I had a bit of a scare a few months ago when my wallet slipped out of my pocket while I was in a meeting, and I didn’t notice it until about an hour later. Luckily, someone picked it up and contacted me, but I was definitely anxious thinking of all the things that could have happened. This made me think of how the situation could have been different if I had a tracking device like Tile in my wallet. I also wondered how I could use Tile for travel situations.
What is Tile?
Tile has been around for a couple of years, but I just recently starting using it. The company released their first product in 2014, then released their version 2 product in September 2015. Tile is a small Bluetooth 4.0 enabled device that you can attach to your keys, wallet, bag, camera, bike. Basically, anything you want to track! The device emits a signal with a range of 100 to 150 feet. You can then track the signal via an app on your phone. You can see the location of the Tile (or last known location if it’s currently not detected), and even have it sound a ringtone.
Tile is currently available in two types of devices. The first is the Tile Mate, which is the most popular size. It’s a small square, about 34 mm or 1.34 inch in height and width, and about 4.65 mm or 0.18 inches thick. This size is perfect for keys, bags, bikes, etc.
The other Tile that is available is the Tile Slim. This Tile is a bit larger, at about 54 mm or 2.13 inches in height and width, but only 2.4 mm or 0.09 inches thick. Basically, it has the thickness of two credit cards and is shaped to fit inside a wallet or purse.
There are also a few accessories available for the Tile, including straps, pouches, and adhesives.
How does Tile work?
What makes Tile really cool though is that it uses crowdsourcing to help locate the devices. Every Tile device is constantly being detected by other Tile users. The device logs its location based on the proximity of those users. For example, I might be walking down the street and anonymously reporting the location of other Tiles within my vicinity. At the same time, the Tile in my wallet is detected and reported by others.
If you lose a Tile, you can request that the app notify you when it’s detected. Tile will then send you a mobile notification and email once it’s detected by you or another user. It works incredibly well and makes the process of finding your lost items much easier.
Tile claims that there are 10 million Tiles in the community, so there’s a good chance that you or your Tiles will be around other users in your daily life and travels. There are also incredible use cases on the Tile website and forums from users who were trying to locate their lost or stolen items.
The battery on the devices is guaranteed to last one year. The batteries are not user replaceable. Tile does offer a program called reTile which allows you to get replacement Tiles every year for a discounted price. They will recycle your old Tiles in the process and give you the latest model (in case the technology has improved).
Ways to use Tile for travel
Since we’re a travel-focused channel, we think that the Tile is a great device to use while traveling. Here are some ways that you can use a Tile while traveling.
Ever been on a plane and wondered whether your checked bag made it onboard? Or maybe you’ve waited at baggage claim wondering if your bag arrived at the terminal. Tile allows you to see the location of your luggage. There are even photos from Tile users showing that their bag made it onboard the cargo hold of the plane.
2. Wallet, purse, and keys:
While most of us have a specific location where we put our personal items every day when we get home, it’s generally not the case when we are traveling. Using a Tile can help you locate your stuff, whether it’s at a hotel, locker, or anywhere else.
While our phone’s location can often be tracked online, items like cameras can easily be stolen or misplaced while traveling. Attaching one to your camera or another expensive electronic device can give you some extra peace of mind.
You can use a Tile to help you locate your rental car, especially when you park in a lot. The app should mark the last location where it had contact with your Tile, allowing you to find the location on the map. This can also be applied to situations where you park your personal car at the airport or station. It so easy to forget where you parked after a long trip!
Do you use a Tile? If so, please share your experience in the comment section below.