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Graduate develops software to curb e-theft

Baptism by fire is what Kelvin Kariuki, 24, had to undergo to to find solutions to his problems and those of many others, who would pay him handsomely.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Technology from the Multi Media University last year, Kariuki has made great steps into helping desperate clients track their lost electronic items using his new software, Electracka.

He started actualising his dreams in his third year of studies. His laptop was stolen from his room and he lost his whole semester’s projects. Although he had backed it up, he needed the laptop to prepare for a show-and-tell project that was going to be held at the 2012 agricultural show.

“The project was an invention on e-visitors, software where visitors would sign in and out of an institution. The software also allowed an institution keep track of all those visiting. The idea was to eliminate the use of paper as well as make the records accessible from various points,” explained Mr Kariuki.

As fate would have it, his second laptop was stolen and he began a search in the vast show grounds to no avail.

“My friends and I checked every exit point and put out an alert with the security to be on the lookout but it did not yield. I had to pay for the laptop as well as help re-do all of my friends’ projects that had been stored in the machine,” he said.

Electronic devices

It was at this point that he thought of developing software that users could sign up and register their electronic devices to be able to track them if lost.

With help from his lecturers, Kariuki set out to solve a problem he knew many students as well as organisations faced at one point or another.

“It is a programme that keeps a person honest because you have to sign in with your national identification number, your name and student number. Verification is easy because you also have to upload a clear passport photo of yourself,” said Kariuki.

He impressed upon clients the fact that no transaction could be carried out without the code and that if a registered user marked his property as stolen in the system, no one could sell it unless they went the analogue way.

This system also allows a student to upload information on who he allows to walk about with their devices just in case someone other than the owner is caught with them.

“Multi Media has a rule of everyone signing in and out their devices at the main gate and so if I choose to share my devices with someone else, the information on the system is relayed to the security guards, then he will not be apprehended as a thief,” he explained.

This is where the security module comes in. As the system is already in use at the Multi Media Rongai Campus as a pilot project, guards can not only use it to track stolen goods at the entrance, but also for the e-visitor’s book that was incorporated into the system. It also helps the school to keep out criminals.

The technology allows organisations to create an account where they can register all their devices and information on who has what of theirs. It also helps those using the devices to keep track of them.

“Kill the market, kill the habit. That is what I aimed to do when it comes to theft of electronics. It would give direct means for proprietors to hold those responsible for a device accountable for its loss without them giving excuses,” said Kariuki.

His software is not limited to any one institution but is free to everyone.

He explained how he is bound to gain from it: “Right now, I have 500 registered users since I launched it last month. The more traffic I have the better, for when I install Google ad-sense which runs advertisements on sites and blogs. I will be earning a dollar per click on their advert by clients on my site,” said Kariuki.

Kariuki says that the advantage the software gives his users is proof of ownership to their electronics and that it could also be used in a court of law as evidence in theft case.

Problems should not bring you down, but prompt you to come up with solutions, he cautions.

Log on to http://electracka.com to experience the innovation.