LoJack launches SafetyNet, offers security for those prone to wander

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

WESTWOOD, Mass.--A Feb. 10 release from LoJack Corporation announced that the company, best known for helping bust the crook behind the wheel of your stolen car, had taken a step forward in diversification with a move into people tracking with the launch of LoJack SafetyNet. SafetyNet, based on radio-frequency technology, is a solution that tracks and rescues people at risk of wandering, including those with Alzheimer's disease, autism, Down syndrome and dementia.

According to Paul McMahon, senior director of communications at LoJack, protecting those prone to wandering is a huge and growing problem, a solution for which the industry has not yet adequately developed. "Historically, LoJack has built its business on selling our radio-frequency-based stolen vehicle recovery product to the auto market through new car dealers," McMahon said. "We're taking that successful foundation and expanding into new markets where our technology, either alone or in conjunction some complementary technology, where our law enforcement relationship, and where our strong brand will enable us or give us the permission to play. Tracking and rescuing people at risk is one of those areas."

McMahon said while GPS and cellular people-tracking technologies exist, they are not without problems. "We believe that radio frequency is the best technology--not only for stolen vehicle recovery, because it's covert--but because it penetrates buildings and containers and other things where cellular and GPS may not," McMahon said. "Many times folks who wander--either those with Alzheimer's or autism, for example--do wander in places which either are enclosed, or are out of cell coverage, or are in a densely wooded area. So those technologies would not necessarily function well, and when you're talking about my loved one, I want it to function well."

According to Christopher Baskin, CEO of American Two-Way, a provider of medical alert monitoring services, LoJack's diversification will ultimately benefit the industry. "Entrances from companies like LoJack and others are always good. I feel that a rising tide floats all boats," Baskin said, but warned newcomers to the medical alert monitoring field that competition would be fierce. "Current medical alert providers are also gearing up to provide GPS tracking services, including geofencing capabilities that would help keep people from wandering. For example, American Two-way, in '09, released GPS tracking abilities for senior citizens," Baskin said. "Companies like American Two-Way and others will combine these services with an entire host of other medical alert, as well as even telehealth and telemonitoring, services."

LoJack SafetyNet is available in the U.S. and Canada. There is a $99 initial enrollment fee and a recurring $30 monthly service charge for clients in the program. For more information visit www.lojacksafetynet.com.