Published on July 5th, 2013 | by Maiwenn Regnault
Lost-And-Found Gets Crowdsourced With BlueBee, Bungee
Ever lost keys, wallet, bags, computer, camera…?
Well, sadly it happened to me more times than I would like to admit. And each time, I wished I had a way to get my stuffs back. Unfortunately, that never happened. But that could change with a new generation of lost-and-found services, like BlueBee and Bungee that tap the power of the ‘crowd’ to help find lost items. Let’s face it, the current crop of wireless tracking devices – like Bikn, Stick-N-Find or Zomm – are not really designed to find your lost items but to prevent separating from them, alerting you when they get out of range of a couple hundred feet.
The first crowdsourced lost-and-found service
BlueBee is a high-tech way to solve just that. It combines a small device (the BlueBee), a wireless tag the shape of a cassette tape, that clips onto anything you might loose, like your keys, bags, pets, etc. It then communicates with an app on your smartphone (iOS or Android) using Bluetooth 4.0. Just like previous electronic tags, if the lost object is within close range (50 meters/164 feet), it will show up on the map on the phone. The opposite scenario works too: if you have the BlueBee handy but can’t find your phone, just click on a button on the BlueBee and your smartphone will start ringing, even if it was set in vibrate mode.
All BlueBee owners are automatically enrolled in the Blue Crowd Network, helping each others find their lost stuffs.
BlueBee really shines when the tag and the smartphone are miles apart, which activates the crowdsourcing feature to find the lost item. Because every BlueBee owner is automatically part of the Blue Crowd Network, any member who happens to walk within range of a lost tag will send anonymously an alert with its GPS coordinate. “It’s like having thousands of moving radar looking for your lost items,” explains co-founder Artem Rodionov.
BlueBee is available for $25 on Indiegogo.com, a price that includes a lifetime subscription to the Blue Crowd Network, which normally sells for $15/year.
‘Mid-tech’ Bungee uses text messaging to connect you to the ‘finder’
Just stick Bungee on all your valuables and hope the finder texts the serial number on the tag
At the other end of the spectrum, New-York-based startup Bungee opted for a ‘mid-tech’ solution of the problem, combining printed tags asking the finder to text a unique identification number, that you would have linked to your phone number or email address.
“Bungee only works when the person who finds whatever it is that you’ve lost takes the right action,” admits co-founder Bryan Davis who tested the idea nationwide, and found out that Americans are honest.
I, too, believe in people’s honesty so I’ve already sticked Bungee on all my valuables, including my pair of sunglasses. Besides, to paraphrase Franck Sinatra, if you can make it work in New York, you can make it anywhere!
A 1-year subscription to Bungee‘s lost-and-found service costs $10, including 11 stickers, and $25 for the lifetime coverage.