Techno Dabbler

Trying out new technology.

Wednesday

16

November 2016

Tile : Never Lose Your Keys Again

by Alexandre Denault, on Bluetooth, Lost, InternetOfThings

Tile : Never Lose Your Keys Again

Losing an object is a common occurrence : you dropped an item without noticing it and you can’t find it anymore. It happens to everyone. However, losing something as mundane as your car keys can be very expensive to replace. As such, there is a growing market for tracking devices. At the head of the pack is the Tile, another crowd-funded success story.

In 2013, Tile started a crowd-funding campaign with a simple idea, a small bluetooth tracker that would allow people to find their stuff. People seem to agree with this idea as they completed the campaign with 200’000 preorders. Fast forward two years latter and Tile has sold over 2’000’000 Tiles.

What is a Tile?

The Tile is a white small piece of plastic with rounded edges. It connects to your phone using the low-power BlueTooth 4.0 standard. You can attach it to any object you might lose and want to find latter. Finding a tile is very straightforward :

1) If a tile is connected to your phone, you can ask it to play a loud melody that will help you find it.

2) If the tile is not connected to your phone, it will record the last position where it was. You can see this location on a map and travel to it. Once at that location, if the tile is still there, your phone should connect to it.

3) You can request help to find your tile. Once declared as lost, all phones with the Tile app will scan for that Tile. If found, you will get a map showing the general location of the Tile. You can then travel to that area, connect to the tile and make it ring. The request is completely anonymous and nobody receives information about tiles they do not own.

To increase battery life and make the device waterproof, the battery in a Tile is non removal, lasting a maximum of one year. They also offer a replacement program to get replacement Tiles at a discount. Cynically, this conviennently provides the company with a healthy continuous revenue stream. The distinct consumer avantage is that Tile are always replaced by the newer model, allowing the consumer to always benefit for from the latest version. I can also appreciate being able to find my keys, even if they feel in a puddle of water.

Finding your Phone

The Tile has another convient feature : if the “e” is double pressed, it will make the phone it is connected to ring, even if on silent. This provides an easy shortcut to find your phone, as long as your phone is in Bluetooth range. When tested with our Tile, the phone rang pretty loudly, even went is was originally set to silent.

Never losing stuff again

I did not lose my keys during this review, so it is difficult to give a first-hand review of the device. However, the device did perform well in testing and the science is sound. For now, the Tile is one of the best BlueTooth tracer on the market and would not hesitate to recommended to people who lose their possessions often.

Alexandre Denault
Alexandre Denault

Veteran software developer and holds a PhD in Computer Science. Avid computer enthusiast (geek) who has been dabbling with technology ever since his Dad brought home an 8086 computer.

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