I’m worried about leaving my child alone, but I’m also worried about having a smartphone from a young age. To answer such concerns, Carmate created the GPS “coneco” with a message function. Why did the company, which was originally an automobile equipment manufacturer, develop a watching product for children? Here is the background.

I’m worried about having a smartphone since I was little …

“When do you give your child a smartphone?” This is an annoying question. The smartphone penetration rate of elementary school students is increasing year by year, and it is becoming commonplace to have it from a young age because of reasons such as “beginning to attend cram schools and lessons” and “worried about going back and forth between schools”.

However, at the same time, there are concerns about having a smartphone. According to a survey by Carmate, there were many voices such as “Isn’t it used for a long time due to videos and games?” And “Isn’t it possible to connect with strangers via SNS and cause an incident?”

I’m worried that I won’t be able to get in touch with my child. However, I’m worried about handing over my smartphone from an early age. The product that was created to address both of these concerns is the GPS “coneco” with a message function.

  • message function of coneco

The lightweight coneco, which weighs 64 grams, is equipped with an electronic paper display as well as knowing the child’s whereabouts and movement route by GPS, and said “I’m going back, I’m a little late” sent from my smartphone. You can display a message.

  • Know real-time child location information and travel routes

In order to eliminate difficult operations for younger children, the reply from coneco is designed to select a pre-registered fixed phrase. All the child has to do is press a button and select a message such as “I’m waiting” or “OK!”. This fixed phrase can be changed from the smartphone app.

  • Even children can easily receive messages and reply to fixed phrases

Smartphones are expensive and there are many “temptations” for children. Until now, GPS for children only knows where you are, and cannot be used for small communications. It is coneco that has taken the best of both worlds.

Commitment to safety shown by a group of engineers

GPS “coneco” with message function developed for elementary school students who are reluctant to have a smartphone. This product has a unique background. It was developed by Carmate, the largest manufacturer of automobile supplies in Japan. Why did you make a product that is not related to cars? Taro Higashio, general manager of the company’s gadget & app group, said:

  • Carmate Co., Ltd.
    Gadget & App Group General Manager
    Mr. Taro Higashio

“As self-driving cars are attracting attention,” communication technology “will be an indispensable function for next-generation cars. Therefore, in order to acquire the latest communication technology, first of all, society regardless of car We wanted to create a product that would be useful for us. Surprisingly, our company was developing the first “FLUX” binding for a Japanese brand in the early days of snowboarding. In this way, product planning has a free culture of “creating the things that the person in charge wanted to make.” Coneco was one of them. “(Mr. Higashio)

In fact, the small coneco has the latest communication technology. The communication standard “LTE-M” for the IoT (Internet of Things) is suitable for communication while moving, and stabilizes the connection even if a child gets on the Shinkansen. Power consumption is also extremely energy saving. Thanks to that, the battery can last a long time.

Furthermore, coneco also uses a technology called “SoftSIM”. Smartphones are usually used after inserting a “SIM card” in which phone number information is registered, but with SoftSIM, information for communication can be written without using such a physical card or chip. Since there is no hole for inserting the card, the waterproof performance is improved by that amount, and there are also merits in terms of impact resistance and cost.

Utilization of such communication technology, which is a new challenge for Carmate, was realized with the cooperation of IIJ, which started the Internet business for the first time in Japan.

However, when it comes to “protecting children’s safety,” Carmate has been working on it for many years, says Hitoshi Yaji, a gadget and app group planner.

  • Carmate Co., Ltd.
    Gadgets & App Group
    Mr. Hitoshi Yaji, a planner

“There are many products that use communication technology, but I came up with” GPS for children “from various ideas because it fits our desire to” protect children’s safety. “Wearing a child seat in 2000. Was required by law, but Carmate first developed child seats long before that in 1986. Engineers at the time were members of the JIS standardization committee to promote safe child seats. We also worked on creating standards. We are also developing strollers, and we have been working on making products to protect the safety of children for many years. ”(Mr. Meikoya)

Our corporate culture as an automobile equipment manufacturer is strongly reflected in our commitment to safety. This is because there is a higher risk of life-threatening situations than ordinary daily necessities. The number of accidents in which smartphones and mobile batteries ignite due to strong impact or pressure is increasing year by year, but coneco uses “non-ignition type lipo batteries” so that children can have them with peace of mind.

Get sympathy with crowdfunding

  • Successful project with crowdfunding “Makuake”

coneco has succeeded in the project with “Makuake”, one of the largest crowdfunding services in Japan. Such supportive comments are lined up.

“I was wondering whether to use a smartphone, but I decided because it is a function that my child can use.”
“I used GPS to find out where my younger children were, but I was hungry for something to exchange messages with!”
“I was thinking about using a smartphone because I sometimes make my child cry when I pick up and drop off, but I gave up when I heard that extra functions could cause trouble. At that time, I would like to find coneco and support it. thought”

Mr. Najiya is happy to get the answer he expected.

“I interviewed a female employee in the company at the planning stage, but there was a voice saying,’If you are late for work, you will worry your child.’ By proposing a product to the world in the form of crowdfunding. I feel that there were so many people who had the same problems. In the future, I would like to develop other than sales channels for car accessories through coneco and deliver the value of Carmate’s manufacturing to as many people as possible. Masu “(Mr. Meikoya)

Regarding future developments, Mr. Higashio talks as follows.

“Coneco is a subscription-type service, so we are planning to improve the app step by step to make it easier to use. And, based on the communication technology cultivated in coneco, we will use it as a” private car watching function “. We will apply it and lead to further safe and secure manufacturing. “(Mr. Higashio)

  • coneco

The GPS “coneco” with a message function, created by an automobile equipment manufacturer that continues to focus on safety, began selling on Carmate’s EC site on November 24, 2020.

  • Carmate

Know where your child is
Can send and receive messages
GPS “coneco” that conveys your feelings

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[PR]Provided by: Internet Initiative Japan