Earlier this year Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak announced the launch of a new technology venture called, appropriately enough, Wheels of Zeus, or wOz for short. At the time, the company noted plans to develop “new consumer electronics wireless products to help everyday people track everyday things.” Now details have emerged about what those products are and who will run the company.
Wheels of Zeus is working on the wOz Platform, which the company describes as “a system reference design, wireless network, and an online service that will enable solutions to help people take better care of what’s important to them.”
Reports describe the first batch of wOz products as location-monitoring technology designed to help users track children, animals and property using a combination of radio signals and global positioning satellite (GPS) technology, to keep track of things within a one or two-mile radius of a home base station. The base stations will be able to track dozens — perhaps hundreds — of devices at once using wireless tags that cost less than US$25 each.
The tags will be able to generate alerts that can then be relayed by phone or e-mail to let the wOzNet user known when kids, pets or property go on the move or out of a specific vicinity.
Woz himself is the chairman and CEO of new firm, which expects to publicly unveil both the platform and the network itself in the first half of 2004. In a statement today, Wheels of Zeus announced that Woz would be joined by ex-Apple alums Gina Clark and Rich Rifredi, as well as Frank Canova.
Clark most recently worked as vice president of Marketing for PalmSource Inc., makers of the Palm OS. At Wheels of Zeus, Clark will be “responsible for developing strategic partnerships and creating and executing the company’s marketing strategy.” Rifredi, who comes to Wheels of Zeus by way of recent Sun Microsystems acquisition Pixo Inc., will be the company’s new Chief Operating Officer. And Canova — ex-vice president of worldwide product engineering at Palm Inc. — “is responsible for all product development activities.”