Lost Something? Good Samaritan App Hits Retail
Have you ever lost a smartphone, wallet, credit card or pet hoping that a Good Samaritan would return it back to you? FinderCodes, a lost-and-found mobile app kit recently announced Office Depot as its first retail partner. The solution will increase the odds of getting back what you lost - because it’s easy to do. How many things get lost every year? Over 30 million mobile phones, 10 million pets, and nearly 2 million pieces of luggage were reported lost in 2011. I recently interviewed Blake Sohn, Founder and President of FinderCodes LLC, to ask him more about why and how he wanted to bring the lost-and-found process to the digital age. With AT&T as a premier partner and a Made in the USA product, FinderCodes is a 2013 International CES Honoree and is blazing a trail by making QR code-based asset tracking a mainstream mobile application.
Technorati (Ed): What was the “Aha” moment that sparked you to create the mobile app? Blake Sohn: I was in transition between homes and temporarily living in my sister’s house. While raking leaves, my dog, Emma, saw a squirrel and started chasing after it until I could no longer see her. So I thought to myself “I’m not going to get the dog back.” Although Emma had dog tags, they still had my old address. Yet I was one of the lucky ones because an hour later I noticed a person driving by while looking for the owner and my dog was peeking through the car window. So I flagged him down and all was well. Yet I also immediately thought maybe I could invent a better way (for tracking lost and found).”
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How did you start? I spent nearly 30 years with consumer goods companies like General Mills and had a partner, John Valiton, whom I knew and trusted to join me in this effort to develop a system that would use QR codes. We were very familiar with the ways advertising and Madison Avenue used QR codes and thought there could be a more altruistic way to use them for tracking assets. So we sought to bring QR codes back to the people and make a mainstream product that was easy to use. With the help of a third partner, John Altenbernd, an IT expert, we launched a patent pending product that blends QR codes, smartphones, the Internet and durable identification tags.