Get the latest best-practice stories, news and white papers straight to your mailbox
The selection process for the market's third operator was a spectacle to behold
This article originally appeared in the DisruptiveViews blog
OK, so I have been a little harsh of late with criticism of the Internet of Silly Things but I have to admit that occasionally, something brilliant does come along that you know would be of real benefit to most people and, in this case, children.
You can argue black and blue that introducing technology too early to children could have a detrimental effect on the ability to learn and communicate effectively but, like or not, kids will seek out the technology whether you like it or not. Being selective about what they can access is your job but you may not be suitably qualified yourself to make sensible decisions.
I’m sure you have seen kids as young as two operating tablets and smartphones. When my kids were bored or I wanted to keep them occupied I sat them in front of the television and played a Disney video for the umpteenth time. That seemed to work OK, but today they want a lot more to happen and applications seem to be the thing.
That’s all well and good if you know which apps will help develop their brains but mots parents are more concerned about what happens to their children if they are not around, especially as they grow a little older and venture out to play with friends or are left in the care of minders.
Many parents have resorted to supplying their children with phones but they can be lost, stolen, run out of battery or divert their attention from what should really be doing.
There have been many attempts at child specific tracking and communications devices but not until the advent of wearable technology has there been the opportunity to attach children to devices that can do so much.
One company that raised funds on Kickstarter has come up with one of many such devices we will soon be seeing that can be used with children from an early age provides all the basic needs of anxious parents as well as satisfying the wow factor children need to be interested and impress their friends.
Cubi (not to be confused with the stainless steel sculptures of the same name) is termed by its makers as ‘communicator for kids’ aged 3 to 10 years of age. It’s a very brightly-coloured silicon or plastic device with a changing robot-like face that is worn on the wrist like a watch but it is packed with many cool functions. It can literally tell the time with a voice (and teach your children how to do it), send and receive voice messages, has an emergency alert button and a GPS chip so the whereabouts of the child can be determined at any time. The cool factor is a voice changing function that kids can use when communications with friends who connect simply by bumping their Cubi things together.
If you can bear the amateurish video promoting the product you soon get the gist of its value to parents and children and how the IoT can bring some tangible benefits rather than simple gimmickry that will soon wear off.
It also addresses a market sector that will happily outlay money for anything that offers comfort and protection during those early child-rearing days. Bring it on.