”Lost and Found” IT: Taxi Drivers’ View

Forgetfulness qualifies as a major IT concern in 2005.
CFO StaffMarch 16, 2005

Because IT plays such a central role at both the macro and micro level of American business, it is perhaps the most heavily scrutinized, analyzed, and surveyed sector of the economy. Everyone from research scientists to vendors to end users is constantly being polled about new technologies, spending plans, deployment strategies, the paradigm shift du jour — you name it. But no one thought to ask taxi drivers for their perspective, until now.

Thanks to Pointsec Mobile Technologies, we now know that forgetfulness qualifies as a major IT concern in 2005. The company contacted taxi companies in nine countries, from Australia to Scandinavia, asking them how common it is for customers to leave cell phones, PDAs, laptop computers, and other accoutrements of the mobile professional behind in cabs.

The results were staggering. In Chicago alone, the survey sample suggests that more than 100,000 such devices were left behind in a six-month period. The news isn’t all bad: on a global basis, passengers were reunited with their cell phones 80 percent of the time, and with their laptop computers and PDAs 96 percent of the time.

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But Pointsec notes that as the memory of such devices increases, and as workers become ever more reliant on them, it behooves them to take advantage of the password and encryption features that many of the newer devices offer, lest those unreturned items lead to critical security breaches. The survey found that in most cases, items were returned thanks to the efforts of the taxi drivers themselves, something worth remembering the next time you debate how much to tip.