The pandemic has led to a huge increase in interest in cycling. There is now a world wide shortage of bikes at the same time as there is a huge increase in the potential marketplace with a particular interest in expensive electric bikes.
This has created a potential perfect storm for bike owners. Front line workers using bikes, especially electric bikes, have already been targeted during lockdown.
Let us help you protect bikes and bits of bikes. In every city in the land you will find street furniture attached to the carcasses of bikes that have been stripped of their parts. Even if you have a GPS tracker fitted to the bike it can't protect every part.
Many expensive GPS bike tracking systems also come without signage or labelling that warns of the presence of a tracker and therefore are not a deterrent. Invisibilty does not work in deterring thieves. They find willing buyers, including fences, every day even if they have a tracker fitted or has been sprayed with invisible DNA or equally invisible UV marking.
Extravagant claims are also made for 'invisible' forensic marking systems. Companies boast tabout how effecive their marking system is in preventing crime but there is no evidence whatsoever backing these assertions.
Indeed a study carried out looking at one of these products by the University of Warwick found no definitive evidence that it either deterred criminals or aided the recovery of stolen goods.
Our technologies are already used to protect items such as the props in films including Star Wars, The Force Awakens and the multi-million pound collection of stringed instruments held by the Royal College of Music.
It's based on Near Field Communication (NFC), a short range wireless standard and form of RFID which powers digital wallets and payment systems such as Apple Pay. All major smartphone brands, including iPhones are able to read the NFC microchips embedded in It's My Bike.
The psychology is Behavioural Economics. It seeks to understand how people, including criminals, take decisions and how to influence that process using natural thinking biases. We use these biases to increase the level of perceived threat to a potential thief, encourage people to be more personally responsible for their possessions and improve the recovery of lost or stolen items.
We combined the technology and psychology, added a secure online database and It's My Bike was born.
A bike owner registers the NFC chip by tapping his phone on it and filling in an online form. They can report the item lost or stolen and can be contacted by a finder directly whether a member of the public, a police officer or staff at a lost or found office.
Anyone trying to find concealed chips has to use a smartphone to find them. But an alert is sent to the owner whenever someone scans the item and network address of their phone is automatically recorded. In finding and removing the chips the thief may well damage the bike beyond repair making it valueless.
What does it mean when I see this on someone's property?
It means that the owner has chosen to install It's My Bike. At the very least it will be fitted with two hidden Near Field Communication microchips, perhaps more in any accessories. They can be read by a smartphone running NFC.
I notice the color scheme, why?
It sends a subliminal message to your brain. The way it looks has been designed to make you feel uneasy. Psychological warfare really.
The chips use NFC, what is that?
Near Field Communication is a short range radio technology. It can be scanned using a modern smartphones phone running NFC, including iPhones from the 7 onward.
How long does the battery last?
It doesn't have a battery it picks up its power from the phone.
What does it send and to where?
It uses email to send a message to the owner telling him that one of his items has been scanned.
In the email it gives details about your phone which could identify you and lead to your arrest and conviction.
But I could simply chop out the chips?
First you would have to find them and thats not going to be easy.
You have to use your phone to do so which means sending an email automatically to the owner when you find a chip. There is another problem. The phone scanner is accurate to about 2 cms. Not exactly X marks the spot.
It means that when your phone picks up the signal from the chip it could be anywhere within a 2cm radius of that point. To be certain you got it you would have to gouge out a huge area.
By the time you have assured yourself that you have all the chips you will have a bike resembling a swiss cheese
Its not just a matter of getting rid of labelling either, which will take ages in the first place. Imagine how pissed off your fence is going to get if he gets arrested for being in possession of something that still has the chips in it.
He may well decide not to do business with you again and you know how quickly news gets around in your game.
So what you are going to end up with is:
an owner that has been alerted and has possible contacted the police
gouging holes in the bike which you cannot sell because of the damage
perhaps a fence or his representative looking to engage you in a meaningful discussion
a rather embarrassing court appearance