If you’re someone who often finds themselves trying to find keys, wallets, and other easy to misplace possessions, then you’re in luck (assuming you own an iPhone).
After months of rumours Apple has finally launched their long-awaited Airtags. The product was announced at the Spring-loaded event on April the 20th with orders being filled from April the 30th.
What are they?
Airtags are small, plastic discs that you attach to anything you can’t bear to live without and they provide you with a location of the item via your iPhone. They cost around £29 (discounts on bulk buys) and can even be engraved with your choice of a four-letter word or emoji.
How do they work?
When you get your AirTag you first need to register it on your phone via the Find My app. Then you attach it to your keys or wallet. When you inevitably lose your possessions you log onto the app and set it as ‘lost’. Now any Apple devices in the vicinity will try to pick up Bluetooth signals emitted by the Airtag. If they successfully pick up the signal then they anonymously send you the location. Each Airtag has a range of around 100m and lasts for around one year on a full charge.
AirTags can also be used by any good Samaritan who might find them, including Android users. All they need to do is use their NFC reader to access your contact details, (assuming you have added them). They can then contact you to return your long-lost possession.
If you own an iPhone 11 or 12 then you can also take advantage of a specialist feature called precision finding using Apple’s U1 chip. This provides an arrow to point you in the right direction along with the distance in feet. For more information about precision finding check out Pocket-lints helpful guide.
They also have handy inbuilt speakers which beep on command. This should give you a helping hand if they’re obscured from view i.e down the back of the sofa.
How does it compare?
It’s important to note that AirTags themselves are not a revolutionary invention. As long as people have been losing things in the digital age there have been devices to get belongings home. Organisations like Uvotag and Tile have been offering similar products for years.
What Apple offers here is an incredibly easy-to-use solution for your property. The existence of the Apple ecosystem makes this a plug-and-play product for iPhone users with minimum fuss.
The jewel in the crown however is how it can use other apple devices to send you the location of the Airtag. This means that courtesy of the sheer volume of iPhones floating around, you’re always in with a good shout of finding your ‘Airtagged’ wallet.
It’s a nice addition to the ever-growing arsenal of Apple products and it will be fascinating to see if they build on it in the future.
What does it mean for lost property?
As well as the product itself we’re seeing the most valuable company in the world dip its toe into the murky world of lost property. It’s exciting times for a relatively new industry and one that’s certainly finding its feet.
Whether or not Apple’s involvement will lead to innovations in the field will need to be seen. What we hope to see is companies taking notice of lost property as a difficult problem, with simple tech solutions.
What NotLost offers
Not to say we beat Apple to it, but here at NotLost we have been helping clients get their customers’ property home since 2017.
Using our tailor-made platform, when your staff finds a missing item they can log it on the spot. All they need is to do is upload an image with a brief description and it’s registered on our secure database.
Now, when a customer gets in touch they can be directed to a self-service portal. From there they enter a description of the missing item and our image matching software provides options for them. They select the right one and choose whether they want to collect it or have it posted to them.
A better process
What you have here is a process that is seamless as it provides a digital experience for both the customer and your staff. This ensures that the issue is resolved as quickly as possible, saving time and effort for both parties.
Many companies do not see lost property as a key part of the customer experience. The truth is if a customer is frustrated by the processes you have, they will remember it.
The adaptability of NotLosts software means it can be used across a variety of locations. From improving lost property processes at universities to providing visibility across large transport networks.
As the world begins to take notice of lost property as a service, it’s vital you provide the experience your customers will begin to expect of you.