We spend a lot of our time around electronics, right from our mobile phones, e readers, electronic alarms, laptops, computers, fridges ,TVs, in short we surround and interact with a lot of electronic systems around us daily and because of that, we tend to invest a lot of money into getting the best we can afford. But there is a downside. All these things are easily stolen. You can look way from your laptop for one second and the next thing it’s gone. You might wake up one morning and find your TV stand very empty. What do you do then?
There are a number of ways employed to track your electronics, especially mobile phones and laptops mostly using software, but if you have thieves who are cleverer than you, with a simple override, that computer or phone will be good as new without any evidence of your existence. My friend, that’s where things get a little bit tough. But probably, this startup has a better solution for you.
For Nercorp, it’s all about hardware.
Given the many inconsistencies and vulnerabilities of employing software tracking solutions, Nerdcorp is here to prove that hardware tracking is the way by creating a product, the first of its kind around the world to offer you a more reliable way of tracking your electronics. They call this piece of hardware, the Matrix Blackbox. That is a heavily loaded name for many reasons i’d care not get into right now (hopefully you are thinking what I’m thinking, which would be super cool!)
Now this is a pretty nifty piece of tech that to the untrained eye (read me) looks like a slab of green card with silver dots all around it. It is a credit card sized chip that can help you track your laptop or any other electronic systems (still too big to fit in mobile phones) via SMS and other cool features using the SIM card that is inserted
To find out the location of your machine, you can first text gps to the SIM card installed on the tracker. The chip will then send you its coordinates, bearing, speed if it’s on the move, its accuracy radius and a google maps link to its surrounding area.
Once you have a general idea of the area it is located, you can also employ another method to better fine tune your search. Once you text listen to the tracker, it will call you back allowing you to listen to the conversations around the machine or distinctive noises around it, like train tracks or bells. You might also get the chance to listen to what the thieves are saying and they may leave a clue on their whereabouts. If you can identify sounds correctly, then this is one specialized way of finding your machine.
Let’s say your search has moved you from a general radius, to a specific building near some train tracks, you can now further fine tune your search using Wi-Fi. Once you text wifi on to the SIM card, you can create a Wi-Fi hotspot. The stronger your signal gets, the closer you are to your laptop. This can come very handy as the last point of searching because of the small range of a Wi-Fi Hotspot.
To say the least, this is very impressive from the get go. However, you do not have to wait for your computer to be stolen before you leverage on any of the above features. You can use the SIM card to receive calls and use your Bluetooth headset. If you’re strapped for internet, you can use your laptop to create a Wi-Fi hotspot to use with your friends
The tracker is placed inside your machine, in an area that a thief will really have to work hard to remove it, and many may not have the time to do it, or even know it exists. Also, seeing that even if the software was flashed and overwritten, the hardware still remains the same. You will be able to track your laptop even if its shipped off to another country. It also comes with its own battery pack that it switches to once you switch off your laptop, ensuring that it is still reachable regardless if your computer has power or not.
I have the tracker installed, and I will be using it for a little while to test out all this features and their viability in finding your laptop. I wouldn’t want my machine to be stolen for the purpose of this review, however I can fake a staged robbery and see if I can find it.
It’s already on sale going for a one off price of Kshs 10,000 that includes installation. They will come install it for you and if you don’t want to see your machine open apart, its best to step out of the room.
With a number of interesting buyers, like universities, already rolling out pilots of the product to keep track of the laptops they give to students, It is obvious that there is a market for this product.