Sunnyvale, Calif. –Startup Ambit Networks plans summertime shipments of its first product, a kid’s smart watch that helps parents keep tabs on their kids in large public locations such as parks.
The $129 AmbyGear smart watch combines built-in GPS with long-range Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities to alert a parent’s smartphone that a kid wandered outside a specified range. The watch’s Bluetooth range has been extended by Ambit to up to 250 meters, and Wi-Fi Direct range is up to 200 meters. If the watch is beyond Wi-Fi-Direct and Bluetooth range, it looks for an open Wi-Fi network.
Via GPS coordinates transmitted from the watch over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, an AmbyGear app running on a parent’s iOS or Android phone guides the parent to the child. The watch also guides kids to their parents.
The app delivers geofencing alerts and enables text messaging direct to the watch. From the waterproof and shock-resistant watch, kids can initiate emergency alerts and send short replies to text messages. Battery life is up to seven days, and the battery charges wirelessly.
The watch itself downloads apps and games that “drive good habits, encourage physical activity and promote responsibility, commitment and kindness in children,” the company said. Lessons include keeping commitments, being on time, and knowing your surroundings through activities such as scavenger hunts and geocaching, Ambit said.
AmbyGear launched an Indiegogo campaign to allow parents to preorder the Smart Watch at an introductory launch price of $99.
CEO/founder Patrick Muggler said the company will sell initially through its web site and its Amazon store, with fulfillment by Amazon. The company is also looking at the possibility of partnering with cellphone carriers and releasing a version with cellphone connectivity to distribute through carriers.
A potential third channel is rentals at amusement parks, museums, zoo, family resort hotels [and other high-traffic] places “where parents might want to give their child more room to run around but still be connected," he said.
The watch “is ideal for locations that have a set boundary but are too large for parents to monitor kids by eyesight,” he said. “Imagine that you can have your little ones running around and you know where they are so you can sit at the café and don’t have to be standing in a line for a ride. When it is time for lunch or to go home, you can send a text message and meet your kids in a designated area. The built-in GPS on AmbyGear will guide your kids to you."
Muggler has 15 years of experience in the semiconductor and electronics business, including IC design, application support, business development, and product marketing. He worked at Texas Instruments, Maxim Integrated, Intersil and Power-One. He also helped such companies as Nokia, Apple, Sony, Samsung, LG, HTC, and Sharp design audio back-ends in mobile phones, TVs and other consumer electronics.
COO and co-founder Arun Sharma has 14 years of experience in the semiconductor industry from IC design to product-line management for such companies such as Texas Instrument, Conexant and Audience.