It's easy to find an iPhone using iCloud. A map will show where it is and the phone can chirp until found. If you are an iPhone, iPad or Mac user and haven't set up Find My iPhone in iCloud, it's worth doing. Apple offers an "erase iPhone" feature to clear personal data from the phone and Google offers Android Device Manager to wipe stolen phones.
For companies, Mountain View's MobileIron offers its Anyware software to manage mobile devices. It enables an administrator to push apps and data to mobile phones. If an employee leaves the company or loses his phone, the device can be blocked.
MobileIron recently showed me how Anyware works with Salesforce, sales management software. This freemium (i.e. has both free and paid versions) app is available in AppExchange, Salesforce's online app store. The free version works with Apple devices. The paid version supports Android devices. You pay for additional features (starting at $4/month per device) to lock devices, send messages through the system and monitor usage.
Director of Product Marketing, Kevin Mukai, noted that MobileIron is the only company that tracks, manages and secures mobile devices using Salesforce. Administrators can make a private catalog of apps from Salesforce's AppExchangeand invite users to download them. Apps and relevant corporate content for users can be updated centrally for all users. MobileIron enables phones to distinguish between apps for corporate and personal use.
MobileIron is a 600-person company and over 5000 companies use their products, ranging from 10 person organizations to major multinationals. Customers include Fenwick & West, New York Life, AT&T, Netgear, KLA-Tencor, Wyndham Hotels and Melitta. The company has received almost $100M in venture capital from Foundation Capital, IVP, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Storm Ventures. MobileIron is hiring both engineering and business personnel, mainly in Mountain View, but also in Hyderabad, India.
Just as we have the Highway Patrol to catch speeders on freeways, maybe we need a special police force to catch stolen items that can be tracked with wireless technology, be it bicycle, pet, phone, tablet or laptop. These losses are small to thinly stretched police forces who have to investigate more serious crimes like murders, but to the deprived user they can be serious.