Accessory beautifully unites form and function.
I had the pleasure of attending CES in Las Vegas, Nevada January 2016. I really enjoyed sampling the variety of technology and meeting the people from the various tech companies, talking to them, learning about their products and visions. I think one of my favorite parts of CES was learning about how the devices came to exist. At CES 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting the team from Wistiki, a 100% “MADE IN FRANCE” App based Tracker. In 2012, three French brothers came up with the idea of the Wistiki, after noticing a problem with finding lost things. They wanted a device initially to help them find their cat but instead developed a product capable of much more. The previous generation of trackers were better than nothing, but were flawed and had their issues and limitations. With the increased strength of phones and applications, the technology could do so much more. The three brothers turned to crowdfunding sources to make their idea a reality. The Wistiki now has 3 varieties of devices, differently shaped for different uses. There are a variety of colors, for personalization. Instead of having a dull looking gadget, they wanted this to be an accessory.
I have been given the Witiki Voila to review. One of the issues and limitations with the modern generation of app based trackers is range. The Wistiki has been able to expand its range to about 100 m (direct line of sight), but still, that does not help if you are further than 100 m (328 feet) away and unable to find a device. This is where Wistiki thought of an outside the box process approach. Their goal is to not necessarily help a single person find their lost device, but rather to create a networking system. When a device is marked as lost within the app, as other people with the app come close to your object, it will send a signal back to your device. This will then alert you to the location and improve your chances of finding the lost object. Their spokesperson Lisa Despeyroux even went as far as to say that they’re trying to build a lost and found community. I can even imagine a use inside of a children’s toy or backpack creating a defense shield for lost children. The Voilà device weighs an impressive .3 ounces and is roughly an amazing 8mm thick. They are made of aluminum with a clear plastic covering over a colored circuit board. There’s a single button in the middle of the device and instructions tell you to press that for three seconds to pair with your phone. Unfortunately simply pressing the button will not do as it is not haptic/touch sensitive. I had three failures to connect before I realized you really need to squeeze the device pretty firmly. Once you do that you will hear the jingle in the device. I was really impressed with the distance of the Bluetooth as it is much beyond the 10 m that I typically would see with other Bluetooth devices. There is a virtual tether feature also, where you can see if you are heading towards or away from your Voilà. Think of this as a digital Hot/Cold game.
Setting up the device was a title more frustrating than I would have liked. When I downloaded the app, entered my name and email, I received a home screen alert noting that the device was connected and to wait for an email. I waited 4 hours, repeated the process with the same email and with another email. Just after this four hours, I received the email. I could do nothing with the app, or the device until this step was completed. The email was required to allow me to set up the device. The next issue I had was pairing the device. As previously stated, the button is not simply a push button, you really need to squeeze hard until you hear the jingle. It will then ask you a few questions about using your location and notifications. You are now ready to use the device. I wish that there was a way that the button press would activate the app. If the app is closed and you lose your phone, the reverse process will not work.
The app will allow you to use up to 10 Wistiki devices attached. The app will record the GPS coordinates of the last time you were near your device. I discovered that the application has to be running to use the features. This was not readily evident and weakens the reverse jingle option if you happen to have closed the app. Thus, pressing the button does not immediately activate the app. The device has a three-year battery life, which is amazing. This is about three times longer than the Tile, a California-based competitor. Again, the strength of this device is not solely in the single dongle, but the community, as a whole.
I really like the look and feel of this device and would love to test the hoopla as well. My kids and I used the Voila and played find the dongle. I would hide it and they would walk around trying to find it. This became a fun game for us to play. The jingle could be a tad bit louder, but at 90 decibels, it is the loudest on the market. I really dig the stylish look and appreciate the range, getting just at 300 feet range. The device is water-resistant and rugged. The website reports a 50kg (110 lb) load resistance. You can share the device so that others can use the Wistiki. Until you choose to share, others cannot track your device. I have given the device a good week worth of testing. I tried using the tether feature, tried using the reverse jingle feature and the product works well. Imagine a device on your remotes, on your keys and one in your wallet. You will not be one of the reported statistics, searching for 60 minutes per day for lost things. Find one Wistiki, this will find your phone/tablet, then you can use that to find all of the 10 attached dongles.
I really feel that this network could work well for code ADAM and child watch scenarios and would not be surprised if the company looked into incorporating this technology into a child’s belt, watch shoe insert. With a 50KG weight limit, this could be used for most children embedded into the heel of their shoe. Track the GPS and with your phone, use the tether feature and the find option. I rate the device at 4/5 and am really pleased with the product, and the company website. The pricing may be a little high in comparison to some of the competitors, but I feel that the look/feel is more accessory than a gadget. It really does feel that you get what you pay for.
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