myFirst and PCCW Global
Getting kids connected: myFirst’s wearable smartphone was designed with kids in mind, and with Ericsson IoT Accelerator, PCCW Global made the product more parent-friendly by making it easier to connect and manage.
What sparked the idea to develop a kids’ tech company? For myFirst CEO, G Jay Yong, the inspiration came naturally. “The first thing we made was a kids’ camera because when my daughter was two years old, she wanted to take pictures with my DSLR camera, but it was too heavy for her,” he explained. “We thought: why don’t we design for the next generation? That’s how we formed the myFirst brand.”
From there, ideas kept coming. MyFirst now offers a range of electronic toys for kids, from cameras to electric sketchpads, and even 3D drawing pens. Their latest offering, however, is the one Yong credits for elevating myFirst from an electronics company to a tech company. MyFirst Fone is a smartphone that can be worn as a watch, designed specifically for kids ages 6to 12.
The earliest models of myFirst’s smartphone weren’t connected straight out of the box. Parents needed to purchase a SIM card from a local communications service provider (CSP) to connect the device. Yong says this not only limited his company’s plans for expansion, but it made the product less appealing for parents and kids, who both wanted a product that would be ready to use right out of the box. For kids, it would let them play with their new phone sooner, while for parents, it would be more convenient for the device to be connection-ready without a trip to buy a SIM card.
To make the product more appealing and easier to use, myFirst had to ensure their devices could be connected straight out of the box. Not only did they need to find a CSP who could deliver a strong, reliable 4G connection, but they also were looking for one who could offer global connectivity.
Thanks to Ericsson’s award-winning IoT Accelerator platform offered through PCCW Global’s Console Connect IoT, myFirst can now ship new smartphones with pre-installed SIM cards. Upon arrival of a new device, customers can activate it with a simple scan of a QR code.. Through Subscription Inventory and API, PCCW Global has full control of the activation or deactivation of each SIM card. The operator says that IoT Accelerator enhances the customer experience, while can help the business save money and prevent fraud.
MyFirst customers pay a monthly subscription fee, rather than paying for their actual data usage. With the Monitoring features such as Real-time Diagnostics and Analytics in the IoT Accelerator platform, myFirst can track in real-time how much data is being used. Every user has an assigned average usage, and if that amount is exceeded, myFirst will receive an alert via the Trigger Management functionality, allowing the company to investigate whether a device is being used improperly and disconnect it from the network, if necessary. Similarly, Trigger Management will send PCCW Global a "different from assigned device" alert if a SIM card is removed and used to connect other devices.
While it’s still too early to tell how myFirst’s adoption of cellular IoT technology has impacted their business, the company already shipped their first 3,000 units of a new, IoT connected smartphone in late January of 2022. Thanks to their remote activation capabilities and PCCW Global’s 4G network, myFirst is planning to serve a larger, international population.
“Now, we can expand to other countries, and now we have more confidence that we will get a lot of subscribers in different countries. This year we’ll be expanding to Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and other countries,” Yong said.
For myFirst, encouraging good health and well-being among their users was a priority. This wearable smartphone doubles as a fitness tracker, monitoring its user’s heart rate and movement. The phone also gives special badges to users for meeting fitness milestones, which gives exercise a fun and positive connotation for the next generation.