If you don't already know what iFoundThis does, we produce coded tags that can be used to track items and recover them if you lose them. Unlike other product tracking systems, ours isn't a tracking system in the conventional sense of the word because the tags themselves don't track anything. They are 'passive' items that utilise other processes, relying on people feeding information into our system to provide the 'tracking' element.
We also assist with recovering items that have been tracked by providing various recovery options depending on the preferences of both the finder and owner.
Conventional, a wallet tracker, phone tracker of key finder use radio signals; either Bluetooth, GPS or similar - to provide the location of a tracking device. An electronic tracking device is usually a small box that is attached to your phone, wallet, keys or any other item. Tracking devices like these require power to keep them going and they give off radio waves of various frequencies. That means the device needs to derive its power from somewhere - it either needs batteries or it needs to be charged regularly. The devices will emit radio signals of some sort that some people are concerned could have a biological effect on living organisms near them, including a risk to human health. These devices require a lot of resources to manufacture them. Electronic products in general have several components within them that are made up of various rare and complex materials. The processes involved in the manufacture of electronic components and assemblies are complicated and consume various chemicals as well as a lot of energy.
There are numerous tracking systems available each with their advantages and disadvantages. In general, electronic tracking systems work by sending a signal to a device - like a phone or PC - or feed information to a web-based service, about their location. This allows the owner to 'locate' the item using a map to guide them. More sophisticated tracking systems like those built into smartphones can also control how the phone functions remotely.
A wallet tracker will typically house a small radio transmitter and battery in a relatively slim credit card sized package that you can slip into your wallet. A phone tracker can come in various forms but it is typically a relatively small square or rectangle that is 'glued' on to the phone itself - that's assuming the phone doesn't already have a built in tracker. A conventional key finder can also come in various forms. Some key finders do not emit radio signals and instead rely on sound to locate them. Other key finders use a key-fob that is attached to a key ring. The key-fob contains a radio transmitter and batteries.
Our tags and labels don't use any electronics at all. Relatively speaking, our carbon footprint is very low in comparison to other tracking systems. We also utilise a natural energy source - people. The recovery element of our service relies on people to relay information to us. If you lose something that's tagged, the finder reports it to us through our web-service so that we can notify you.
One of the unique elements of our service is that in most situations, it doesn't require you to 'locate' the item yourself using a map. Instead, the finder can post the item (where it is practical to do so) to you or to us, depending on what the item is. This means, if you were to lose your wallet in Manchester, and were back in London, you wouldn't have to travel all the way back to Manchester to collect it. Utilising services that already exist, like the postal service and courier companies, helps to ensure we minimise our carbon footprint. If you had an electronic tracking device in this instance, you would have to find some way of getting to Manchester to collect your item, and that's assuming the tracking device would operate from such a distance and still be operational. In most cases, it wouldn't.
Our key finder tracking system works like this: Let's say you drop a set of keys in a park somewhere... When you realise your keys are missing, you have no idea where you could have dropped them. Someone else discovers your keys and notices the key-ring tag attached to them. They follow the instructions on the tag and report your item. The finder is happy for you to contact them directly so the system immediately sends you a notification that your keys have been found. You sign in to your account on your smartphone and pay the small recovery fee. We text you the details of the finder and you make arrangements with them to collect the keys from them. If you were several miles away from the finder, you could choose the postal option recovery instead, paying the postal charges on behalf of the finder and saving you an arduous journey back. Whilst an electronic key tagging system would allow you to locate your keys in the park, you would have to be the vicinity before the tag lost power. And there would be a risk that someone else would find your keys, pick them up and take them to a lost property office which would complicate things for you.
Similarly, our wallet tracker would use one of our stick-on labels with your personal tracking code displayed on it instead of a key-ring. The same process would apply as it would for finding your keys. Our stick-on labels are completely weather-proof.
Our stick-on labels come in various sizes so you can stick them pretty much anywhere. A coded label that's attached to your phone can be used as a phone tracker. If you drop your phone somewhere and the phones electronic tracking system fails or it runs out of batteries, our coded label will still remain there to assist your phones safe return.
Electronic tagging systems clearly have their advantages but they are limited. If you are concerned about your carbon footprint and the environment, then you should steer clear of electronic tags. However, if helping the environment is low on your priority list and you're the sort of person who drops their keys under the sofa or the in car frequently, then electronic tags could be of great benefit to you. If you rarely lose anything of value but want some protection 'just in case' - as there's always a first - then our non-electronic tags would be of great benefit to you. And we haven't mentioned the cost as a comparison. Electronic tracking tags can cost anywhere from £10 each to over £100. That's to protect one item. Our stick-on label sheets start from £5.99 and one sheet can protect up to 54 items.
Here's a thought too... you could always combine both an electronic tagging system and our non-electronic tags to ensure you've got all bases covered. The two systems can work side by side as neither one affects the other.
We produce non-electronic tracking tags for pretty much any item including phones, wallets, keys, bags and clothes. Never lose anything again - take a look at our shop!
Written by Andrew Simeou
20th Nov 2019
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