Nestled in a repurposed textiles mill in Shipley, Keycare is using cutting edge tech to solve one of life’s most frustrating problems – losing your keys!
It’s easy to assume that all the UK’s big tech innovations come from London. And if not there, surely a big city like Leeds, Liverpool or Manchester? Yet this one comes from Shipley, a little Yorkshire town of just over 15,000 people. It’s here, in the middle of the glorious Yorkshire countryside, that Keycare came up with the idea for their new SmartFob – and you’re going to wonder how you ever lived without it.
Putting smart tech into a key fob
Keycare was founded by local Yorkshire lad Geoff Parker in 1977. He saw an opportunity to help reunite people with their keys using a simple key fob and turned the idea into a business. 43 years later, Keycare is an FCA-regulated insurer with over 2.4 million customers across the UK and Ireland. They partner with some of the biggest names in the business to help customers recover their keys and offer a comprehensive assistance and replacement service, in case they can’t be found.
But what does all this have to do with technology? Well, they’ve taken their mission to reunite you with your keys one step further by developing a new SmartFob to help you find them. It’s tiny at just 3cm squared and powered by a Bluetooth 5 chip. As you probably know, Bluetooth only has a limited range. When you move out of that range, the signal is interrupted and that’s the key to the SmartFob. It syncs with the mobile app and records those interruptions, so you can track when and where your keys were last seen.
If you’re within range, you can actually call your keys. That’s right, the SmartFob has it’s own ringtone and it’s loud, so whether you’ve lost them down the side of the sofa or left them in the upstairs bedroom, you won’t have any trouble finding them. And it works in reverse too. If you’ve lost your phone, there’s a button on the SmartFob that automatically calls it. And don’t worry if you’ve got your phone on silent, the SmartFob automatically overrides the phone’s settings to help you find it. No more will you have to endure the futile search for your phone, getting angrier and angrier with every fruitless throw pillow.
As always though, prevention is better than a cure, so the SmartFob also has the ability to tell you when you’ve left your keys behind. You can set up an alarm to go off when your phone moves out of range, so if you have a habit of leaving your keys at the office or dropping them on the train, you’ll know before you go too far. You can turn the alarm on and off at will – or if you’d prefer, set it for the times when you’re most likely to leave your phone behind.
Leading the InsureTech charge
FinTech has become the buzzword of the tech industry, but InsureTech is the next big thing and Keycare is leading the way. They’re using the Internet of Things to connect your devices, in the same way you control your heating from afar or check your video cameras on the go, but it’s more than that, because the SmartFob gives you all the support of Keycare, for a whole year, for just £48.
That means, even if you do lose your keys, you’ve got a really good chance of getting them back because the person who finds them knows exactly what to do and there’s a little something in it for them. As a result, Keycare recover 33% of lost keys – and in the process, they raise up to £2,000 a month for local Yorkshire charities, because most of the good samaritans who contact them don’t want a reward, they just want to help, so they give their £10 to charity. Meanwhile, you get your keys back – and if you don’t, they’ll help you find a trusted, reliable locksmith from their nationwide network.
Wait, it gets better. Your SmartFob includes up to £1,500 cover for lost and stolen keys, replacement locks and any call-out charges, as well as up to £1,500 cover for locksmith charges if you lock yourself out of your home or vehicle. So not only will they help you find a locksmith, they’ll also help pay for it, with no excess, so you won’t be out of pocket. They can reprogramme cars at the side of the road or make you a new key for your home. Plus, you’ll get onward transportation up to £100 and car hire up to £50 for a maximum of three days, helping you to carry on without your keys.
SmartFob feels like a natural extension of the KeyCare product range, it’s the little piece of tech you never knew you needed, but soon won’t be able to live without, and after 18 months in development, it’s now live. They’ll continue to refine and improve it, but because updates are automatic, early adopters won’t miss out. And who knows what will come next? Their team is already thinking about other applications for the technology, so there are even more exciting things to come from this little Yorkshire powerhouse.