December 5, 2017 | Written by: Krissa Watry
Categorized: AI/Watson | Cloud | Developer | Security
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We’ve all heard the expression “When one door closes another opens.” That’s what happened at my company, Dynepic, which started as a developer of social smart toys. Today we have pivoted to provide the iOKids Platform, a secure, social gateway to enable kids’ connection to the digital world under the watchful eyes of parents.
Protecting kids’ online privacy
When we first began to peel back the onion of smart toy development, we realized that the crux of the issue is not how under-13 kids connect to one smart toy, but how they connect to the internet.
Social toys need to collect personal information from kids – such as who they are and who their friends are. This requires offering parents a way to give their verifiable consent and to monitor any data being collected, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). But parents could become overwhelmed by having to manage dozens or even hundreds of separate smart toys, wearable devices, social media and children’s websites. The solution is a broader framework, a single place where parents can manage privacy consent and their child’s online life.
Engaging parents and brands
That’s the idea behind our iOKids Platform. We engage parents to give them confidence in their children’s safety and for COPPA compliance. Parents using the iOKids app can verify their identity, set up their kids’ accounts, and then manage who their kids connect to for all social interactions on our platform. They can quickly see any privacy data being collected, stored and shared on their child. If a child is in timeout, parents can even temporarily mute access to an app or friend. Safety is paramount, of course, but because our platform is interactive, social and delivers a personalized experience, kids using it gain the skills to be inspired to invent their future.
The platform also offers benefits to companies looking to launch connected play experiences on a foundation of safety, privacy compliance and parental control. By linking to the iOKids Platform using our secure API, brands can receive the highest level of COPPA-compliant verifiable parent consent through a push notification to the parent. We can help brands build an engaging social experience for kids by leveraging our kids’ profiles, parental permissions and friends’ lists.
Choosing a cloud platform
As we developed the platform, we faced a decision that all IT startups face—which cloud provider to use? We did a market study that compared different cloud offerings across multiple criteria and decided that the IBM Cloud would best meet our needs. Its scalability and built-in security features tipped the scale for us, the latter especially important given the sensitive data we protect. But could we afford such a world-class service?
At the Techstars Patriot Boot Camp, we met an IBM advocate who introduced us to the Global Entrepreneur program. It was a perfect match for Dynepic. We gained access to the IBM Cloud, IBM Watson cognitive services and a developers’ community at a very reasonable cost. Our developers were ecstatic at the rich range of cognitive services, such as tone analysis and personality insights, they could build into the platform over time.
The IBM Cloud and Watson services will help power amazing and personalized play experiences in a parent-enabled ecosystem. If we do that successfully, kids will want to join, parents will rest easier and every brand will want to be there.
To hear more from Krissa Watry about Dynepic and the iOKids Platform, check out the video below: