Smart Tag and the Tile Tracker
When your memory fails you, this smart tag, known as Tile, finds what you misplaced. Okay, we confess. We’re techies. We’d probably be techies even if it didn’t rhyme with Trekkies. As Baby Boomers, we ride the tech wave in both work and leisure life. Spreadsheets were the killer application or “app” for the desktop PC. First VisiCalc, then Lotus 123 and finally Excel made complex financial modeling easy. In leisure, we went from being the parent’s remote control for the new color television to viewing anything we want basically anywhere anytime on brilliant and sharp flat screens of almost any size. We’re waiting with baited breath for fully autonomous or self-driving vehicles. We’re convinced technology will change the experience of aging in significant and we think positive ways.
So we pay attention to technology from gadgets to infrastructure or enabling technology. One area of emerging importance is the so-called “Internet of Things” or IoT. These are devices that connect to the Internet to share data. Think of them as remote sensors and controls. One of the first such sensors to enter everyday life is the “Tile.”
Tile (smart tag) offers comparatively low-cost tracking of whatever you attach to the little 1.45”x1.45”x0.2” plastic-encased device. It’s little more than a disposable battery, alarm, and BlueTooth antenna, but the software on the Tile website or the Tile App on your smartphone makes it work like an auxiliary memory. Lojack for stolen cars was a great idea but the service is relatively expensive. Think of Tile as affordable Lojack for the rest of your portable possessions. Here’s a quick video illustration:
“Where did I leave my keys?” Don’t remember or don’t have time to look? No problem if you have a Tile attached to the key ring. Open the Tile App on your phone and it will both show you where your keys are at on Google Maps and ring the alarm built-into the Tile so you can follow the sound to your misplaced keys. The App’s locator feature will tell you when you’re getting closer or farther away. It’s like playing Marco Polo with a purpose.
Actually, your smartphone and your Tile work as a team. You can set your Tile to alarm if you walk too far away from your smartphone. Push a button on your tile and your smartphone will ring, even if it is set to silent. So the Tile can help you find your smartphone too. Can’t find either keys or smartphone? Sign-into www.TheTileApp.com and the map shows you where the Internet of Things last saw your Tile or smartphone. Discovering you left it at work will save you from searching at home all night.
“Have you seen my keys?” Marco…Polo…
Senior moments of forgetfulness or misplaced items are not unique to those over 65. Our millennial daughter has a string of lost and forgotten items through her storied career of forgetfulness. (She also has a stunningly successful career in corporate information technology so Karma works out.)
Tile is not a perfect solution. The First Daughter could see her phone was least seen in the big pile of leaves at the dump, but finding it was like looking for a needle in the haystack. Lesson learned? When raking leaves, have your phone safely secured in a button-downed pocket.
Still, Tile is a great solution to a common challenge — misplaced items. It is uniquely helpful to those consciously defending against times when their own memory betrays them.
Three Reasons to Choose a Smart Tag like Tile
We think there are three reasons this smart tag or Tile is so good for those of us with aging short-term memories or limited focus and increasing lapses.
- Tile is small and relatively inexpensive. You can afford to attach a Tile to your keys. Put one in your wallet or purse. Smart tag or Tile other portable things of value.
- Tile protects your smartphone too. Tile is paired to your smartphone but can talk to the Internet through other users’ Tile Apps to shout, “Here I am!” It defends both the Tile and smartphone against leave behinds. With many smartphones in the hundreds of dollars, Tile is cheap insurance. Other uses like luggage and bicycles turn hopelessly lost into get my stuff back.
- Tile App is easy. The software or application interface is brain-dead simple and easy to understand and use. Here’s where Tile is a recognized leader over other vendors with similar products.
We got our first Tile when Lori got tired of Dan searching for his wallet or keys trying to get out the door in the morning for work. “Have you seen my wallet?” is apparently not a fun daily conversation.
We’ve been very happy with our first and subsequent Tile(s). It’s literally a thoughtful gift for loved ones. Give them one Tile and they’ll be hooked.
The primary downside is the batteries don’t last forever and so Tiles have to be replaced periodically. Dan’s original smart tag is now a year old and is still going strong so the batteries are long-lived. Tile offers a reTile program for existing users. Dan’s earlier version of the Tile was .20 inches deep, about the depth of seven credit cards. That made it a bit thick in a wallet. However, the newest Tile is now only the thickness of two credit cards. So thickness is no longer a concern.
Overall the Tile is compelling and affordable answer to losing things of value. A single Tile costs $25 and lasts at least a year. Buy a pack of four for a 30% discount for $70 and cover your main high-value items at risk. Tile is available direct or from major technology retailers like BestBuy and Amazon.
We were not paid to review this item. This review reflects our personal experience with this smart tag, Tile. We’ll be sharing other technology reviews. We’ll relate the technology to senior living and aging. Technology will help keep us socially active, intellectually engaged, and support our independence. From small things like Tile to big changes like Internet of Things health monitoring, technology is increasingly important. We’ll keep you up to date with our experiences.
Bottom line? Tile is highly recommended. And uniquely helpful for an aging population. Smart tags are a perfect example of how new technology can improve daily life and especially the experience of aging.