Cork firm Yougetitback has been awarded a US patent for systems and methods for detecting the loss, theft or unauthorised use of a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone and altering functionality of the device in response.
The patent effectively validates the business model that the company has created around reuniting device owners with lost or stolen mobiles or computers.
Yougetitback sells its technology to insurance and warranty companies, who will in turn bundle it in their offerings. In doing so, the insurance company provides a market-proven sales incentive that has been shown to boost sales, by up to 10pc.
In addition, the end user gains value as they can now track, shut down and in some cases recover their mobile devices.
“If we could come up with smartphone software that would empower the customer to track and recover their phone and back that up with a comprehensive back-end service bureau, we could immediately tap into a very appealing market,” CEO Paul Prendergast explained.
The company includes Best Buy, Virgin Mobile, Carphone Warehouse, Three, Global Warranty Group and CPP among its clients.
The patent also covers the capability of a mobile device to monitor its use, its local environment, and/or its operating context to determine whether the mobile device is no longer within the control of an authorised user and to receive communications or generate an internal signal altering its functionality.
This includes instructing the device to enter a restricted use mode, or a surveillance mode, providing instructions to return the device and/or help prevent unauthorised use or unauthorised access to data.
Additional features of the patent cover the gathering of forensic data regarding an unauthorised user, to assist in locating the unauthorised user and/or the mobile device.