IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Exclusive interview: Elanation battles child obesity & anxiety with tech

By Julia Gabel
Fri 2 Jun 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The idea of Elanation, a lifestyle technology specifically for children, was conceived in India.

Co-founder and CEO, Katherine Maree Pace, saw a child hunched over an iPad and thought - something needs to be done about the epidemic of child obesity and technology addition that is all too common in Australia and New Zealand.

So, the Elanation ETURBO smart watch was born. Pitching to parents and children, the watch aims to balance physical activity with digital engagement; encouraging children to get outside and earn points through physical activity that they can redeem in the app's virtual world.

The other half of Elanation is Aimme Atkins, the original Dorothy the Dinosaur from the Wiggles, who brings 20 years-experience in children's products and entertainment to the company.

Her previous ventures include Bananas in Pyjamas and Bob the Builder. Where Pace brings a passion for technology, product design and engineering, Aimme is passionate about the rise of child obesity as a result of technology addiction.

Pace met Aitkens at the wedding of “dirtgirl”, the protagonist of the Australian television show, dirtgirlworld.

“To meet another woman who was young, and building her own thing and was on a life mission was very rare,” says Pace.

Pace, who spoke at the AWS Summit in Auckland this week, discusses technology addiction among children, balancing physical play with virtual play and the problem with giving adult technology to children.  

You will launch in the United States later in the year, what expectations do you have for this market in comparison to the New Zealand and Australian markets?

Faster adoption. Americans have a real give it a go attitude and that’s going to be fantastic.

Families are becoming more and more international and it’s fantastic because we are leveraging the internet. The reason Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet is was to help connect people in a fun, healthy way, and that’s what we’re leveraging.

Now, we can say kids in Australia can play against kids in New Zealand. Maybe that’s because it’s the All Blacks VS the Waratahs and they think that I can see that happening in the adult world and now we can assimilate that in the digital world.  

Considering the recommended time kids should spend exposed to technology, and considering the role of Elanation technology in their daily lives, would your technology ideally become a replacement for that other technology?

We have parents today who say they don’t let their kids on the internet during the week, but they let them on Elanation. That’s the whole point. We know the daily recommended step count for kids is about 10,000, depending on gender, and that’s why the goals are all driven by the health standards.

In terms of screen time, our game time is capped daily at 30 minutes. We’ve already built it so the kids are putting down the app after 15 minutes because they unlock a video, they see the cool skill and think, I want to go outside and try that.

78% of kids who search the internet for content end up frustrated, confused or anxious because that sea of content is so overwhelming. Usually, between the ages of 5-12, they haven’t developed the cognitive skills to deal with this idea of: What am I going to search? Am I going to be cool if I search that?  

What is everybody else in my class searching?

They are self-evolving and becoming more self-aware. They are identifying the things that they like and that they don’t like and so handing them a Google search bar is really overwhelming.

We are curating it, so they don’t feel anxious that they must click on everything. They can go outside and try new things and talk to their friends about it and show their friends on the playground.

Yes. Search engines can be dangerous for children from a cyber security perspective as well. How do you ensure your product is safe?

The whole thing is built inside an app. There is no web portal, so children access the app and stay within the app, unless they close our app and go to another one. It’s all very confined.

In terms of privacy, we take no private information about children. We have no GPS tracking. Children should be able to stay anonymous on the internet. We don’t have photo sharing, we don’t need your name, we don’t need to know where you live.

We just want to know if you prefer cricket videos over rugby videos.

So, that’s one pitch to the parents. But, how else, from a marketing perspective, do you sell this product to the parents and the children?

It’s like a two-sided marketplace. We are educating the parents through blogs, speeches and PR interviews. For the kids, we partner with schools and parents and friends’ committees. They can sell ETURBO’s inside the school and the percentage of the sale goes back to school.

For kids, we just hang out with kids. Word of mouth works well. We work with YouTube celebrities, kids, who will have a million plus followers. When they like the product they do an unboxing video and suddenly, you’ve got about 250,000 new users.

In terms of balancing the physical and the digital world, how do you entice a child that loves video games but doesn’t love the physical world as much, and vice versa. How do you appeal to both in the way you balance your virtual and physical content?

When a kid is between 5-12, they are discovering their likes and dislikes, but more importantly they are discovering themselves and their place in society. And that starts in the playground. Even if a kid really likes sport or gaming, what they like even more than that is being friends with the kids in their class.

For us its more about that: How do you merge the physical and digital world so kids can all be friends?

We don’t want to see a divide on the playground because of that. But, it’s happening because we are continually giving them adult technology.

What role did AWS (Amazon Web Services) play in the launch of Elanation?

AWS has been super supportive in understanding we’re not just building a product, we’re building a business. Even events like today, being able to stand on a stage in front of 2000 people is really useful for a start-up.  AWS is building a myriad of modules; they deploy 2-3 new modules every day.

I might find a problem and I’ll go to AWS and say, there is this problem, what technology have you already built that we can leverage to solve that problem? If we need to personalise any of it, we’ll do that on top, but we don’t build from scratch. That’s so we can move in an agile manner, and help kids as soon as possible because obesity is already a problem.

What advice do you have for aspiring Australian and New Zealand entrepreneurs and start-ups?

Solve a problem for another human being. And solve a problem that another human being is willing to pay for. You can get very wrapped up in building a completely new product from scratch, which is really exciting, and you will learn something, but it’s the difference between building a product and business.

Oh, and have fun. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
Informatica, Oracle enter strategic global cloud partnership
Oracle named Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and data governance for data warehouse and lakehouse solutions on OCI. 
Story image
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
MedCart achieves close to AUD$10 million in sales with help from Marketplacer tech
Australian health and medical start-up MedCart has achieved annual sales of close to AUD$10 million in less than 12 months, utilising Marketplacer marketplace technology to help achieve successful results.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Harnessing digital innovations to maximise loyalty programmes and improve CX
When it comes to the retail sector, merchants have never had access to so many different client touchpoints and data to understand their customers better.
Story image
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.
Story image
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Women in Technology
Huawei webinar emphasises the importance of women in tech
Industry findings by Coursera discussed as part of a webinar jointly organised by Huawei and Reuters Events found 6% more women enrolled in tech courses this year than in 2021.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
Alteryx releases updates, empowers data insights for enterprise
Alteryx has released new advancements designed to aid enterprises with cloud analytics, democratise insights and ensure data governance.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Customer experience
Phone, internet complaints increase for first time in five quarters
Phone and internet complaints have increased for the first time in five quarters, according to a new telco report from the Ombudsman.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
The paradox of change, and how to get around it
The business decision to technologically transform should not come from an IT department but from the business itself.
Story image
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.