Knock Knock: the future is here.

A "Tile" can be attached to any object and you can track it using your cell phone and other people cell phones... Credit: Tile

A few years ago Sergey Brin claimed that Google by 2018 will be able to answer questions like: "where did I put my keys?".

Now, this is a quite complex question, it requires to understand who you are what keys are you talking about and this in turns may require to guess why you need your key at this particular time.

i have some doubts Google will be able to deliver on this promise but in the meantime I am seeing ingenious ways to answer at least part of these questions by mixing technology and the power of crowd.

Take Tile, as an example. It is a tag that emits a bluetooth signal transmitting a unique identity to attach to what you want to track. An app you can download for free from the Apple and Android Store will let you cell phone pick up that identity and signal you where the object is. To work it has to be within 50 mt radius. 

What about leaving the keys at the diner and now looking for them after having walked back to the office, a km away? Here steps in the idea of crowdsourcing. 

Your search for your keys generates a global search requesting any cell phone to be on the look out for that identity (without the cell phone owner being aware of this).

If a person with a cell phone enabled by the app captures that identity it will transmit the GPS coordinates to your cell phone and you'll see on a map where your keys are. Once you are in their vicinity the app on your phone will home you in to your keys.

The "tile" is now being sold for 19$ (15$ if you buy at least 3 of them). It is not cheap but it is also just starting. The major drawback is that until the system will be widespread you cannot benefit from crowdsourcing. It will surely take time, and probably it will not be "Tile" to conquer the world but something still based on the idea of tagging and placing the virtual object on the web, via a parasitic network provided by a cell phone, ready to be traced by an application. It is the Internt of Things, and it will come in many colours and many hues.

I guess it will not happen all of a sudden, nor it will be possibile to remember a date for when it happened. We will find ourselves, without noticing, in the Internet of Things, as today we find ourself surfing the web for anything and without being able to pinpoint that day when it all started.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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