Tile Bluetooth Valuable Tracker
It seems to cut across most language boundaries: the increasingly urgent patter of feet, the muttered profanities, the clatter of possessions being frantically emptied out of bags and raked through. Yep, the sound of the poor, hurried individual who has lost a set of keys, a wallet or some other vital item is instantly recognisable just about anywhere.
The Tile Bluetooth Valuable Tracker aims to disrupt this infuriating daily ritual as a miniature key fob sized device that can be located using a smartphone app.
How the Tile works
The Tile system uses Bluetooth wireless connectivity to create a link between each tracker and an app installed on your smartphone. Then, in the event that you lose a shiny valuable you can simply call the Tile attached to it using the accompanying app, causing miniature speakers on the device to play a 90-decibel melody advertising its location.
Handily, the process can also be reversed: if you lose your smartphone you can simply squeeze one of your Tiles and your phone will ring; a feature that still works if the device is in silent mode.
Tile Connection range
Tile state their device has a working range of around 100 feet, which sits somewhere between more generally quoted operating ranges for Class 1 and lower power Class 2 Bluetooth devices. So in other words, unless you inhabit a dwelling the size of Tony Stark’s mansion you should be covered for finding lost items around the house.
As with most forms of wireless connectivity caveats do apply and various potential sources of interference may affect Bluetooth connectivity in general. These include physical barriers such as concrete walls, and other wireless devices working on the same 2.4Ghz frequency (e.g. wireless speakers).
Maintenance of Tile trackers is basically non-existent and there will be no need to fiddle around replacing microscopic batteries. Their built-in batteries are designed to last a minimum of one year – unless perhaps you are exceptionally forgetful – after which existing customers can ‘reTile’ with up to a 50% discount. All you have to do is order your new Tiles and return the old ones in a prepaid envelope supplied by the company.
The fact that these devices come with their batteries cocooned inside a water-resistant casing also means they’re fairly durable. Whilst Tiles are unlikely to function if you somehow lose you car keys snorkelling, their IP5 water resistance rating does mean they are splash proof.
Tile app control
The accompanying Tile app available for Android and iOS devices is well-designed, with an effortless user interface which should make it suitable for many levels of technical ability.
Using your smartphone you can assign a Tile tag to each valuable they have been attached to and then activate it to find an item. Assuming said item is within Bluetooth range a signal strength indicator provided by the app will help guide you to it in addition to the melody emitted from the device. On the other hand, if you have left a tagged valuable out of Bluetooth range, in say, the restaurant where you had lunch, you can also use the app to see a valuable’s last know location on a map.
Perhaps the most innovative feature of the second generation Tile is its use of cloud computing power to create a kind of ‘lost and found’ network: if you mark a tagged item as lost using the app this information will be securely shared with other users in your area. Then, if one of their apps then detects the lost article nearby this information will be passed back to you.
You can see a demonstration of the Tile app in action in the following video:
All in all, the Tile offers an innovative and inexpensive solution for keeping track of the array of valuables many of us carry around with us on a daily basis. What’s more, its simplicity makes it a suitable gift to just about anyone with a smartphone.
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