Track it

“I’m not lost, I’m right where I’m standing” is one of my favorite quotes from Winnie the Pooh. Are you forgetful? There’s a new technology that is making its way into the hands of many.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen several small, key fob sized tracking devices hit the market. These small devices can be used to track and prevent you from losing all sorts of things. The technology behind it is simple and quite effective.

Most of these devices take advantage of Bluetooth technology, GPS, and an app on your cell phone. They are essentially proximity sensors. Let’s take your car keys for example, an item that is commonly misplaced. By attaching one of these devices to your key ring, in the event you lose your keys, you would simply open the app on your phone and scan for the device. If you’re within range, it can tell you if you’re getting closer or further away depending on your distance from your keys. Some of these tracking devices can even emit a sound so it is easy to identify where it is.

Now I know what you’re thinking, what if I left my keys at the coffee shop at the strip mall and I’m too far for my phone to detect the tracking device. This is where the magic happens. The manufacturers are building a network into the app itself. Anyone who is using the same product on their phone, and is near your lost item, can sense your device. The best thing about it is, they don’t even know it. In other words, somebody sitting in that coffee shop with the app on their phone will report to you that your keys are in the coffee shop, and it will happen without their knowledge. As more people take advantage of this technology the probability of locating your lost item greatly increases as the network expands.

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you live relatively close to work and use your bicycle to commute. You head out for lunch and realize that your bike has been stolen. Luckily for you, you have attached one of the tracking devices to your bicycle. You open the app on your phone in hopes of finding your bike. Every time the perpetrator passes someone using the app on their phone, it will record a trail of where your bike has been. Now you can turn this information over to the authorities to help retrieve your bike.

Some of these tracking devices have additional functionality built in, such as geofence and the ability to trigger the ringtone on your phone. Geofence works great to prevent you from leaving your items somewhere. For instance, maybe you set your keys down on the counter in a public restroom and forget to grab them after washing your hands. You then proceed to walk out of the restroom. If you have geofencing turned on, when you reach a predetermined distance from your keys, your phone will alert you that you have left your keys behind. Or, what if you are running late and rush out the door leaving your purse on the couch? Geofence will alert you that you have left your purse behind before you even leave your driveway.

So what happens when you lose your phone? You could be covered in this situation as well. Some of these trackers have a little button on them that when pressed will trigger the ringtone on your phone. It can even be setup so that it will audibly ring if the phone is set to silent.

If you’re like some people I know, this might just be the next piece of technology to add to your everyday life and don’t forget the holidays are coming up. These tracking devices are relatively inexpensive at around $25, you can’t go wrong. I’m not advocating any particular make or model so you’ll have to check out the differences yourself but if you need a good place to start, some of the popular tracking devices are Tile, Protag Duet, TrackR bravo, and XY Find it. Happy tracking, and if you ever think YOU are lost, just remember, you are right where you are standing.

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