already been assessed as well smart. Its  supporters include start up awards from Strathclyde University in UK, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA,  the Technology Strategy Board, Gabriel Syndicate, EU Realise-It initiative and other supporters.

Queried as to the app and devices being an unwitting "leaker" of location and owner information, Sark says  “It is good to see programs like 'Dr. Web' that can track such misused apps,” and he suggests that a way to tackle this problem  may be to expose such apps and permanently ban such developer licences from the App and Google Stores. He also urges that Google and Apple could  step up with their own efforts instead of letting people have to rely on third party software.

"However, most such apps need to explicitly ask a user about allowing access GPS position and location. This is almost a double-edged sword.  So the 'Find my iPhone' service by Apple for instance is a good way to track back a lost phone, but can also mean that user location data is being leaked. It is important that this service is accessed only through a secure password unique to the user, and that that is safely verified on Apple's servers."

"Our goal with Lupo is to help easily find misplaced items, assist in securing mobile and portables that contain valuable data and hence to secure users personal data from a loss. Lupo is not a tracking device," Sark emphasises. “It does not use GPS and is based on Bluetooth personal area network alone. Users location data is fully safe with users as Lupo only operates within the Bluetooth 50 meters range.”

He explains that the App can ring an alert as soon as a tagged item goes out of range. Leave a briefcase or handbag that has a Lupo at the airport lounge, when you are 50 meters or less (as set by the user) the App will notify with an alert.  If that alert note is missed the Lupo phone app will use the location data, save this location in the phone itself, eg. briefcase, handbag 'last seen' at London Heathrow.

This data can be accessed only when the user voluntarily declares one of their items as lost through the users' personal password protected account, unique to the user. In such a case the 'last seen' location is revealed to the user.

If that item has moved away by the time the user gets back to the airport lounge, a crowd sourcingtechnique is called on, where other Lupo apps or similar app users coming in range of the declared lost Lupo device, will be able to pick up signals from the lost Lupo and communicate this discretely to a remote server, to relay the data into the user's individual account only. 

No one else gets to know about it, not even the other person whose phone app picked up the signal from the lost item.

Sark adds that according to Dell research  "Over 900 laptops are lost every week at London Heathrow airport alone.   With Lupo we solve this practical problem, without affecting user privacy.

The devices and the app will of course be of appeal to the absent-minded smart phone, tablet or laptop owner.  But should also have considerable appeal for high value manufacturers of expensive clothing or other devices who can now buy and embed such alerts and security into their own products and thus adding their own USP.

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