At Xplora, we were excited to see Apple's announcement earlier this week of a range of new smartwatches and their new IOS feature “Family setup”. We love many of Apple's products, but the latest announcement highlighted our radically different approaches to the design of smartwatches for kids.
We don’t see smartwatches for kids as a move to expand our product into a related space. We at Xplora have been 100% focused on parents and kids since our inception.
Xplora has always developed our smartwatches from a parent-first perspective. We saw the need for a safe way to stay in touch with our loved ones, particularly our children, and knew an ideal device would have both connectivity and location information. At the time we were founded, the only real choice was a smartphone. However, a smartphone is a very sophisticated computer, built by adults, for adults.
Smartphones also create many new issues for parents, including an increased concern over security and privacy. Smartphones, and the companies providing them, constantly capture a lot of data and insight from users about their behaviors and activities.
We knew a smartphone wasn’t the answer for us or for most families of younger children. So we set out to build, from the ground up, a product and service proposition with the child and parent as the core focus.
When we set out to do this, we also knew there was something else missing from smartphones – how could we leverage technology to help make kids more active? How could we use technology to encourage a better balance between screen time and physical activity?
After a lot of research, we realized a specialized smartwatch for kids was the answer. A smartwatch that does not connect unfiltered to the internet, connect to every app store or capture all kinds of data from the child. Instead, we focused on providing some tailor made services including Goplay where we reward activity. We forged into uncharted territory with just a vision for bringing families together and onboard children more safely to the digital world and a belief that this market space would explode over the next few years.
We were right.
We quickly captured 11% of the market in Norway and expanded throughout Europe. Each week, Xplora kids in Europe walk more than one billion steps. That's the equivalent of walking around the world once every day.
Forecasts say this is just the beginning. More than 100 million wearables for kids will be sold over the next few years. We are excited to see big players like Apple now joining the market we have worked in for years.
However, as parents, we are also still skeptical about the data that companies like Apple may extract from our children’s activities into their massive data platforms, how they will use it and with whom they will share it. Xplora complies with the strictest security and transparency standards in Asia and Europe, including GDPR compliance, to ensure that all the data is well protected from misuse and exploitation.
While our use of data differs significantly and we come from a different design philosophy, we love that Apple, like Xplora, is focusing on smartwatches needing to provide more than just connectivity – but also activity. Our common goal should be keeping families connected and getting young people more active. The more this happens, the better the world will be.
CEO and co-founder