The ANKR smart tag is just one of many of these small, traceable tags that you can attach to just about anything to get real-time information on its location using an app on your smartphone. Currently, the ANKR app is only available for iOS devices, but ANKR plans to release an Android app in early 2016. Here’s how it works. Attach the ANKR tag to any item you don’t want to lose, like your keys. Then, using the app on your smartphone, register the tag. Once added to your app, your phone will keep in constant communication with the tag via Bluetooth to make sure your keys are with you. If you go out of Bluetooth range without your keys, about 33 ft, your phone will alert you that you’ve left them behind.
The app has easy to follow prompts that take you through the tag setup in just a few minutes. You can even setup “safe zones” for your tags, which is basically a geofence or set radius from a central location, so that the app won’t alert you when you put your stuff down inside this zone, like when you’re at home but step outside for a moment. You can add as many ANKRs and safe zones as you want to the app. You can also check on each ANKR’s battery level. The coin cell battery inside lasts 6 months to a year, and it is replaceable.
There are a number of other tracker tags on the market like Tile, Trackr, and LassoTag to name a few. They each have their own unique features, but all of them rely on your smartphone being close in proximity to the tag to detect its location. The ANKR has an audible alarm on the tag itself so you can “ping” the item via the app if it’s misplaced but still in Bluetooth range of your phone. Once you’re separated from your tracker and out of Bluetooth range, however, it will only show you the last known location of the item. Other tag makers have solved this problem with a crowd GPS feature that lets other users of the app pick up your tag’s signal for lost items and send you its current location, but the feature is only as good as the number of people using the app. If you lose your phone, though, you’re out of luck, since the ANKR doesn’t work in reverse to help you locate your phone.
The ANKR tag is a nifty gadget for anyone who’s ever lost — well, anything. For less than $25, it’s definitely worth not leaving your laptop bag at your favorite café, and it’s available in-stores and online. Now, if you could only remember where you put your wallet…