It's been reported that by the end of 2012, there will be fully 686 million smartphones sold around the world. That's actually more smartphones than there are people in the entirety of North America. With that massive amount of smartphones comes a large risk of broken smartphones, one that has given rise to a new industry: the smartphone insurance policy. This industry in turn is turning to an Irish company called Yougetitback to provide an unexpected, but very welcome, bit of extra protection.
As more people use smartphones, they're also putting valuable data on them. There's the standard material like names and addresses, but it also goes on from there. Sensitive data from work often finds its way to mobile devices as more people work outside the office yet still need access to the proprietary data that drives many companies. Mobile wallet systems link phones directly to bank accounts. But with smartphone theft on the rise—it's actually outpacing the theft of cash in the United States—how can people protect the data on these devices, which is often just as valuable as, and in some cases more so than, the phones themselves? That's where Yougetitback comes into play.
Yougetitback uses what's known as a “bricking” method to turn the stolen smartphone into a chunk of plastic and assorted minerals that loses much of its inherent value. But there's more going on here than that, as Yougetitback has also developed a way to make the phone take a picture of its surroundings when it's lost or stolen, providing a better idea of its current location, as well as the ability to emit a sound described as “screeching” to let passersby know that something is out of the ordinary, and even the ability to remotely “fry” the phone, which is approximately the same thing as bricking, just somewhat more dramatic.
Basically, Yougetitback's services revolve around two central themes: recovering lost and stolen smartphones, or if the first measure fails, reducing them to useless paperweights. Yougetitback's founder and CEO, Paul Prendergast, described the value in his company's services, “Providing the warranty and insurance market with a foolproof system to track devices is a top priority. We develop solutions which provide peace of mind for users of mobile devices. We work with large organizations that in turn provide our service to their customers. By doing so we allow enterprises such as Best Buy (News - Alert) to achieve key objectives whether it be data capture, mobile commerce rollout, revenue generation or churn reduction.”
The sheer range of Yougetitback's services—not to mention the wide range of applications involved, from loss prevention at the store level to data protection at the consumer level—is downright mind-boggling, and should prove useful on a variety of levels. Hopefully more insurance companies out there will consider the Yougetitback difference to help their clients protect their valuable data against theft and loss.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey