I’m not exactly sure when I first saw the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball having been born in 1973, but ever since I saw it I have been waiting for my damn jetpack. As that has remained elusive in the near 50 years since Sean Connery strapped on the contraption built my New Zealand’s Martin Aircraft. The point is, if you can’t give me a jetpack in 50 years, I’m guessing that a Star Trek transporter is definitely not going to happen. However, OnBeep is promising me group communication a la Star Trek in the near future with its take on the “communicator badge.”
(Note: Martin Aircraft has developed a fan driven “jetpack” that should be released to the military and first responders this year at a price somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000 per unit)
OnBeep: Tap to talk
Back to OnBeep, while CEO Jesse Robbins won’t show us the device yet, we know that the man can build things. He was instrumental in developing Amazon Web Services prior to founding the data-center-automation company Chef.
“It’s for any mobile team that needs to be connected in real-time,” says Robbins. Presumably, it would be ideal for event planners, kitchen workers, sales teams at trade shows, or even families at Disneyland.
And just as the USS Enterprise learned wasn’t alone as it frequently visit unseen alien worlds, OnBeep isn’t the only company working on the technology. The Container Store began using a matchbook-sized communicator made by Theatro for its floor staff while CommsBadge is working on a similar device.
The return of the Nextel Network?
OnBeep promises something between Star Trek and the Nextel Network that was effectively killed by the iPhone and popularity of other smartphones.
“Nextel has left this giant hole,” says Robbins “We estimate that there are 40 million Americans, in many jobs, that require them to be connected to each other throughout the day.”
“We are in early testing right now, so we are keeping the product under wraps. But it can be clipped to a shirt, jacket, bag or purse strap,” added Robbins.
There are a number of volunteer EMTs and firefighters on staff at OnBeep, each of whom know the importance of staying connected.