A new video calling platform from Pansonic's Health & Wellness Solutions allows long-distance family members to read books and play games with children. of 2
(Photo : Panasonic)
(Photo : Panasonic)
Technology has made it easier than ever for family members to stay in touch with loved ones who are miles apart.
Parents can video chat with their children when they are away on business or vacation. Soldiers can stay involved in their children's lives when deployed overseas. Grandparents can check in on the little ones who they can't visit as often as they'd like. While video chatting makes this face to face communication possible, young kids might become distracted, unfocused or may simply not want to sit down and chat.
Enter Panasonic's new app called HomeTeam, which allows family members to stay connected with children by using books and games.
Panasonic's Health & Wellness Solutions wanted to create a platform targeted toward seniors that help them when they are feeling well instead of when they are ill. After two years of researching gaps in the technology market, they discovered that older generations are pretty underserved and they were looking to use technology to stay connected with their loved ones.
HomeTeamÂ is a video chat platform that combines video calling with reading books and playing games, allowing long-distance family members to connect with more a meaningful and interactive experience.
"We know that families are more dispersed than they used to be, so there is less of an opportunity to go over to grandma and play a game or have a book read, former Subway COO Steve Safier, who led the app's team, told Tech Times. "And we know that people want to talk to each other and stay part of each other's lives. We think it's a way for people to show love and stay connected from far away."
Sure, grandparents can simply video chat with their grandkids, but when asking them how their day was, the child might just give one-word answers and be disinterested.
"But when you give them a book to read or a game to play, that gives us an opportunity to maintain that engagement for a longer period of time over something that we like to do," Safier said.
The service displays the book the two are reading on the screen. When the grandparent turns the page, the page turns on the child's tablet. When they move a piece in Checkers, the piece moves on the other screen, too. While the book or game is the main focal point on the tablet, smartphone or Web screen, a video chat box is located to the side so the two parties can see each other.
Panasonic has partnered with recognizable brands such as DisneyÂ to provide Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar titles into the library that has almost 2,000 books that are curated by librarians to determine the best content by topic and age group, and classic games like Chess, flash card games for learning math and Word AventuresÂ for vocabulary.
"Parents tell us this is great because my parents used to read me a book and now my mom can read my child a book," he said.
(Photo : Panasonic)
Plus, the interface is easy to learn, even for those who aren't so tech savvy.
"We know that people are better with technology than we used to be at all ages," Safier said, "but we also know we are targeting grandparents and parents, but it was very important for us to create an experience that people would be comfortable with at all ages."
(Photo : HomeTeam)
The system has all the standard data protection so parents can be at ease as far as privacy concerns go. Users can only video chat with users who receive an invite from the initiator via email with an invite to join the platform. This means the parent can register under their name.
The HomeTeam app is available to download on Google PlayÂ and the iTunes App Store. Users get a free 30-day trial, followed by an $8.99 monthly fee and can include up to five family members per account.