Deterring Thieves with M2M


Location and tracking technologies help businesses operate safely and efficiently. As demand grows and the market for M2M (machine-to-machine)-enabled tracking solutions becomes more diverse, encompassing both business and consumer spheres, more companies are tailoring connected tracking solutions to particular industries or consumer use cases.

In construction, for example, there are a number of ways this type of technology adds value to an enterprise. For instance, telematics-based fleet-management solutions help project owners and managers keep track of employees and equipment. Data increases visibility into how a machine or vehicle is being operated, which owners can review for safety or productivity reasons.

Tracking devices can be used to help prevent theft on jobsites, which are often left unattended for periods of time. One success story out of Raleigh, N.C., demonstrates how LoJack,, a provider of connected equipment-security systems helped an electrical contractor recover a stolen utility trailer using an RF (radio-frequency)-equipped device.

After having two trailers with equipment stolen during the course of two years, the contractor turned to a new solution: LoJack, which offered a component its previous anti-theft devices didn’t have—realtime data.

In the case of the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, a piece of hardware called the transponder (which is about the size of a deck of cards) is hidden in a piece of equipment, and is then registered in a database. When a thief attempts a getaway, equipment owners call the local police department, which enters the device into its computer system, automatically activating the transponder’s RF signal.

Activated LoJack transponders send out uniquely coded signals to the company’s network of police cars, helicopters, and airplanes with LoJack Tracking Systems installed. The tracking units pick up the stolen vehicle’s silent homing signal, leading law enforcement to the exact location for recovery, and hopefully, arrest of the thief.

Unlike GPS or other satellite-based tracking solutions that require a direct line of sight to the sky, radio-frequency technology can pick up signals through concrete, steel, and other obstructions. The solution does not require an antenna, either, which is an easily identifiable tip to potential thieves that a piece of equipment is being tracked.

For the previously unlucky electrical contractor in Raleigh, the third time was the charm. Now equipped with connected-tracking technology, its stolen utility trailer was recovered by the Raleigh Police Dept. just a few hours after it was reported stolen.

From tracking heavy-industrial equipment on a construction jobsite to tracking an autistic child, realtime location data makes it easier than ever to keep track of the people and possessions, and recover them if lost or stolen. In other words, M2M is making life and business easier—unless, of course, you’re a thief.

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Connected World Issue
June/July 2014
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