Tracking Down Property
Sometimes I am of the opinion that inanimate objects have a life of their own. Items, such as mobile phones, tablets and keys, have a habit of managing to move themselves from where ever you carefully placed them. I have lost count of the number of times that my keys or smartphone is not where I was sure I had left them ready for when I needed them. Obviously I am not along in suffering from this type of circumstance as a number of manufacturers have spent time, money and energy on developing products to help alleviate this problem of misplaced kit. I can remember checking out tracking devices from companies, such as Loc8tor and Doro several years ago and more recently Wistiki and TrackR have joined the party.
Adding to this list of companies producing tracking devices is Tile Inc from its base in San Mateo, California. Tile has developed a tracking product that has the same name as the company. This tracking device, named Tile, is Apple White in colour. With rounded corners, dimensions of 38 x 38 x 5mm (H x W x D) and weighing 9g, the Tile can be attached to whatever item you wish to track. Positioned in the top left corner of the Tile is a hole which can be used to attach the Tile to a key ring to ensure that it is ready available whenever needed to pin point the location of whatever device it is partnered. Decorating the front of the Tile is the product’s name and this plays a part in the pairing of the device but more on this a little later.
As with the other modern tracking device that I have seen, the Tile works in conjunction with a free-to-download app. This app can be downloaded from its own website of or from the appropriate app store for your smartphone. I opted to use the app from Google Play Store.
When opening the app for the first time you have options to view a promotional video or sign up for a Tile account. This account requires a valid email address and password, of at least 7 characters, to be provided. A confirmation email, to which you need to respond either by selecting a link or entering a provided numeric code into the smartphone hosting the app, will be sent to the supplied address.
The Tile will need to be paired with the smartphone app. This pairing process requires you to apply pressure to the letter “e” of the product’s name while holding the tile in close proximity to the smartphone. An audible signal will announce when the pairing is completed.
The app can keep track of multiple tiles which can be identified by their own user-specified names. The tiles can be viewed either in list format or positioned on a Google map to show their location. In List format you are shown when the tiles were last identified with colour coding being used to indicate how near the tile was to the paired smartphone.
Clicking on a tile in the list brings up an individual screen for that particular tile. This screen will feature a button that will cause the tile to emit an audible signal if it was within range or give you an option to move around as the smartphone searches for the presence of the tile. The nearer you get to the tile the more a green circle will become filled in around the tile icon on the screen.
While the paired smartphone can be used to track tiles, the reverse can also apply. There are two general methods which can be used for this purpose depending upon whether the missing smartphone is relatively close by or not. In the case of the former you can cause the smartphone to emit an audible signal by two quick presses of the letter “e” on the front of the tile. You can also access a website which provides the location of the last position at which the smartphone was identified. A Tile Community feature can be used to help track down missing items and provide you with the relevant information.
The tile device has been designed to last for a full year on its built-in batteries. As replacing the batteries require technical expertise, tile has put in place a service that offers to send the user a replacement device once the initial 12 months of use have expired. The replacement tile will be available at a reduced cost. I have no information regarding the cost of this replacement service but the initial cost of the tile has been set at £19.99. You can earn yourself free tiles by persuading others to purchase the product.
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