As a provider of an innovative device that makes use of Bluetooth wireless connections and smartphones to help people find things they have lost, Tile Inc. is turning the Internet of Things into a massive lost and found.
Next up, Tile plans to extend the reach of its service by making available an SDK to developers and publishing an API that will make it easier to share the data that Tile collects from customers.
At the MuleSoft Connect 2014 conference today, Bill York, vice president of products for Tile, said during the morning keynote session that Tile plans to make available an SDK that would allow developers to embed the technology that Tile created to track devices using a Bluetooth connection directly inside their applications.
In conjunction with that effort, York told conference attendees that Tile will also expose the data it collects to third-party developers via a RESTful API.
Tile, which just started shipping devices, works by attaching a tile containing a sensor to anything someone doesn’t want to lose, such as a wallet or car keys. The device transmits a signal via Bluetooth to a mobile computing application that uses GPS to tell people where their lost items are located.
York says the next goal for Tile might be to create a community edition of its service that allows members to anonymously leverage other smartphones to discover the location of things that might be lost in an entirely different part of the city. The Tile device would send a signal to any smartphone running the mobile computing application, which would then send an alert to the owner of the device.
Of course, the current state of location-based services can tell someone that an item he or she is looking for is in a particular building, but not which floor or office. However, as location-based services come to wireless networks, the ability to pinpoint the specific location of a lost item should increase considerably.
Tile, which raised $2.6 million via crowdfunding last year, has already generated a lot of buzz. But since its inception the company has already attracted a number of competitors. No doubt it won’t be long before they too are taking advantage of SDKs and APIs in a way that, no matter how hard we try, will prevent us from ever losing something again.