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Ericsson and PCCW Global IoT system enables easy connectivity
April 19, 2022
Singapore-based tech startup myFirst says it evolved from a kids electronics company to a tech company with its first wearable smartphone, the myFirst Fone R1, and while the wristwatch-based device was certainly a step up from the chunky digital cameras the company first sold, the Fone still had a ways to go on the connectivity front, requiring SIM cards to be purchased separately.
The recently released second-generation myFirst Fone, the R1s, is a different story. It comes connection-ready straight out of the box, thanks to a new IoT system based on Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform and PCCW Global’s Console Connect IoT service.
The R1s’ pre-installed SIM cards can be activated by simply scanning a QR code, giving the device access to PCCW’s 4G service almost anywhere in the world without the need to swap for a local SIM, according to PCCW, a leading international telecommunications provider.
The R1s is designed for children 6 to 12 and provides a wealth of new features not available on its predecessor. Many of these enhancements are sure to give parents peace of mind. Among them is a one-touch SOS feature that sends distress signals through an integrated SOS button. Once activated, the watch sends parents a location alert and a 30-second audio recording of surrounding sounds.
The wearable also includes a heart-rate monitor that tells the child to take a break if their heart rate exceeds a threshold set by parents, a “class mode” that prevents the child from playing with it during school hours and real-time GPS tracking and geofencing. An activity monitor is designed to encourage activity by awarding badges when personalized targets are met, and parents can set alarms with voice messages to remind kids of specific tasks, like returning library books or taking out the trash.
myFirst customers pay a flat monthly subscription fee, not for their data usage. The company can track usage through IoT Accelerator’s Monitoring features, and if a customer appears to be using the device improperly, by going over their allotted data, for example, MyFirst can disconnect them, Ericsson says.
So far, it’s too early to tell how successful myFirst’s adoption of cellular IoT tech will be, but judging by the rollout of the R1s, consumers are giving it a thumbs up. The first 3,000 units have already sold out, and plans are underway to expand from Singapore into Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and other countries on the back of PCCW’s network.
“Before, we were purely selling hardware. Now, we sell subscriptions and expand internationally,” myFirst CEO G. Jay Yong said. “We’re confident that we can get many subscribers in different countries because for a lot of parents, it’s not about cost, but it’s more about convenience, connectivity and a hassle-free experience.”
John Yellig has been a journalist for more than 20 years, writing and editing for a range of publications both in print and online. His primary coverage areas over the years have included criminal justice, politics, government, finance, real estate and technology.
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