LG’s Kizon child tracker debuts

click to enlarge Just in time for school start in North America and Europe is LG‘s September intro of the Kizon bracelet for keeping track of your small child through an Android app. This child-friendly, colorful (but a little bulky) wristband seems to pack a lot into a one-button package: GPS/Wi-Fi tracking, 2G/3G cellular ability for the child to call out to a pre-loaded phone number and to accept calls from pre-approved numbers. And it appears to be a water and stain-resistant watch as well. LG is marketing to parents of pre-school and primary/elementary school children but pricing is not available. It’s a big change stylistically from the GPS trackers like Lok8u which have typically been marketed for primarily autistic children and others at risk. Launch will be in South Korea this week according to BBC News. Is there an opportunity to use this with older people as well?

Editor Chrys on background:

The idea of using mobile phones for tracking kids goes way back to around 2003. The earliest service I know of was one called Child Locate and was launched in the UK by Jon Magnusson. It was intended for parents to track kids (or rather their phones) on a map on the internet. Child Locate has now morphed into Mobile Locate and tracks any mobile device and  claims 100,000+ users.

The other service that comes to mind straight away is Disney Mobile – Disney’s MVNO over Sprint. In 2006 Disney launched what seems a great idea at the time – a service for parents to track kids – the Family Center. Similar to Child Locate this service allowed parents to locate the mobile on a map, plus limit call and text spending. It was launched with two handsets, one from, wait for it – LG and the other from now almost bankrupt third largest Korean handset company Pantech. So LG was dabbling in this in 2005/6. Disney Mobile had plans to expand to UK over the O2 network though that never materialised. Disney Mobile closed down a year later.

The Kizon may look cute at first glance but it is definitely not unobtrusive. When my neighbour’s 18-month-old is playing Peppa Pig incessantly on her iPad I think LG’s marketing department is behind times thinking they can get a Western kid to be tracked by her dad for everyone to see. Make no mistake Korea and Japan are the leading nations for high tech consumer products but the psychology of those countries don’t work here. Having worked for a leading Japanese company I have seen this from the inside. If this takes off in London I’ll eat my hat – even if I have to buy a hat to eat!

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