News Clip: Safety-device demand zips as child sexual assault graph goes up

Originally posted on EconomicTimes.com
By ET Bureau | 9 Jan, 2015, 04.00AM IST

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/emerging-businesses/startups/safety-device-demand-zips-as-child-sexual-assault-graph-goes-up/articleshow/45816161.cms

BENGALURU | PUNE: Demand for devices such as smart bands and other mobile child tracking equipment is growing fast as safety of children becomes a major concern for parents. The companies developing these technologies say they are finding it increasingly easier to approach consumers directly even as new cases of sexual assault on children emerge on a regular basis.

HandsTel, which makes a smart band that allows a child to instantly alert parents with their precise location in case of an emergency, and mobile solutions provider Mobiliya are gaining trust and confidence from customers, largely by people with young children.

“Parents have that feeling of satisfaction,” if they can track their child all the time, said Deepam Mishra, chief executive of Bengaluru-based HandsTel and technology incubator i2India Ventures. “That gap-filling safety requirement is being addressed slowly, something that was not the case before,” Mishra said. HandsTel has bagged a few thousand pre-orders since its inception in November last year, he said.

At a time when cases of rape and molestation of children, especially those aged between 3 and 10 and in places like schools, are growing at a disturbing pace, if such a device could help parents know where their children are, then that is the first thing that should be purchased, said a parent of two.

While surveillance cameras, GPS and radio-frequency identification trackers installed in schools and school buses prove to be useful, customers want something that is mobile and “with the child” at all times. This is why enterprise companies like cloud-to-device solutions provider Mobiliya have now extended operations to provide mobile solutions in the direct consumer space. Mobiliya has partnered with device maker Wham! mobiles under the label of Mobiliya Kratos, to offer parental control and child-tracking solutions.

“We feel that with safety and security becoming an increasing concern for parents today, these features will help us reach mass consumers fast. Our safety solutions are part of the platform and are more secure, and can work over SMS as well,” said Ankush Tiwari, Mobiliya’s managing director, whose company has operations in India and the US.

Traxoid Automations and Northstar, known for their security hardware installations in educational institutions, have also delved into the direct consumer space. Traxoid, which is present in Bengaluru and Maryland in the US, has developed a wearable phone named Kaiota, which will continuously monitor the child’s location and surroundings through advanced GPS and in-built microphone. Northstar is looking towards launching its hardware child-safety product in the second quarter.

“If parents are willing to spend, then it works, but otherwise, schools and school buses fitted with security and tracking systems is apt,” said Vani Manjunath, principal of Bengaluru’s Janak Vidyalayaa, an English-medium school that follows the Karnataka state syllabus.

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