Pixie's Unique Approach to Thing-Finding

The Israeli firm integrated technology from Decawave, a provider of UWB systems generally used for industrial applications, into its consumer-facing tracking tool.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

The app also offers an augmented-reality feature, whereby the application accesses the phone's camera and shows the user a view of the room, with superimposed icons that pinpoint the locations of Pixie Points—a user interface with which players of the mobile game Pokéman Go are familiar. This makes it easy to see something otherwise invisible—such as a set of keys that have fallen behind a couch cushion.

Amir Bassan-Eskenazi, Pixie's CEO, says DecaWave's UWB module satisfied his search for technology that could provide a higher level of accuracy than existing thing-finders on the market, while also being energy-efficient enough to enable Pixie Point tags to operate for more than a year.

The Pixie app
Pixie has been shipping the product since December 2015. During a pre-launch period, a set of four tags cost $39.95, but it now sells for $69.95. The tags have an 18-month battery life. (Tile sells sets of four tags for $70, and says its tags have a one-year battery life.)

Pixie recently announced an $18.5 million series B funding round, and says it will use the funds to scale up production—something the company needs to quickly do, based on social-media posts from Pixie's customers who complain about months-long waits for their orders.

But Pixie is not limiting itself to the consumer market—it is developing a software development kit and recently released an application program interface to empower developers and third parties to create new apps leveraging the Pixie Point hardware. Rather than target specific markets, Bassen-Eskenazi says he hopes developers interested in the technology will direct how it is used. "We're only limited by the creativity of developers," he says, noting that it is too early to say what type of business arrangement—such as white labeling, revenue sharing or licensing—Pixie might make with outside application developers.

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