Synchronica: A Stolen Cell Phone that Screams for Help

Let me tell you that I vowed that I would never, EVER allow my daughter to have a cell phone. She was too young darn it, and I could never justify why she needed one. Just to spend all her time sending silly text messages to her friends? Hey, that’s what 80% of the men and women in Italy do anyway. Why add to the problem?

But then I stepped back a second and it seemed getting her a cell phone might not be a bad idea. Just the fact that she had it – had a useful tool that might help in case of an emergency. As a parent you just never know. And the price of a cheap cell phone – less than 50 euro – would pay itself back if in fact my daughter ever REALLY had a need to use it.

So I purchased my daughter her very own cell phone and life was good. That isâÂ?¦until she lost her cell phone. I’m not sure how, it probably slipped out of her pocket or she set it down for a second and walked away. What are you going to do? This stuff happens. I’m not sure how it works back in the United States these days, but over here in Italy, if someone “finds” or steals a cell phone, it’s just a matter of quickly opening up the back of the cell phone and removing the chip – that would be the fingernail-sized data chip that contains the owner’s pin and phone number – and quickly swapping it out with their own. Now the original owner is screwed; he or she can’t call in hopes of some good soul responding and saying “Yes, I found your phone and will return it!” In Italy? Come on, what are the odds! The only recourse is naturally to purchase ANOTHER cell phone and hope that the cycle doesn’t repeat itself.

So it was with obvious glee when I discovered that a British cell phone manufacturer called Sychronica (www.synchronica.com) had developed a cell phone that literally screams when it is lost or stolen.

All I have to say is it’s about time.

The screaming cell phone works like this; when the owner discovers that their cell phone has been lost or stolen, they must contact their cell phone provider (who has the Synchronica software) and the cell phone provider will send a message to the phone that blocks all the phone’s functions (whether the data chip has been switched or not), cancels it’s memory and emits a shrieking alarm.

Think it’s a joke? Consider that in Europe, cell phone loss is serious business. According to data provided by Mobile Life Report, just in the city of London there is a reported 10,000 cell phone losses every month! So you can imagine many cell phones are lost in other cities in Europe and the United States.

In fact, studies have shown that cell phone owners need less than a minute to detect that they misplaced or lost their cell phones as compared to the hour it takes to conclude that a wallet has been lost or stolen.

Synchronica develops and markets synchronization and device management solutions for mobile operators, device manufacturers, and enterprises. Its product portfolio ranges from data synchronization (DS) to device management (DM) and firmware update over-the-air (FOTA). Synchronica has a strong track record in the SyncML space.

The high pitched alarm hopefully will encourage the person who found the cell phone to quietly put the phone down and walk away or turn it in to a police station. But the real benefit is the ability of the Synchronica software to block all functions and cancel memory. Hi-tech cell phone thieves know how to hack into a cell phone to retrieve personal data.

Which brings me back to my daughter who now has a new cell phone. I figured that until the Synchronica phone hits the streets I’d settle for a cell phone strap that attaches to the phone and is worn around the neck. My daughter’s reply: “That’s not cool, Dad! The other kids will laugh!” They might laugh but it sure eats the other “screaming” phone technology of when I lose my temper.

Cell phones. Where would we be without them?

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