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system_structureIt’s a big, bad, world out there – just ask the people whose kids’ images grace milk cartons and “have you seen this child” posters. When our kids are out and about, we always have that nagging worry at the back or our minds – one that doesn’t go away until they’re home, safe and sound. On the one hand, we can’t keep them at home under lock and key, much as we would like to; and on the other hand, we can’t avoid worrying – and with good reason.

Israel’s Starcom Systems may have the answer to letting you allow your kids to roam the world – in safety – and allowing you peace of mind. The company has developed a unique line of tracking devices that do all the tracking work – alerting you if anything goes awry in the route, activity or area. The systems developed by Starcom can be used to keep track of vehicles, items – and people

“Our products use a combination of hardware and software to detect almost anything,” says Hartmann. “We put the hardware in a box or a vehicle or attach it to a person, and a sophisticated array of devices keeps the item or person in touch with those responsible for safety.” Using a combination of GPS, cellular phone technology, VHF/UHF signals, and other protocols, Starcom devices can keep track of almost anything, anywhere, Hartmann says.

The company makes three different tracking devices: Helios, used for real-time vehicle fleet management and vehicle security applications; Triton, for tracking containers in real time; and Rainbow, a sophisticated unit for real-time personal security and employee management applications. Each unit integrates a GPS receiver, a cellular network modem (GSM/GPRS/EDGE), and a built-in accelerometer, tweaked to detect the type of detection needed. The devices receive location data from the GPS card integrated into the cargo or vehicle, and communicate it to those keeping track of the items. If one system breaks down – if a ship enters an area where GPS is unavailable, for example – the system falls back on other methods to communicate its location.

“Lost” can sometimes mean “stolen,” as anyone who has misplaced a credit card knows – and the Starcom systems are designed to help combat theft, as well. The systems can include features such as radar which indicates if a container has been breached, and the accelerometer can tell managers if cargo is being moved. Once the message comes through, managers can alert security to prevent the items from getting “lifted.” In a real life example, a member of a security force in the Dominican Republic reports that thieves entered a residence, stole some items, and attempted to get away in the family car. . “When they entered the car, the Starcom unit informed us about the door opening and the Ignition turning on. The alarm started, and the thieves fled,” the security official said.

The system includes other features to ensure that security is total. The fleet management package, for example, includes mobile phone activation, in which the system is synchronized between the hardware, software and the manager’s mobile phone, enabling the manager to send commands to the vehicle, and keep track of location, status, and alerts – all with an easy to use phone app.

But the most unique product offered by Starcom is its people finder. While the unit can be used for management – keeping track of employees, making sure they are on the job, etc. – Hartmann says that employee supervision is not necessarily its primary use. “The Rainbow system is an ideal way to ensure the safety of loved ones – kids, grandparents, etc.,” says Hartmann. “Until today, all detector systems have required activity on the part of minders. With other systems, for example, a mother would have to check a web site to see where her child was at any given time. Our system is the first one that allows passive tracking of people,” he says.

Users can define a variety of events for Rainbow to keep track of, based on the health condition and characteristics of each carrier, automatically activating an emergency button in case of need. If the person carrying the device wanders out of a pre-defined geographical area (a “geofence”), falls, walks or runs at an unusual pace, or does not reach their destination (school, senior citizen’s center, clinic, etc.) – or if no movement is detected at all – the alarm goes off, indicating the location of the Rainbow wearer and allowing minders to quickly notify authorities. And, users can speak to their minders – or even send them an e-mail or SMS – at the touch of a button.

The alarms, all of which can be customized as necessary, are designed to deal with situations such as accidents, getting lost, or even kidnappings – an issue in many of the countries where Starcom operates. In fact, says Hartmann, Rainbow is the only personal tracker that provides automatic and active solutions in situations of extreme lack of control, in which the user cannot press the emergency button for some reason. When necessary, an alert will automatically be transmitted to the local emergency services. If required, you can activate the voice channel remotely without the intervention of the person who wears it. In addition, the system can monitor vital signs by connecting to external sensors worn by the person and report the heartbeat rate and blood oxygen.

“The Rainbow system is the only one that can give parents or children with elderly parents peace of mind, because they don’t have to do anything – the system does it all,” says Hartmann. “Like they say – no news is good news – and with the Rainbow system, that is literally the case; if no alarms go off, there is no reason to worry,” he says.

While there are numerous companies working in this space, says Hartmann, none of them take Starcom’s approach – an active device that takes the work and worry out of keeping track of items, vehicles, and people, says Hartmann. Tens of thousands of Starcom systems are installed around the world, and the company is represented in 46 countries around the world! “We already see our products being used globally in vehicles, homes, offices, properties, people, animals, and by private and commercial users alike,” says Hartmann. “The need for safety, security, information and efficiency is indeed a global necessity which has neither borders nor language barriers.”

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