One of the challenges that business owners face is tracking inventory or assets. But with the advent of Bluetooth 4.0 you can track inventory or assets with ease and at a reasonably low cost.
These Bluetooth tracking devices can attach to almost anything such as Smartphones, tablets, laptops, briefcases and even storage keys.
Once you’ve paired the tracker with your iPhone or Android phone, these devices work by sounding an alarm when the tracker and your Laptop get separated from each other. This can be helpful if someone tries to walk off with your briefcase. But you can also set up ‘safe’ zones, such as your home or office, so your phone doesn’t start beeping every time you wandered away from your wallet. However if you did lose your wallet in the office you can open the app and press a button to make the tracker start beeping so you can then locate it.
There are several companies that provide inexpensive options to help you find your smartphone or laptop just by using a smartphone app. The cloud is more than just digital assets storage or the moving or corporate data – it can be a tool for protecting, securing and monitoring physical assets too. The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting people to the cloud in unique and powerful ways. Enterprise versions of some of these devices will empower businesses and help them to keep track of all their assets.
Hipkey (www.hippih.com/hipkey) For those with no inventory, but a few assets to monitor, HipKey is a good Bluetooth tracking device – keeping your tracked item connected to your iPhone. The device is aimed at consumers, but if you have a small number of devices or people and are also iPhone users, this one is fast and easy and will locate assets up to 50m. At $89.99 it is a little expensive if you have multiple items to secure. It’s currently only available with IOS app.
Sticknfind (http://www.stick-n-find.co.uk) If your business needs to go beyond tracking a couple of items, you will probably want to invest in the StickNFind sticker. These are quarter-sized stickers that come in several colours, which you can attach to anything you want to track. StickNFind also has inventory managing “Enterprise Beacons” that will help you track larger numbers of items. These keep track of inventory in real-time, increasing security and decreasing inventory time. Turn your iOS or Android devices into radar so that you can find up to 20 StickNFind marked devices in a 30-meter radius. A pack of 2 costs £49.99.
Tileapp (www.thetileapp.com) The power in the Tile app, is that you can grant access to different phones, so it would allow you to have a team of people locating a lost item. This distributed network is key for Tile: other people can’t see your tiles without permission, but if they have the app running in the background and your tile is nearby, you’ll be able to see where it is. Tiles are cool looking devices, but don’t offer as many features as some of the newer trackers. You can’t set up safe zones and there is no two-way buzzer. Worst of all, you can’t change the battery, when it dies in a year you have to throw away the entire tracker and buy another one. Compatible with both IOS and Android 4.4 Kitkat or higher. Tiles will set you back at around £22.50 each.
Protag (www.theprotag.com), have three products in this market, the G1, Elite and the Duet. Both the G1 and Elite are credit card size cards that have the unique feature of a USB charging port, which prolongs its useage, whereas the Duet runs off a small coin battery. The Duet is more aimed at consumers and comes in multiple colours. Another handy and unique function that all of the Protag products have is two way buzzers, so if you end up losing your phone, you just press the button on the locator to sound an alert on your phone. The Protag G1 is priced at £20.97, the Duet £24.90, and the Elite £66.34.
Lassotag, (www.lassotag.com), is one of the least expensive, available to buy online at only $19.99. It comes in three colours and has a range of up to 50ft with a battery life of three to six months, the larger model called the LassoTag HD, has a rechargeable battery instead. There are some unique features, for example, the app shows you the tracker’s battery life and temperature. And you can personalise the sound your phone makes when you’re too far from the tracker – even record your own voice. But no geofence and no two way communication, plus there is an annual fee for some of the features. You can connect up to 6 Lassotags to your device. Only available on IOS.
Tintag, (www.thetintag.com), boast of being the first item tracking device with an ever- lasting battery. Whilst all the above devices either use a small coin battery which will need to be replaced every 3 months or so, the Tintag comes with a rechargeable battery. You charge it using the home base charger and after 6 hours charging it’s good for 4 months. TinTag also has an online community, (similar to Tile) so if someone finds your lost item and enters your Tintag unique id, a notification will immediately be sent to you, with the location of your item. Compatible with IOS and Android the Tintag is currently only available to purchase on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website : www.indiegogo.com/projects/tintag-the-first-rechargeable-item-tracker
TrackR, (www.trackR.com), offers ‘Crowd GPS’. None of these Bluetooth trackers have GPS, so you can’t look up their location on a map. But Tile, LassoTag and TrackR, all offer a cloud based service so that anytime someone with one of these devices walks past your lost thin, that person’s phone silently notices it and lets you know. Your phone lights up and sows the passerby’s location on a map. The concept is brilliant, but in practice they’ll need to sell a lot of the devices to make the service work properly. The TrackR has a sharp design that can also be engraved, works up to 100ft, compatible with IOS and Android as is available to pre-order on their website for $29.