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Many parents use apps to keep tabs on their children starting the day those children get their first smartphones.
Working parents can see that their children got on the bus in the morning and check on them after school, without needing to call or text. Parents of new drivers can have peace of mind knowing their children arrived safely where they said they would go.
But what about younger children who don’t have a smartphone?
That’s where WatchOver comes in. It’s like a guardian angel for children between the ages of two and 10.
WatchOver is a GPS tracker in a watch that enables parents to locate children through a smartphone app. For example, if a child were to get lost at a zoo or amusement park, a parent would be able to find out quickly where that child is.
What sets WatchOver apart is its safety insight. It incorporates current, local news so parents know what is going on in the vicinity of their children.
Software Productivity Strategists (SPS) developed WatchOver using IBM Bluemix, incorporating the Watson Alchemy Data News API. The back end is a node.js app hosted on the Bluemix cloud, using the IBM Bluemix Internet of Things (IoT) Foundation and the Geo-Spatial Analytics service.
When a boundary is crossed
The app shows the current location of the children on a Google Map, but it does not require constant monitoring. Parents create a boundary using geo-fences and receive a push notification when a child crosses a boundary.
WatchOver filters news from sources all over the world and notifies parents in real time if something occurs that might have an impact on their children.
Keeping parents informed
Every parent’s worst nightmare is a security incident at their child’s school. For example, imagine a bomb threat at an elementary school. Many parents wouldn’t even know something is amiss. The parent tracking their child’s whereabouts with a regular smartphone would see that the child left the school in the middle of the day, but have no idea why. It wouldn’t be long before panic set in. Phone lines could be tied up. If they’re lucky, parents would receive an automated message dispatched before everyone evacuated.
The parent whose child was wearing a WatchOver device would see that their child crossed the geofence boundary and have access to data parsed and identified by Watson explaining what is going on.
Furthermore, the GPS tracker watch has both call receiving and dialing capabilities, as well as an SOS feature. In case of emergency, when the child presses the SOS button, it launches a call and message to three primary numbers registered as emergency contacts.
Peace of mind
Parents using WatchOver’s GPS tracker watch can speak to their children and learn that they are being moved to a reunification site, which the parent can see on the map in their WatchOver app.
SPS originally created WatchOver as an entry in a global, Avnet-sponsored virtual hackathon. SPS sought a platform that would enable it to quickly build a system that includes an IoT device, a back-end app using cognitive algorithms to analyze unstructured data and a mobile app.
The essential foundation
It would not have been possible to build the GPS tracker watch over the 19-day hackathon without Bluemix. The Watson cognitive algorithms used are not available on any other platform, and the ability to analyze the local news and alert parents is one of WatchOver’s key differentiators.
SPS won the hackathon, beating 100 other contestants.
Learn more about WatchOver.
Both Paul Lebar and Sadia Ashraf, WatchOver’s lead developer, were named IBM Cloud Champions for 2017. The IBM Champion program recognizes innovative thought leaders in the technical community who influence and mentor others to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services