Amazon wants to give owners a new tool to help keep track of Fido.
The Amazon Fetch, introduced at the Amazon Hardware Event in September, is a smart tracker that clips to your dog’s collar and sets up a geofence, providing notifications should your dog happen to get away from you during a walk.
What is intriguing about Fetch is its use of a new low-bandwidth protocol called Amazon Sidewalk signal protocol, also announced alongside Fetch at the Amazon Hardware Event.
How it Works
Sidewalk enables low-power devices to communicate from further away on low frequencies. With Fetch and Sidewalk, you’ll be able to track your dog using your neighbors’ devices. You’ll receive a notification if he decides to bolt, but also be able to see where he is going.
The tracker works up to 500 meters within a single Sidewalk-enabled station. If an area has more Sidewalk devices installed, the range gets considerably wider. Amazon hopes the Sidewalk protocol and accompanying devices like Fetch will successfully take care of concerns like range and battery life.
The company says existing protocols like 5G, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for connected devices are complicated, expensive, and will only go so far. They claim that building this specific network for low-cost, low-bandwidth connections will up the overall quality of the device they connect. By transmitting data on the Sidewalk’s 900MHz spectrum, Amazon aims to be solving this problem for devices like Fetch.
One downside for Fetch is that its effectiveness is largely dependent on how popular it becomes. If none of your neighbors use Fetch, you won’t be able to track down your dog from further away than 500 meters from the Fetch tracker. On the flip side, even if only a handful of people use the device, you could theoretically track your dog from miles away.
When Can You Get Fetch?
Amazon hasn’t announced a release date or price for Fetch but did suggest that it would be ready by next year.
Bluetooth-enabled pet trackers already exist in the marketplace, but the idea of giving them much better range with a new signal built by Amazon makes them much more intriguing for pet owners.
Amazon is making its Sidewalk wireless protocol available now, but you’ll have to wait until at least 2020 to get Fetch. The company gave out roughly 700 Sidewalk-enabled trackers to employees and their families during testing. They anticipate an extensive network to allow you to follow your dog throughout any great escapes he/she may take.