A smartphone for an 11 year old? According to Statista (paid account required), most children are allowed to have their first cell phone by the ages of 11-12. One percent get their own phone as early as between one and two years old.
Long gone are the days of adolescence being marked by staying home alone or having your curfew lifted. In our tech-driven, mobile-first society, getting your first smartphone is the new rite of passage signaling one’s transition from childhood into adolescence. For these individuals, receiving a smartphone provides a newfound sense of mobility, constant connectivity and above all, social independence.
Family Safety is Paramount
For the parent that has just given in to their child’s pleas for a smartphone, they now must decide how and to what degree they will be managing screen time, app usage and all the other smartphone-based content that is now available to their child. As a result, consumer demand for digital lifestyle solutions such as family location services, parental controls and device security has surged in recent years.
The Family Safety Opportunity for MNOs
As a provider of wireless service access and, in several cases, smartphones as well, mobile network operators (MNOs) have to be ready to capitalize on this growing demand. However, despite this competitive advantage, subscriber adoptions of MNO-provided family safety services haven’t met expectations. This is due to limitations in functionality and clunky UX. On the other hand, alternative OTT services have succeeded where (MNOs) have not. Due to their superior functionality and usability, alternative OTT services have gained a foothold in the market. When combined with the growing family safety functionality that both Google and Apple are integrating into their operating systems, the current landscape in the digital safety arena no longer favors MNOs.
However all hope is not lost. In order for MNOs to reclaim market share and reassert their digital safety solutions, MNOs must provide the following:
- Comprehensive functionality within the same user interface (e.g. family location, parental controls, device security and support for wearables all in one app)
- An enjoyable and easy to use experience for the whole family
- Real-time positioning that is accurate and enables automatic, location-based notifications without significant battery impact
- Family-wide safety alerts
- Full functionality across both cellular and Wi-Fi networks
- Complete, bi-directional support for both Android and iOS (Android devices can be managed by iOS devices and vice versa)
US-based mobile operator, Sprint, has just unveiled its very own digital lifestyle application called Safe & Found that checks all the above boxes. Sprint’s application is based on Smith Micro’s SafePath® Family platform. Safe & Found was recently featured on the popular tech news network Cheddar. Please check out the Cheddar interview with Safe & Found’s product manager, to see how Sprint is delivering enhanced subscriber value with a family safety offering that is truly robust.