LAS VEGAS--Locator devices that let parents keep track of their kids are nothing new. Evado Filip decided to do things a little differently with the VivoPlay, a watch geared for the 5- to 12-year-old crowd.
Many parents don't want to cough up a real cell phone for their little dears until they get pretty close to being teenagers. The VivoPlay includes GSM, so parents and kids can get in touch when necessary, but it's not a full-blown cell phone with all the related texting and possible cyberbullying issues. This feature elevates the watch from a location device to a communication device.
The VivoPlay is in testing right now, with the actual devices due this summer. At CES 2013, Evado Filip showed off the app and its ability to track a kid who was off in a hotel, away from the ballroom where the demonstration took place. If he had instead been trying to wander the Strip, an alarm would have been sent to the phone when he wandered beyond a preset perimeter.
The watch can hold five emergency contacts. The kid can scroll through them and call them when needed. There's also a panic setting. Press one of the buttons down for more than three seconds and it will start dialing the emergency contacts as well as share the child's location with each one. I expect plenty of kids would give this feature a try just for the heck of it.
Evado Filip isn't sharing pricing information, but parents will need to invest in either the watch or clip-on version of the device as well as a subscription plan.
Child-tracking devices bring up a lot of issues about privacy and how much parental oversight is too much. In this day and age, when nightmares do sometimes come true, I can see a device like the VivoPlay appealing to many worried parents.