Distributor, eXeed, has introduced a new product that tracks stolen computers thereby assistng resellers in adding value to and safeguarding the mobile solutions they are selling.
National sales manager for eXeed, Rick Phelps, said the Computrax solution was a "simple, effective and inexpensive" way to counter an alarming increase in the incidence of notebook theft.
Phelps said that this theft protection product was just one component of eXeed's new concerted effort to move into the mobility and messaging solutions space.
Although applicable to all types of computer hardware, the Computrax tracking system is best suited to notebook PCs which are a highly sought after target of thieves.
According to Victorian Police crime statistics, 57,000 computers were stolen in that state alone during 2002, a figure that is estimated to rise to 80,000 for 2003. Unfortunately, "97 per cent of all stolen computers are never recovered", according to Phelps.
"Computer theft has been growing at more than 30 per cent per year," Phelps said. "Most users clearly underestimate the cost of having their notebook stolen. When you look at replacing the hardware, the down time that people have, the value of lost data and then the time that it takes to rebuild that lost IP, you are probably looking at a cost of about $25,000-$30,000 all up for a stolen notebook.
"Users are clearly looking for solutions that help keep their notebooks and the data stored on them secure. The Computrax solution can be loaded onto a notebook as it is sold or retrospectively and resellers make 20-plus points on the sale. It is a great value-add for dealers to include in their mobile solutions."
"Corporate customers are the ones who are hardest hit by computer theft. They potentially have the most to lose and Computrax will be available to them with volume discounts."
Phelps also said that insurance companies were responding favourably to the product.
He said they were assessing the product with a view to potentially recommending it to corporate customers insuring notebooks.
Head of fraud and security risk at insurance giant IAG, Nola Watson, said that while data specifically relating to notebook theft was not available "clearly it is an area of concern" for insurance underwriters.
"We are definitely experiencing an increase in laptop theft claims in both domestic and business customers," Watson said. "People are just walking into high-rise buildings and walking out with laptops so this is forcing a whole rethink of security. There is a ready market for this sort of tracking product."
Computrax is an unseen and undetectable solution designed to track, locate and recover computers once they are stolen.
IT security company, Trakkar International, monitors computers with the solution in place. Software code is loaded onto the hard drive and etched into the BIOS to ensure that it cannot be erased.
"Once a laptop is reported stolen, Trakkar International's control room puts in place procedures to track and gain location details which are passed onto local law enforcement agencies," Phelps said. "As soon as the PC or notebook is next connected to the Web, it is tracked to an IP address and the authorities are notified.
"With this information, police are well on the way to recovering the stolen property."
Computrax is an Australian-owned and developed solution that has a patent pending. The product is only available through IT distribution channels and retails for $79.99 per licence.