PCs phone home

A Perth-based electrical contractor has pulled off quite a coup by signing on as master distributor for US-developed software that secures the location of stolen computers.

The contractor, Greg Mizza, has started a new company, PCPhoneHome (Australia), to distribute the software exclusively throughout Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and several other Pacific nations.

The software, developed by Brigaddon Software in New York, is used for asset tracking and the recovery of stolen computers. The undetectable software hides within the PC or notebook and communicates its location to a monitoring station every time the computer is turned on. As such, the location of a stolen notebook can be forwarded to the relevant authorities to track down the thieves and recover the machine. The software can also be used internally within companies to track IT assets as they are moved around the company.

Stolen computers have plagued companies and government agencies in Australia in recent times. ALP Senator Kate Lundy recently released a report which noted that 514 laptop computers were stolen from government agencies in 2001. Similarly, Telstra reported 170 laptops misplaced and 187 stolen last year.

With a retail version of the product starting at around $140, Mizza is keen to appoint sub-distributors on the East Coast to help push the software into the market.

Mizza originally planned to begin distributing through retail channels, but enterprise and government demand for the product led him to reconsider the initial target market and approach larger businesses through the channel.