Have you got mail?
For Canadians who still have residential delivery, it’s merely a matter of peeking into the mailbox on their doorstep.
But for the 73% of Canadians who have their mail delivered to community mailboxes, not knowing whether to bother making the trip constitutes a major inconvenience.
Snaile Inc., of Huntsville, Ontario, has developed a patent-pending sensor technology that detects the presence of a physical object in a mailbox and then alerts users that they’ve got mail.
“We thought this would be a good service in the Internet of Things space to help return some convenience to the 27% of Canadians who could suddenly lose a service that was always taken for granted, should the community mailbox moratorium announced by Canada Post on October 26th 2015 be ultimately lifted,” said Snaile CEO Patrick Armstrong. “In the meantime we will provide our service to the majority of Canadians who do not have door-to-door delivery.”
Snaile conducted a third-party survey of 400 Canadians who receive community mailbox service, which found that 43% of them were interested in a technology like Snaile, while 10% of them answered “Maybe”. The survey has a 96% statistical confidence level.
And with a Facebook page that only launched on October 25, the company has seen good social media uptake, given that community mailboxes are a hot-button issue for Canadians right now.
Aside from eliminating pointless car trips accompanied by idling vehicles standing by while a person checks their mailbox, the technology should also be a help to people with mobility issues.
The Canadian Union of Postal workers prepared a paper recently that asserts, among other findings, that Canadians frequently drive to their community mailbox and then idle their engine while they check their mailbox, an unquantified environmental problem that would be eliminated if people only traveled when they knew they had mail.
Although Canada Post had planned to almost entirely eliminate home delivery by 2018, there’s a good chance that those decisions are being reversed under the current government. Even so, Canadians who don’t live in urban cores are certainly likely to remain affected by the inconvenience of traveling to get their mail.
The Snaile is available in two sizes, large and small, both of which are tailored to currently existing Canada Post boxes.
But the larger opportunity, pending success in Canada, rests in the United States, where legislators are discussing following Canada Post’s example in cutting costs for their postal service.
If and when that happens, Snaile claims to have a modular system in the works that will adapt to American mailboxes.
Snaile is currently available for pre-sale and is scheduled to officially launch in January.