Friday, 24 November 2017

Telefonica to launch child-tracking smartwatch

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Tuesday 03 March 15

Filip smartwatch able to make calls, send location data in an emergency.

Telefonica announced on Tuesday that it plans to launch a smartwatch specifically designed to help parents locate their children in an emergency. The device, called FiLIP, has GPS, WiFi and GSM antennas, enabling it to send location data from both indoor and outdoor environments. Using an accompanying smartphone app, parents can set the watch to send its location at regular intervals and view its whereabouts on a map…

Telefonica announced on Tuesday that it plans to launch a smartwatch specifically designed to help parents locate their children in an emergency.

The device, called FiLIP, has GPS, WiFi and GSM antennas, enabling it to send location data from both indoor and outdoor environments. Using an accompanying smartphone app, parents can set the watch to send its location at regular intervals and view its whereabouts on a map. It also supports geo-tagging, so that notifications are received in the event that a child leaves a designated area. The app can also make calls and send texts.

Up to five contacts can be stored on FiLIP. In an emergency, the child pushes a red panic button, which transmits their location and begins calling the contacts, working its way through the stored numbers until it is successfully connected. The call is automatically recorded and stored in the cloud.

"The goal has been to keep it as simple as possible," said Sten Kirkbak, founder of FiLIP, who said that FiLIP is pitched at the 4-11 age group.

The first version of FiLIP launched in the U.S. with AT&T in 2013. That was followed up in November last year by version two, which was also launched on AT&T.

"We are selling all the numbers we can produce at the moment," said Kirkbak, who told Total Telecom at Mobile World Congress that he started FiLIP after an incident where he temporarily lost track of his son, who was four years old at the time.

"The whole experience made me want to buy a product that kept me connected to my son," he explained. "I was very surprised when I couldn't find any such product."

Smartphones are not ideal because they provide Internet access, posing the risk of a young child viewing unsuitable content, Kirkbak said. Meanwhile, GPS trackers work well outdoors, but not so well indoors. They cannot make calls either.

After a successful launch in the U.S., FiLIP has now set its sights on Europe and Latin America, working with Telefonica to enable it to address several markets at once. It will go on sale in Europe in the coming months.

"The commercial offer is not confirmed in every country," said Jesus Llamazares Alberola, global head of Telefonica's families and convergence division. "Some are thinking about postpaid, some are looking at prepaid. It depends on the market."

He explained that opting for prepay can pose a challenge because Telefonica and FiLIP do not want children running out of credit in an emergency.

"We are trying to encourage postpaid," he said.

Telefonica and FiLIP partnered several months ago, jointly conducting market research to gauge demand.

They found that 92% of parents consider it important to know where their child is. Furthermore, 88% think it is important that their child is able to contact them, while 90% want the option to contact their child when they are apart. However, 40% think children under the age of 11 are too young to own a smartphone.

"We see a lot of potential in Europe," said Kirkbak. "Finding a good strategic partner is important."

With Telefonica "there is the possibility of going into a lot markets."
 

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Newsletter signup

Quickly get on board and up to date with the telecoms industry