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Monday, April 24, 2006

Now an esniffer to track lost mobiles

Now, an e-sniffer to track lost mobiles

By Nazia Vasi/TNN
(TOI/12th April2006/pg1)

Mumbai: If this detective takes off, it will be more popular than Sherlock Holmes: a software to trace lost mobiles. Inspired to create a mobile-tracking solution after his 16-year-old son lost his cellphone, P Sekhar, chairman and managing director of Micro Technologies, and his team began work on a programme to track phones. The code, downloadable at Rs 200 to Rs 300 a year on most handsets from Micro's website, allows the owner to track the exact location of his or her phone and the number of the new SIM (subscriber identity module) card that has been inserted. Sekhar explains the technology: "When a phone is stolen, the thief generally sells the device in the grey market. When a new SIM card is inserted, the solution embedded in the phone will send an e-mail or voice message to the original owner notifying him of the number on the new SIM card and the location of the phone. Most times, the third party tends to return the gadget procured from the grey market.''


The basic requisite is possessing a smart phone with GPRS activated on it. Most telcos offer this service for a fixed fee every month You then register online for LMTS (Lost Mobile Tracking Solution) at the Micro Tech website. A user name and password is sent to you for downloading the software Once the software is activated, a link is sent to your phone. Clicking on the link leads you to a site where another piece of software is installed on your phone. You type in the licence key into this software All you have to do now is go back to the website and key in who needs to be informed and how if your mobile is stolen.

E-sniffer limited to GSM phones Mumbai

As of now, when a mobile phone user loses his cell, the only action he or she can take is to frantically call the service provider and block his card—retrieving the handset itself is a lost cause. The new e-sniffer, called the Lost Mobile Tracking Solution (LMTS), is awaiting a patent. It was created with an investment of Rs 50 lakh, of which half has already been recovered in the four months of its launch in the Indian market. It would be safe to say that thousands of phones are stolen and lost in India every day, left behind in the backs of cabs, washrooms, restaurants and shops. In 2005, 20,000 cases of stolen mobiles (worth Rs 300 crore) were reported with the police. About eight crore mobile handsets were retailed in India in the same year. Sekhar, who plans to take this solution global in the next two months, is in talks with five of the largest mobile manufacturers as well as the police, who say that lost mobile complaints are on the rise. He estimates that the market for such a solution could aggregate to Rs 30-40 crore within the next three years. The LMTS solution is currently restricted to GSM phones in which the SIM card is detachable. The solution is retailed in India through Micro Technologies's large dealer and distribution networks and will soon be pushed through the mobile manufacturer route as well. A value addition Sekhar is in the process of perfecting is maintaining an online storehouse of each subscriber's data—the SMSes, calls and email in your phone.


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