A practical use case for AirFinder is to track keys at auto dealerships.
Believe it or not, this can be a big problem for dealers of all sizes. The disruption from a lost key can create huge headaches, whether it be in sales or service areas. Our company helped an auto dealer in Indiana with this problem.
A few of the common problems with lost car keys at dealerships are:
- High replacement cost. A new set of keys for most new cars today can run from $200-700.
- Time needed for replacement. In most cases, because new keys have to be ordered directly from the manufacturer, it can take 1-2 weeks to receive a new key.
- Unable to sell a vehicle. Imagine a customer finding the perfect car, only to find out that they can’t take a test drive because the key can’t be found. This can turn a customer off and result in them taking their business elsewhere.
- Unhappy customers. Service or sales customers who are faced with a car that can’t been driven home because of a lost key are less likely to return.
- Theft. Unfortunately, a missing key could be an indicator of an impending vehicle theft.
There are two technology approaches to solving the key tracking problem.
Key Management Drawer Systems
Systems like KeyTrak’s drawer solution create an audit trail when a key is “checked out” from the drawer. That way, if a key goes missing, the culprit may be easier to find.
The advantages of this type of system is that it prevents unauthorized personnel from taking keys, but it does not give a location or area for a key that is missing. Just because “Joe” checked out the key doesn’t mean that “Joe” remembers which car he was in when the key fell out of his pocket, or who he may have handed a key off to for servicing.
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Key Tracking
By affixing a small Bluetooth Low Energy tag to each key, the location of the key can be continuously monitored throughout the dealership. Inexpensive AirFinder “Reference Points” are affixed around the dealership in locations where keys are likely to be. These Reference Points enable accuracy of up to 2 meters. Alerts are available so dealership staff can receive a notification on their phone if the keys depart the property.
In addition to the high level of accuracy, the light hardware infrastructure and ongoing data efficiency mean AirFinder is significantly less costly than similar tracking solutions.
The installation of the AirFinder key management system is simple. A central “gateway” device is installed on site, and it is connected to the internet either via Ethernet, Wifi, or cellular data. This device collects data from the key-tags and sends that location data to the cloud and user-interface. Small “Access Points” serve as intermediary transmitters of Bluetooth signals from various zones of the dealership to the gateway.
The Access Points are small plug-in or beacon devices that are easy to locate in out-of-the-way places. Outside, readers can be installed on light posts or in existing landscaped areas.
Key locations can then be accessed at any time from the AirFinder web dashboard or the mobile app. Anyone on staff can immediately find any key that’s needed.