Ever misplaced your keys? Or wanted to know when your luggage has arrived at the baggage claim? Maybe marked the spot where you parked the car in the mall lot?
The Elgato Smart Key aims to address all of these situations as a sensor that you either attach or place on different items for tracking. Depending on what you are looking to track, the Smart Key can notify you of certain situations that might need attention. Walk too far away from your keys, it will start to beep. Attach to your luggage and when it comes near to you at baggage claim, your phone will notify you.
Now Elgato isn’t the first company to offer such a product. Kensington has their Proximo set of trackers that work similarly. Whereas Kensington has duo trackers based on price/features, Elgato has just one model that includes all features of the Proximo series at $39. There’s also the newly released Tile that has a similar set of features, but a non-replaceable battery.
The Smart Key puck itself is fairly simple. A little taller and wider than a four quarters stacked together, the Smart Key includes a single function button, a ring to attach to different items, and a replaceable battery cover on the back. The key even has a small speaker that beeps depending on the tracking activity. Elgato also just released a newer version (1.1.1) which improves battery life and is said to last up to a year before needing to be replaced. When you do need to replace the battery, it takes the standard CR2032 battery.
When you first open the Smart Key app (iOS), you are asked to pair a new key. This is as simple as pressing the button on the key as the app searches for it. The Smart Key utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BTLE) to create a pairing between your iPhone and the key. The range for connection is around 10 meters (30 feet). As you pass in and out of this range, the Smart Key will react based the activity you have created for it.
The app has the following activities built in with a summary of each:
- Keychain – Attach the Smart Key to your keychain. Whenever you are out of range of your keys, the Smart Key will beep and you will also receive a notification on your phone. You can also use the app to ping the Smart Key so that the audible alert goes off.
- Car – Keep track of where you parked. As you leave the range of the tracker, it will mark your location in the app so you can then find your car later.
- Camera, Handbag – Similar to keychain, you can receive alerts if you camera or bag are out of range.
- Luggage – When you luggage comes into range, your phone will receive a notification.
- Custom – Outside of these built in activities, the Smart Key app also allows you to create custom situations as well.
The app also allows you to set Safe Zones. When you are within these locations, the notifications will not occur. This is useful say when you are using the Handbag situation at home. You really don’t want the alert going off if you take your phone upstairs out of range and then have the key beeping all night.
Overall, the Smart Key app is very simple to use and customize. You have the ability to add multiple keys to the app so you can track multiple activities. I tested the Smart Key for my car/house keys, and also used it to peg my location as I moved around. Definitely came in handy as I wandered around the airport parking garage after a week away. Dave also suggested tracking our cats, but the wife gave me the look while I trying to chase one of them around for the experiment. :-) There is no reason why you couldn’t use it to track a pet. In the custom action, you can even upload a picture of what you are tracking.
The Elgato Smart Key provides a very convenient way to keep track of important things in your life. The product is just part of a growing number of sensors being launched by companies these days. Seeing these products is very welcome as our mobile phones become the digital center for all our activities. The ability to extend a phone’s functionality will only get better over time!