May 14 to 17 2020
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Find Property Lost on Public Transport with Sherlook

inOut accredited experiments allow companies to test new developments as part of the event, and while highly technical projects remain the domain of tech startups, our call for projects also focuses on innovation in use, as in the case of the solution proposed by the Rennes-based company Sherlook.

From a lost comforter to a new company

The startup offers a simple service that puts people who have lost an item of property in touch with others who have found it. “I came up with the idea of Sherlook after losing my daughter’s comforter, and I realised that people in France lose at least 12 million items every year,” Fabrice Touba, a co-founder of the company, told us. On the Sherlook site, any kind soul who has found an item, and unlucky souls who have lost an item can post a free advert containing basic details such as a description, a photo, the date and the place where it was found or lost. In addition to its site for the general public, Sherlook also has a ‘pro’ service for institutions and events that are open to the public, as well as for in-house use by companies.

A solution already tried and tested in areas other than transport

Full-scale trials have already been carried out, in particular at festivals. At the King Arthur event (in Bréal-sous-Montfort in the Ille-et-Vilaine department), 850 lost items were returned to their owners using Sherlook. Half were returned to their owners during the event and another 400 in the days just after. Beyond a return rate much higher than standard lost property services, both public and private, Sherlook is above all about a paradigm shift for event organisers and companies acquiring this solution. Previously, found items would simply be left at the lost property office, without any specific advertising or any particular consideration so in this respect, as in the case of shopping centres already using Sherlook, there really is a new customer service taking shape. By making returning lost property easier, the idea is indeed to increase brand affinity with users/clients. Such a paradigm shift is valid for the transport sector, particularly public transport, where people are wont to lose things. According to Fabrice Touba, very little attention is paid to items found on public transport: “Generally, they’re taken back to the depot where they’re left until someone happens to claim them.”

sherlook, screenshot of the website

A Rennes-based company selected for an inOut accredited experiment

It’s this new customer service within the mobility sector that Sherlook will soon be testing as part of inOut experiments with Keolis Rennes and Rennes Métropole. The aim is to adapt the existing platform for use by a public transport network at urban area level. Users will be able to submit details of the bus or metro line on which an item was lost or found, along with the nearest stop. The main challenge in getting people to use a tool like this is publicising it, so it can be made to work thanks to a large user community. The increase in the rate of items returned compared to the present rate will, of course, be one of the factors taken into consideration during the evaluation. “We don’t yet have the current network numbers,” he mentioned casually. The company will be present at inOut 2020 to present the initial results to professionals and the general public.

The service is available online with adverts posted by users and certain corporate clients who are able to increase the reach of the posts on their platform two-fold by using the Sherlook portal, as in the case of the Saint-Grégoire shopping centre in Rennes for instance.

sherlook, screenshot of the website

Publié le 14 February 2020

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From 14 to 17 May 2020, meet us in Rennes to explore the new mobility solutions.