A Tile? A Waracle Tile nonetheless…

1st June 2016

Dave H, Sales and Business Development.

It’s caused a bit of excitement around the office here, mainly due to me running around ‘demoing’ the features of it – then there’s the fact that any device that’s linked to an app will cause a flurry of interest here at Waracle. Last week was about Google Cardboard, before that was the latest Oculus release.

We’ve been busy co-creating content with some of the industry’s most influential thought leaders, when it comes to Mobile, and it dawned on me that whilst there is a mutually beneficial aspect to co-creation of content (both parties hopefully share it!) – I wanted to take the time to say ‘thank you’ properly, for the time they had given up to do this.

So it got me thinking, what could we do to say thank you, but somehow relate it back to mobile? Only that day we had been discussing a Kick-starter project a local company had been working on and it was about luggage tracking. I remember reading about The Tile App a while ago, and figured that might be quite interesting to explore its potential whereabouts now in its life-cycle!

So what is a Tile and why might you want one?

Let’s start with this – “The average person will spend 153 hours looking for misplaced valuables in their lifetime.” I’m definitely one of those… Guilty of walking in somewhere, throwing my keys down and getting on with putting the shopping away, kicking my shoes off, or thinking about what’s for dinner. However, you know that feeling of leaving the house and you realise you have no idea where you put those keys, your mobile or perhaps you wallet – usually when you’re up against it time wise! Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker and easy-to-use mobile app that finds everyday items in seconds… (Disclaimer: Sadly we’ve not been involved in the building of the app, but we’ll admit it’s not too shabby!)

How does it work?

We’ve mentioned that it connects to your mobile device by Bluetooth, (Bluetooth 4.0 – Bluetooth Low Energy) and has a range of between 50-150 ft. It also has a proximity indicator on the app, and most importantly a fairly loud high pitched musical tune that plays when you report your tile equipped device missing. So, that’s all well and good if you’ve lost your keys inside your house, but what happens if you’ve lost them whilst out and about?

Firstly when you open the Tile app, it reports where the lost item was last detected, giving you a great starting point! You got to where it was last seen and hope that it will start reporting back in… this will allow you to play that musical tune or rely on the proximity sensor to locate its whereabouts. Now, If you lose your phone, you can also press the button on the Tile located on your keys and it will make your phone ring – even if it’s on silent!

The bit I like the most is that you can ‘report your item lost’ which will then utilise the crowd-sourced approach and will alert you if others happen to come across it. Obviously, this is heavily reliant on adoption, but it’s been out for a few years now, the price is not too scary at £20 for one or £50 for a pack of 4. With over 200,000 backers on Kick-starter, not to mention raising $2.6 million in just over 30 days – it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to flop!

What does the future hold?

Interestingly Jaguar Land Rover have just announced a partnership with Tile, and are the first vehicle manufacturer to integrate tile into their in-vehicle entertainment system. Not only does it utilise the screen to access all the usual tile app features, they’ve taken it a stage further so that when you get in your car it automatically checks whether you’ve got your wallet, phone, keys or wherever you’ve attached your tile!

With the IoT becoming a bit more understandable now we’re actually seeing real world examples, it would be great to take the Tile app a stage further. Rather than having to push a button on the Tile app, it would be good if sensors could detect when one of your key devices is out of range of you, having looked at the data of past, and worked out that this is not typical behaviour – as you’re never without your phone for instance. We talk about machine learning a lot these days, but actually there’s a lot of data being harvested, it become infinitely more useful when actions are taken from that data.

With the actual Tile app, it would be good to see it slightly reduced in size. It’s by no means too chunky for things like placing on a keyring, or inside a computer/handbag, but for instance i have one inside my wallet, and having recently done my best to clear out a whole load of cards to slimline my back pocket – it’s now back at a fairly chunky size having placed the Tile inside. The other potential ‘gotcha’ is that the battery life of the Tile is limited to 12 months, so you’ll be needing to order replacements fairly soon, especially as it’s a sealed unit. (Tile are saying that they will send out replacements for a reduced cost after the 12 months)

To be honest, it’ll be like every bit of tech/insurance policy, if you’ve had good cause to use it with positive results it’ll be a no-brainer, or like home insurance maybe you just feel better with that peace of mind and will pay for replacements anyway!

Meanwhile, if you or anyone you know would like to get involved with helping us co-create content pieces based around mobile and what the future holds, then please get in touch – you too could have your own branded Waracle tile for helping out.

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