While walking the show floor at MWC we’re always on the lookout for cool tech that comes from Australia. In a show the size of MWC, it can be difficult to track them all down. One such device we did come across was the SpaceTalk Kids smartwatch, which is essentially a parentally controlled, wrist warn, communication and location sharing device.
SpaceTalk is the first consumer-facing product from an Australian company focused on child safety for schools. MGM Wireless has worked with schools since 2002 to provide a timely update to parents when children failed to arrive at school. Their safety solution is in thousands of school nationwide and the likelihood is if you have school aged children you’ve seen or heard about the system.
Based on their experience with assisting parents and schools managing absenteeism MGM saw a need for a parent-focused kids communication device for those instances when parents were not aware that the kids were not at school. From this basic need the SpaceTalk was born. The SpaceTalk provides parents with both a communications device with which to call and message their kids but it also offers the peace of mind of real-time location sharing with the family.
Why not just give kids a phone? Perhaps you can with older children, but as a parent of a 6-year-old there’s no way I’d be letting my child carry an actual mobile phone, even if I had it locked down with Family link, I just don’t want her developing a phone carrying habit that early. Other people would have their own reasons, this is why having the option of something like the SpaceTalk is seriously worth looking into.
There is definitely a wider discussion to be had about the ethics of sharing the location of children with their parents, and this is something that we will discuss at a later stage. At this point, we wanted to acknowledged that these concerns do exist and are worthy of exploration.
We spent some time in the SpaceTalk booth both listening to some familiar accents as well as running through the features of the SpaceTalk. We are looking into doing a larger review of the SmartWatch so at this stage we’ll cover the basic features of the device.
At its heart, the SpaceTalk offers 3 main features, well 4 if you count the watch itself! Primarily it’s focused at Phone calls, text messages and lastly location sharing. That’s it, no social media, no cameras, no apps, no web browsing, nothing, zip, zilch, nada. Let me be clear this is a good thing. The SpaceTalk is aimed at younger children, they don’t need constant unsupervised access to any of those things.
The device also offers a few extra in the way of a step counter, weather forecasts, a rewards star system to get your rewards off the fridge and into the cloud, a stopwatch and a “flashlight” or bright screen function. I honestly don’t object to any of the ‘extras’ nor is there anything specific I’d like to see added and adding any more features would kind of miss the point of what this device is supposed to be about.
The watch does require a cellular connection so there is a monthly cost for each device. SpaceTalk recommends the Telstra 3G network and the device supports the 2100 and 850 MHz bands. In addition to the 3G connection the watch pairs to the parental “All My Tribe” app for Android and iOS, this also has a monthly subscription fee.
Overall the monthly costs seem to be inline with paying for both a regular mobile plan and a family location sharing service. That said, just know that there are ongoing fees with the device. We will be discussing a larger review of the SpaceTalk with MGM so watch this space in the future.