Losing something sucks. Whether it is your car keys, or even your car itself, forgetfulness and theft can wreak havoc on your wallet and your psyche. A couple years ago, Tile introduced appropriately-designed little tiles to affix to your possessions to help smart-locate anything you might have lost. Now the company is introducing new products and encouraging users to feel good for helping their neighbours locate lost property.
Tile is a simple but novel idea; take a device and affix it to the most valuable things in your life. Download the accompanying app and then if you lose your item, ping the device to make a noise, and use Bluetooth technology to track it down, retrieve it, then thank the heavens that someone invented Tile in the first place.
Improving on this idea is where the difficulty lies, but Tile is pushing the limits of what’s possible for smart location. The brand new Tile Style and Tile Sport are part of the Pro series: louder, durable, waterproof and double the range of the original Tiles.
These new versions come with an update to the companion Tile app. Users can now choose from a couple different tones to alert the location of a lost Tile. Proximity sensors have also been introduced, gradually filling a circle on your screen as you approach the lost object.
“The new products are gorgeous, super powerful and cross every kind of dimension for a user,” CMO Simon Fleming-Wood told Techvibes. “Our interface has improved, the new Tiles are louder and easier to find now.”
Smart location technology is a massive market that a lot of new companies are trying to enter and Tile is trying to be at the forefront. The company is in a unique position to do so, not because they already have the tech to support it, but because the community behind them is so strong. 10 million Tiles have been bought so far, and two million items are found every single day with the service. This sense of community is how Tile sees itself becoming entrenched in the scene for a long time coming.
“Ten years from now everything will have smart location—we want to be the providers,” says Fleming-Wood. “We leverage a new product to build a community, then the finding power of our network becomes tremendous. We take that to other companies to make them Tile native.”
The aspect of never losing your $300 headphones or brand new sunglasses is tempting, and Tile realizes this. They want to partner with companies that embrace smart location and recognize their sense of community.
“We think about this concept of an object graph. Every individual has a set of objects that are important,” says Fleming-Wood. “We’re interested in ways to draw useful relationships out of those objects. As we Tile more and more things, the number of those relationships grows exponentially.”
Tile also succeeds because, well, people are kind. They typically want to feel good and return lost things to their rightful owners. Tile calls their users that help locate lost devices “good neighbours,” and this might be the most integral part of Tile’s plan to become a force multiplier.
If you help someone find a lost device using the Tile app, you get a notification alerting you to your good deed. This makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and remain more likely to keep the app open or invest in Tile devices in the future, simply because you know the system works.
Fleming-Wood shared his thoughts on how he wanted users to rethink their perception of Tile.
“My thinking was ‘They have really only really talked about this as a utilitarian device so far.’ They haven’t really scratched the surface of this community and what it means,” says Fleming-Wood. “I was thinking about it more than it being a little piece of plastic. If you can think of being a part of Tile as being a part of a community that looks out for each other, it’s amazing.”
Tile is a community that grows everyday, and as they bring the technology and community to more and more devices, users can spend more time looking ahead and less time looking for lost objects.