Whether we like it or not, our society is driven by consumerism. We work hard, earn money, spend it on goodies then start the cycle all over again. With the exception of Jack Reacher, who’s content to own only a folding toothbrush, we all collect and value our possessions, and we’re very keen on keeping them.
I have to admit that I bear no resemblance to Reacher – I’m not 6ft 5in tall and don’t weigh 250lb, but more importantly I have far more than a folding toothbrush to my name. Luckily I’ve never lost anything particularly valuable, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate the ability to protect, or at the very least retrieve my possessions if they were lost or stolen.
By lucky coincidence a case landed on my desk recently stuffed full of gadgets for protecting, tagging and tracking our ever-expanding array of possessions. The case was sent from It’s Mine Technology, which, as its name suggests, specialises in helping you keep what’s yours.
One of the key components of the It’s Mine portfolio is microchip tagging. Despite the fact that stolen or lost goods are often recovered, there’s generally no way to ascertain who those items belong to. The microchips can be read by police or lost property departments, and the original owner can be contacted and their items returned.
The microchips are tiny and come with a syringe-type applicator, allowing the user to place the chip between the seams of a bag without damaging the leather. It’s similar technology to the chips we put in our pets so that vets can identify lost or stolen animals, but there’s no need to give your Hermes Birkin a general anaesthetic before implanting.
Once you’ve implanted the chip, you register your details along with the chip’s serial number at www.immobilise.com, so that if your item is lost or stolen, then recovered, the authorities can check the database the get it back to you.
If you’re a guitarist you won’t need to inject a chip into your instrument since It’s Mine Technology also makes sets of bridge pins with a chip already inserted into one of the pins.
You can also track your stuff with the It’s Mine Personal Tracker. Unlike the trackers you see in the movies, this is not a device the size of a pin-head. It’s about the size of a box of matches, but it is pretty cool nonetheless.
The tracker obviously employs GPS to confirm its position, and it can be tracked via an online portal. The tracker has a SIM card inside it, so it’s always transmitting its location to the Internet – oh, and that SIM card also allows you to eavesdrop on whoever is in the vicinity of the tracker.
Another gadget in the It’s Mine case was the SmartTie alarm, which connects to your smartphone, tablet or any other Bluetooth device. If someone takes your device and the SmartTie loses contact with it, it will sound its 84db alarm to let you know. Then you’ve just got to figure out who’s looking guilty!
I’ll probably chip my luggage and register the items on the Immobilise site, and may even hide the GPS tracker in my car somewhere. And then I’ll hope that I never need to use any of them, because this stuff is much like a burglar alarm or an insurance policy – you feel better having it, but you hope you’ll never have to make use of it. But at least if you do have to use any of these gizmos, you’ll have a better chance of getting your kit back.