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Spotlight: Versatility Aids Sale Of Anti-Theft Device

By | July 12, 2004

      Satellite-based, asset-tracking hardware from Alberta, Canada-based CSI Wireless Inc. is helping to catch crooks and assist motorists in other ways.

      Law-enforcement officials and private citizens alike are displaying increased demand for the versatile Global Positioning System (GPS) product. A recent example of the device’s effectiveness occurred when the North Texas Auto Theft Task Force recovered more than $2.7 million in stolen goods by using the product.

      CSI Wireless’ Asset-Link product line, featuring the company’s integrated GPS and wireless technology, also is available to private consumers under a different brand. Consumers can buy the device through Directed Electronics Inc., North America’s largest supplier of car alarm systems.

      The Asset-Link product is the core technology in Directed Electronics new Clifford line of stolen vehicle recovery devices.

      The Directed Electronics Clifford system debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2003, and became available to consumers through authorized retailers in May 2003.

      Combined sales for the Clifford, Viper, Python and Automate versions of the company’s GPS Tracking Systems have been robust, with many thousands of units sold, said Kennedy Gammage, corporate communications manager at Directed Electronics. In fact, the Clifford version won the Innovations Award at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show.

      The Asset-Link technology enables customers to remotely perform important security functions including locking or unlocking doors, starting or stopping the ignition and establishing “geo-fences” that act as precise geographic boundaries outside of which vehicles cannot venture without sending a wireless alert to the owner.

      A consumer also can send a command from a phone or a computer to start warming up his or her car, said Jeff Adams, public relations manager for CSI Wireless. Imagine a snowy parking lot and a cellphone user making a call to run the car’s engine to warm-up the vehicle before the person arrives.

      “Most of our end-use customers buy our Asset-Link products for far more than simply tracking stolen vehicles,” Adams said. “They use them to ensure their vehicles or other mobile assets are following prescribed routes, arriving at destinations on time, abiding by speed limits, etc.”

      Consumers also use CSI asset-tracking products to monitor engine temperature, oil pressure, tire pressure, brake wear and a variety of other performance and diagnostic factors, Adams said.

      CSI Wireless sells the asset-tracking hardware and software to companies that incorporate their own software to provide a complete service package to their end-use customers. Those end-users include trucking companies, car rental companies, mobile construction equipment companies and law enforcement agencies, such as the Texas State Police Task Force.

      The task force obtained court orders authorizing the installation of Asset- Link units on suspects’ vehicles in the recent recovery of stolen trucks, trailers and merchandise. The device offers hope for future arrests of criminals involved in a Dallas-area truck theft ring and elsewhere.

      Truck and trailer thefts have become so rampant in the U.S. that millions of dollars of vehicles and merchandise go missing each week, said Texas State Police Lieutenant Tim Stewart. In fact, Texas is ranked second in the nation in auto theft offenses, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. -Tonya Oben

      (Jeff Adams, CSI Wireless, 403/259-3311; ext. 254; Kennedy Gammage, Directed Electronics Inc., 800/876-0800, ext. 1225)

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