In search of lost tapes

What should you do if the thought of losing a container full of tape cartridges keeps you awake at night?

I have two suggestions in regards to keeping your data safe: First, start encrypting your backups, at least those that you know will travel. No ifs, no buts, just do it. The second suggestion? See suggestion No. 1.

That may sound repetitive (and perhaps pigheaded), but there is no better way to protect customer and employee data from disclosure than encryption. Of course, although encryption renders your data unreadable, it won't help you find those tapes.

A new service that Fujifilm expects to ship next year could be a perfect complement to encryption by making it easier to locate lost or misplaced tapes -- half-inch cartridges, in particular, because the Fujifilm Tape Tracker resembles those tapes exactly, hiding GPS and triband cell phone capabilities inside. Slide one in your tape container, and nobody will know it's there.

Fujifilm also plans to offer a Web-based service to enables customers to pinpoint the Tape Tracker's location on a map and receive status information such as battery charge levels.

Another interesting application is to follow the itinerary of a tape shipment, recording the progress at fixed intervals on a map in your browser.

Want to make sure the cartridges that contain critical data don't leave the safe surroundings of a tape vault? No problem, just draw a boundary line -- Fujifilm calls that Geo-Fencing -- around your vault and the application will raise an alarm if the device moves out of that area.

The three scenarios above should cover most requirements, but Fujifilm plans to also offer an SDK to customers who want to write their own code or prefer to integrate the application with their own management software.

It's a pity that Fujifilm is not releasing images of those applications to the press for now -- the company is still hammering down a few details, I am told -- because the Web service demo I saw was quite convincing. The price is also worthwhile, with a per-device cost of less than US$1,000 and a monthly service charge around US$45.

Other aspects, such as the battery life and the accuracy of the GPS, leave me a bit perplexed. For example, my Garmin Nuvi gets somewhat "blinded" when I drive under a thick tree canopy; will the Tape Tracker be similarly impaired when locked in a tape container inside a truck?

"This is not a consumer-grade GPS system such as those you find in phones and other devices," explains Daniel Greenberg, new product planning manager for the recording media division at Fujifilm. "It's an industrial-grade, 1,000-times-more-powerful system, which is what sets us apart."

Noted, but how long the battery lasts remains a critical aspect of the Tape Tracker. In fact, the device can be configured to meet different requirements and to maximize the duration of the battery charge.

For example, to track the full itinerary of a shipment, the Tape Tracker could be set to come alive every 20 minutes to acquire its coordinates and transmit them via the cellular network before returning to sleep mode.

In that configuration, the battery charge should last for at least one week, but more frequent transmissions would shorten that time. For other applications (Geo-Fencing, for example), the Tape Tracker could be configured to wake up only when it senses motion, which should also make the battery last much longer.

In fact, Fujifilm estimates that the battery should last one year if the Tracker is set to wake up once a day, which opens some interesting additions to your disaster recovery procedures, such as checking that a critical container is still where it's supposed to be.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mario Apicella

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?