Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Where Are My Keys?? Tile Knows.

I'd like to think I'm an organised person, and for the most part I am. But there are certain things I am always misplacing, like my phone and my purse. Neither has a set place to live when I'm not using them, and the phone especially could be anywhere, as I'm known to walk around the house and garden with it. I'm pretty good with my keys, as they have a special hook. But sometimes I get distracted and poke them in my jacket pocket, or toss them in my purse. Getting out of the house quickly is a challenge when I can't immediately puts my hands on these essentials.

Enter Tile, a Bluetooth tracking device you attach to or slip into any items you frequently misplace and don't want to lose. The device works with the Tile app to keep tabs on where your items were last seen. The app can be used to prompt a Tile, say in your wallet, to play a tune, helping you to find your item even if it's down behind the couch. A crowd-sourcing component helps you to find items that you have lost or misplaced further afield.

The Tiles work with Bluetooth, not the cellular network, so you have to be within a 100 foot range of your lost item to locate it. I've placed a Tile Slim in my purse, which I'm always laying down somewhere odd, and used the Tile app to successfully locate that within the house. The app will reassure me it was last seen at my address, and then sends the signal to audibly lead me to it.

Additionally, the Tile app gives you the opportunity to tap into the network of all Tile app users to help you locate an item that has traveled more than 100 feet away, which is of course what you need if something is stolen, or you suspect you dropped your wallet during your recent shopping excursion.

I popped another Tile Slim into Boo's backpack, to see how this would work. Simply log in to the app and ask it to find your item. It will show you the last known location, and you can request that the app notify you when the item is found. Then, when any device in the Tile community passes by your missing item, you’ll automatically be notified of its most recent location. This feature works 100% anonymously and automatically, so your privacy is protected. There are limitations, of course. Your lost item will only be picked up by users who have their Tile app actively running, and your chances of success are better the more Tile users there are in your area. More users = better chances of someone walking by your lost item.

Although I wasn't looking for it at the time, I can confirm the crowd-sourcing aspect works (assuming someone in the vicinity has the Tile app). I received this notification recently:

This was us, at the airport on our way to Newfoundland. I guess another user walked by. Cool, hey?

So, I have a Tile Slim in my purse and one in Boo's backpack. Plus, my phone acts as a Tile once the app is installed and activated. If I misplace my phone I can log into the Tile website app to see its last known location, to make it ring, or to send a lock-screen message to anyone who might find it/have it. Ringing, even in silent mode, is very handy.

My purse and phone, located with me in St. John's, and his backpack last seen back at home in Scarborough.
Keep the Tile app running in the background on your phone, and it will keep an up-to-date accounting of where your item was last seen, helping you to go back and find it. Get to that location, and use the app to ping the device, telling Tile to play a loud tune until you locate it and turn it off. You can even use this feature to help find where you last parked your car - just leave a Tile in your glove box, and be sure your Tile app is turned on before you leave the car.

Tiles come in two styles, the Tile Slim that I tried, and the Tile Mate, a smaller version with a hole in one corner so you can easily attach it to your key ring. I have been thinking about attaching one of those to my cat's collar, in case she roams too far and goes missing. The Slim is a larger Tile, but only about the thickness of two credit cards, so it easily slips into your wallet, passport holder, etc. Either version can be affixed to various surfaces (think remote controls!) with adhesives you can purchase separately.

This video gives a good overview of how it all works.

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You can connect with the good folks at Tile on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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