Some preliminary analysis after the fold.From the press release: -- "It also allows owners to check on the location of their pet by dialing F-O-U-N-D on their chosen wireless device. GlobalPetFinder will immediately respond with the position (map or address depending on the device) of the pet. Pet owners can also monitor the environmental temperature of their pet".
"By logging onto the GlobalPetFinder website, pet owners can create a virtual fence for their pet. Once the pet leaves the set boundaries, the system alerts the owner that their pet has left the preset parameter and continues to send minute-to-minute updates to the wireless device of choice, such as a cell phone, PDA or computer, while the pet remains outside the approved area. GlobalPetFinder will automatically alert the owner if batteries begin to run low and it is time for recharging".
Once the technology becomes commoditized enough that the price goes down, there's no doubt it will be hidden in musical instrument cases, briefcases, high-end bicycles, laptop PC's, and so on. Everyone can become their own private eye. So lets assess. If more "lost" things are found, then less "stuff" has to be re-purchased; and that's good for both resource conservation and insurance premiums.
Conversely, by propagating to a myriad of treasured items and living things, a lot more "stuff" gets consumed, including batteries, with a low probability of loss prevention accomplished per unit. The theoretical net result is much more stuff consumed (unless theft rates get really high).
Opportunitites for Improvement:
Maybe there'll be a brisk after-market in solar charging dog collars.
A design change that might get TreeHugger endorsement is a lightweighted, cat-appropriate version. Think of how many "lost cat" posters would not have to go up on the phone poles and fences of the world's cities, saving thousands of acres of trees every year!