Helicopter parents to double MGM revenue with child-tracking smartwatch
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In the book The Circle a social media company builds — with enormous community support — a chip and tracking software that allows parents and authorities to know where their children are at all times.
Any time a minor under 18 goes somewhere they’re not supposed to be, parents receive an alert.
But this scenario is no longer a dystopian science fiction future — we’re already there.
Tech company MGM Wireless’ (ASX:MWR) first smartwatch for kids, Spacetalk, is rolling off the production line, with delivery to Australia expected this month.
“Spacetalk allows parents and children to be in constant contact via two-way 3G communication and features GPS tracking and alerts so that parents are notified whenever children leave designated “safe spaces” such as school or home,” MGM said on Wednesday.
Chief Mark Fortunatow says demand is high among parents.
“Parents love it because they can give their kids a level of freedom to be adventurous that they couldn’t before, because they were concerned about their safety,” he told Stockhead.
“Kids love knowing that their parents know where they are.”
The age range is four to 12 years, in part because MGM’s research has shown that once children discover smartphones around 11 to 13 years old they ditch the watches.
Mr Fortunatow expects to sell 10,000 to 20,000 watches in the coming 12 months to New Zealand and Australian parents, at a price of $429 each. The lower figure should, he says, double the company’s revenue.*
They’ll build on a network of 1.6 million parents that’s been the company’s bread and butter since 2002, a communication system that allows schools to manage student attendance, data privacy, and parent-teacher comms.
Smartwatches to track children are already a feature of Australian parenthood: in the market are watches from Moochies, TicTocTrack, KidsSmartWatch and the creepily named SkyNanny, whose advertising ratchets up the fear factor with videos of missing child posters and a toddler on a beach heading to the water.
MGM’s share price has been a downwards ski slope since announcing a contract with the Queensland government in November last year for the school communications software.
It was down 5.2 per cent at midday on Wednesday to 36c, the bottom of its 34-91c trading range over the last 52 weeks. It has a market value of $3.5 million.
* MGM updated the market on September 22 saying that the sales numbers provided to Stockhead, and other media organisations, were not forecasted sales.