The ‘Tile’ tagging device

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The Tiel tagging device for grey nomads
The car key that can't hide!

A new affordable tagging device could be about to make losing critical items at a crucial time a thing of the past … and give security-conscious grey nomads serious peace of mind.

The Tile is a matchbook-sized gadget that can be attached to high-value items such as wal­lets, keys, bikes, laptops … and even dogs and caravans … so that they can be traced if they go missing. Tiles communi­cate via Bluetooth 4.0 with the Tile app on your smartphone to indicate the object’s distance from you. It’s a lurch forward from the ‘now you’re getting warmer’ concept of hide-and-seek games.

Keep an eye out for anxious-looking grey nomads holding up their mobile phones as they wander round the camp­ground tracking down their missing motorhome keys!

Initially, the Tile will only have a range of about 20-50 metres so it will be mainly useful for finding items lost around the van or perhaps while you were on the walk to the amenities.

However, things will get more interesting and more useful as more and more people acquire the Tile app, and the intercon­nected Tile community grows. The fact that Tiles can talk to each other means that victims of theft, as well as absent-minded travellers, could ben­efit. If you can’t quickly find your missing item, you can use your phone app to mark it as lost. By doing so, you have alerted the entire network of Tile users to your problem. If another Tile user then passes within range of your missing laptop, their smartphone will send you a notification of its location. All of this is done without the secondary Tile user knowing that he or she has inadvertently helped you.

Basically, it means that if your tagged folding bike is stolen from a caravan park in Cook­town you might eventually be notified that a fellow Tile user has passed within a whisker of it while staying in Broome. Using that information to actually get your bike back is presumably the next part of your problem!

Tiles costs less than $US20 each and, if you want to tag multiple items, you can buy 10 Tiles for about US$170.

Interestingly though, the Tile’s battery is designed to last for one year and is not recharge­able. After around 11 months of use, Tile owners will be sent a notification to that effect and will have the opportu­nity of buying another Tile. While $20 or so may sound a relatively affordable way of protecting high-end items, it will become an annual cost.

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