I have been a big fan of Strava since they started, so it comes with pain that I have to write this article. But seriously, somebody over at Strava needs to be fired.
Strava recently introduced their “Beacon” feature available to premium subscribers. This feature is touted as a way for subscribers to be safer by letting friends and family track their activities in real-time. Really it’s just a way for Strava to get more people to pay up.
I thought perhaps Strava had introduced a new device to compete with SPOT, but that’s not the case. Here’s where the brilliant product team got it tragically wrong: the Beacon service only works where you have data coverage. If you’ve ever ventured off into the great outdoors, you know that cell phone service is spotty at best.
Maybe you’re thinking that you want to track your sweetie on city streets just in case he falls over, gets knocked out and can’t dial 911 on his own. Well good news for you is that there are plenty of free tracking apps available for iPhones and Android devices already. So don’t waste your money on a Strava premium upgrade just for the Beacon feature.
If you want to use Strava for live tracking in areas where you know for sure you’ve got data coverage, well OK it’s a neat feature. But it’s not unique. Other companies like Garmin with their “Live Track” feature have been doing this for years.
Bottom line: it’s misleading as a safety feature and nothing special as a tracking feature.