Blog: Developing a worldwide lost and found platform

PerdidoOnline, a Puerto Rico based startup came up with an idea to help the unfortunate among us who lose our belongings wherever we go. Our customer wanted to develop a locator and tracking solution to create a global virtual Lost and Found community. DB Best developed iOS and Android applications and a web platform introducing the customers to the service.

Finding lost property

Lost property offices are rapidly disappearing from hotels, stations, and other locations, yet people continue to lose or misplace things. On average, people spend 150 days of their life looking for keys, laptops, luggage, and many other items, and statistics show that one out of every three pets eventually gets lost. Luckily, technology can deliver smart and effective solutions for everyday troubles.

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PerdidoOnline’s idea was to utilize tags, emails, and notifications to build an application to help people find lost property and get it back. The app would need to work at any location and allow for locating of any item including kids and pets.

Notable idea

The customer envisioned an application that uses QR and NFC codes to mark the user’s belongings and that would allow owners to find them when lost. DB Best suggested a solution that allows Web, Android, and iOS across devices as those platforms often have slightly different functionality.

We came up with the concept of a mobile application that allows users to keep a list of items that could potentially be left somewhere by mistake. Users can link their property to special QR or NFC codes.

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When the user realizes they can’t find a specific item, they mark it as “lost” in their app to notify the POLTAGS service that the item is missing. Each “lost” post contains the photo of the item, its description, and a contact form. The finders scan the tag, go to the page with a lost item description where they can find the information to contact the owner. It’s as simple as that.

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The Web application serves as a portal where users can look through lost and found items or report finding someone’s property. The Web version also acts as a promo for new visitors, giving them a quick service overview. For better convenience, the application supports English, Portuguese, and Spanish versions.

Technical background

The technical solution proved to be scalable and practical. The POLTAGS application utilizes a broad range of Amazon Web Services and DB Best leveraged Amazon S3 for data storage. We also leveraged Amazon RDS to organize the databases. We then built the application back end on the Amazon EC2 virtual machines and our team utilized QR and NFC tags to save users from the complexity of dealing with affixing sensors or engraving email addresses on tags. Finally, we leveraged QR and NFC scan technologies so when adding or finding items in the database, users can just scan tags.

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POLTAGS differentiates itself from the competition with a convenient workflow that prevents users from overthinking or making extra moves. To make that possible, DB Best utilized Dynamic Linking to allow people to return lost property to the owners even if they don’t have the POLTAGS app installed on their phones. Scanning a tag linked to a lost item redirects users to the store where they can download the application. Users who have the app installed go directly to the page declaring the loss. We utilized Google Places and Google Static Maps to show the location of the lost items. We also leveraged Amazon SNS to allow for notifying to owners that their property has been found.

Altogether, our efforts resulted in a worldwide Lost and Found platform that is handy and easy to understand.

This project stands out for being absolutely tight-knit. POLTAGS development was about software and hardware at the same time. We thought it out well to make really convenient for users. I’m excited about building the POLTAGS platform and being a part of this project.

Emil Dzhafarov, Android developer at DB Best Technologies

Customer’s benefit

DB Best has extensive experience creating many diverse applications. POLTAGS continues the trend in the creation of our mobile apps such as Tag-A-Bag and a peer-to-peer car rental app. What is different is the application magnitude. Initially, our customer had the idea to create something grand. We started with a powerful app that promises to grow into a platform to help people around the world coordinate in finding their property and in helping secure their kids and elderly family members.

We believe our apps speak for themselves. However, we also enjoy it when our customers tell us about their experiences and opinions. Thus, we are happy to add our customers’ feedback to this blog post.

 

I am writing to recommend DB Best Technologies services for developing and collaborating on your future application and website development.

DB Best team members are highly skilled web and app architects and developers, with a positive, energetic attitude and an excellent work ethic. The team’s dedication and high-quality work had a significant impact both on the quality and the cost-effectiveness or our platform.

David Tirado, CEO and the founder of POLTAGS by PerdidoOnline.com

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