Track a loved one from your computer
Through a computer users can trace a mobile phone’s exact location
Parents can now keep tabs on their children thanks to a new mobile phone-tracking security device.
Founded by north London businessman Spencer Sharpe, itrack Protect enables you to view and track an individual's location and receive emergency text alerts if they are in danger. It is aimed at family members, carers and frequent travelers.
A similar system was established by Mr Sharpe for the corporate world - it is used by businesses and government agencies to track and protect employees across the world - but the 50 year-old father-of-two felt there was a need for a consumer version.
He says: "When my sons started going out and one started driving I would ask them to let me know when they arrived somewhere but sometimes they would forget. Now I receive a text alert. Many parents worry about their children and loved ones but recognise their need for independence. We want to allay any worries by showing exactly where their family members are and in times of trouble it can aid rescue."
Spencer Sharpe, itrack Protect
How does it work? Customers purchase the set-up CD Rom to load onto a PC/Mac. The location of registered mobile phones - only with the owner's consent - can then be viewed in real time on a detailed map.
Subscribers can also register a mobile phone so that it has the emergency alert function. This enables the phone user to discreetly raise an alarm if they are in danger by pressing a speed dial button, triggering a "red alert" message. This gets sent to multiple recipients who will be able to listen to what the phone can hear. In addition, subscribers can set 'location boundaries' and be notifed when a users' mobile goes out of the designated area - popular with carers.
The system is available on all smartphones and on 02, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile. It is being sold via Play.com and Virgin Atlantic.
Mr Sharpe runs KTI, an international mobile phone and communications company, which financed itrack Protect. He hopes to have close to 100,000 users within 12 months.
"We have had so many enquiries recently and I believe it will be adopted in a big way by families in the UK and overseas." Launches in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Romania, South Africa and the US are planned for January.
Is it not a bit creepy? "People can make what they want of it. It is not about stalking but peace of mind. If someone is in trouble you will know. We don't do anything underhand - it's not for finding out if your girlfriend is having an affair.
"So many muggings take place today and this is a way of tracking the person who has the stolen phone. We believe it could become a crime deterrent."
A former market trader selling clothes Mr Sharpe has more than 15 years experience in the mobile phone industry. "It happened by accident really. One of my market suppliers offered me some mobiles and I began selling them around the world. Things just kind of evolved."
He adds: "There is tremendous opportunity around mobile phones today and we will look to develop other applications." But not downloadable apps he points out. "That's a whole different world. We don't like to work with apps as they are not secure. You have to register with itrack Protect through a computer, not a phone. That way it can't be hacked."
The set-up CD Rom retails from £5.99 depending on the package. There is a corporate option for up to ten users at £59.99.