Tile, Trackr and Luggage: Find stuff you need

Sometimes you can’t find your keys, or your wallet, or your phone.   If these are things you are often looking for, you can attach a location sensor to your item, and use your phone (with the app) or Alexa (with a skill) to locate it.  Generally, these location sensors are Bluetooth sensors that you can locate within 100FT.

The sensors are part of a bigger picture that can enable us to do more than just find our keys.   As of 2018, you can also use Alexa to find your phone inside your house without a location tracker of any kind! This function uses the apps and Alexa, and you don’t actually need a Trackr or Tile to do it, which is pretty darn cool.

1. Who needs a location sensor?

Anyone who regularly misplaces the same object repeatedly.  Keys.  Wallet.  Sometimes I hide stuff from myself.  Its not in the plan; it just happens.   We’ve all taken the remote control to the bathroom.  

If you live with someone who moves things around, or you misplace things, or you or someone you know has cognitive or memory impairment, this can help you.  If you use Alexa already, you can use this to find your phone in your house without buying any new hardware.  

2. What location trackers or sensors are currently available?

There are two big brands on the scene: Tile or Trackr

Both products include a device which uses Bluetooth to connect and an app for your phone or tablet.

The Tile App is a square tracker (like a tiny tile).  It communicates with a phone that has the Tile App.  You can then make the Tile beep from your phone, helping you locate any object that you’ve put a tile on.

Trackr is a round tracker, and has two different version – Pixel and Bravo.  It communicates with a phone that has the Trackr App.

You can put a Tile/Trackr on like your car keys or your woobieTile has received more press in 2015 and 2016; Trackr has benefited in 2017  from partnering with Amazon.  I have a Tile to play with, mostly because it was easy to purchase and I got it on sale at one of those box electronic strip mall stores with names you know.

3. Where can you use a Bluetooth location tracker?

Within 100Ft of your phone or tablet with the app.

The device works with Bluetooth from your phone.  You cannot locate something 120 FT away.  Consider this when evaluating if this solves your problem.

You would place the Tile or Trackr device on the item that you anticipate losing.  This is a critical key for leveraging this location tracker functionality.  So, you need to put it on the remote control.  You can duct tape it on there if you have to; just make sure it is your remote control.

You can then make the Trackr beep from your phone, helping you locate any object that you’ve put a Trackr on.

Both Tile and Trackr work with Alexa, so you can ask Alexa to find your phone! Since your Alexa device is likely in the same place in your house, this seems more useful than interacting with the location device to find your phone.

You will need the Tile or Trackr skill installed in Alexa.  Its also possible to use Tile and Trackr with your google assistant.

4.  When would you use a Bluetooth or a GPM-GPRS location tracker?

Because you can’t find your most important item! And you need your phone or tablet to find it.  Alexa can help you too.  

But where do you usually misplace things, and which things? that’s the question.   

  • If you always need your keys and can never find them.  Put a tracker on it.
  • If you always need the remote, well, put a tracker on it.
  • If you always need your wallet, put a little tracker inside it, skinny style.

If you know which things you need, and you usually lose them near you like a key situation where you think ‘where are my keys I know I brought them home but i can’t find them right now’, yes Bluetooth location tracker.

If you are always losing your phone, then yes, Trackr app with Alexa AND you don’t actually even need a location tracker, just the app.  This will help you find your phone in your house.

If you tend to leave stuff at your sister’s house who lives across town, then no bluetooth location tracker will work for you.  You need something stronger and is wifi or gps based.  When this may be a real risk you want to address, you can re-purpose a luggage tracker, which uses GPS-GPRS technology (satellite communications basically), and a low cost annual fee to track the device.  LugLoc looks like a great example.  You would find your luggage via the website.

5. Why would you use a location tracker?

Looking for things is stressful, a waste of time, and it makes us feel silly when we need to ask other people for help. “Can you help me look for …?” can feel awkward to ask someone.  Having a location tracker allows me to solve my own problem.    

If losing the remote control is the problem, I can tape a tile to the remote, and then use my phone to locate it.  If my husband has dementia and he always takes the remote and leaves it somewhere he can’t find, I can use Tile or Trackr to locate it instead of asking him to find it.

If I have a lot of things I can never find, I can attach to my Keys, and Wallet and know that my phone will help me locate the.   If bluetooth is activated on my phone at all times, I can