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Snaile mailbox sensor sends you a text when you’ve got mail

SnaileHave 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.

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  1. The inventor sure put a lot of time into this!
    But by calling your product Snaile for snail mail is insulting for the 70 thousand folks that work hard everyday to deliver the mail.
    It looks like your Snaile only will work if you have permission from Canada Post as they own the boxes, not your customers.
    Snails could be used by thieves to monitor when a community mail box was just serviced.
    What happens if I only want to be alerted for my letter mail or small parcels and my letter carrier puts a carpet cleaning flyer in the compartment. Does Snaile know the difference?
    What happens when snail’s batteries need charging?
    What happens if Snaile catches on fire inside the community mailbox?
    seriously, stop laughing, I’m trying to be serious here…

  2. Thank you WebsterWorks for your comments.

    We want to start by saying that we truly do not intend on insulting anyone; for those that are insulted we sincerely apologize. We can only offer our rationale as an explanation for why we chose the name, Snaile. The company name was selected with the goal of creating an association between our product/service offering and the delivery of mail. Two well respected dictionaries have “snail mail” listed with a definition which lead us to believe the term is commonly accepted, see


    The goal is to have “Snaile” become a genericized trademark: having mail notified by our service would come to be known as “Snaile” the way Kleenex, Google or Jacuzzi all work.

    I will attempt to answer your other questions with the information I have readily available, or that I am able to share at this time.

    Snaile prompts the owner of the box to get their mail so it sits for less time in the box and therefore limits the opportunity of theft. Thieves could not use Snaile to monitor community mailboxes. Snaile is physically delivered to the owner of the community mailbox (check and balances in place), the owner must then insert Snaile into their box (only one Snaile device is available per box so a thief could not buy a bunch of Snaile devices, for example.) Snaile sends a message to a respected 3rd party company in the cloud, just like an ATM in a store or parking meter. This message has no information about the location of Snaile, or the owner of the box, or the box itself. Snaile is also provisioned under its pending patent to detect unauthorized box entry and we have an alarm monitoring partner set up for this feature should we roll it out.

    You can have the carpet cleaning flyer stopped by Canada Post by following these steps published by Canada Post

    Snaile runs up to one year on disposal batteries, no need to charge.

    Hope this helps answer some of your concerns.

  3. I’m just saying Patrick that when you choose to create a product that is 100% relying on the approval of the mothership, pick a product name that’s complimentary.

    It’s kind of like creating a new automobile oil product and calling it “Pollutee” or maybe its a fast-food chicken stand on Bay Street called “Salmonella’s Chicken”.

    You want to start off on a positive note like “Get-It-faster” or “Super-Service” or something like that. You want to inspire your customers with a name that has a positive message.

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