Centrip’s goal is to make the world a safer place for vulnerable and at-risk people during group activities at any scale. Together we worked towards deployment of the most reliable group tracking solution to support childcare professionals in overseeing groups of children.
The project started with a strong focus on user research. By interviewing different possible end-users we got a better understanding of the market and their needs. These insights led to a shift in market entry strategy as well as requirements for product development.
Product development and validation sprints
The development process was structured in multiple iterative design sprints, concluding with different levels of prototypes. My role in the project as ‘Product Owner’ and ‘designer’, in which I oversee the entire development process, set out the product development roadmap, select partners, user validation as well as ensuring that as many necessary materials (wearables, enclosures, branding, app visualisation) are developed in house.
For the hardware we worked closely together with an experienced IoT development partner.
Proof of principle
The first phase, proof-of-principle, focused on getting a good understanding of the use scenarios of the product as well as to integrate the different technologies into a working system with a limited number of devices (TRL3-5).
The second phase, proof-of-concept, compromises the work towards a system that can be tested with a group (up to 10 devices), focusing further on user acceptance and the total use flow was well as the technical development of a multitude of devices, allowing them to test the group network and exchange of information between devices (TRL 5-6).
User Experience and the Centrip app
Technology can be used as an advantage for teachers to oversee groups, at the same time we want as minimal interaction as possible with the devices or phone during playtime. We want teachers to have full attention for the kids, join in to play and not look at phones.
The hardware is setup as a self-regulating system that uses audio cues on the hardware to give the children cues to remain close to their teacher and stay away from possible danger (street).
Teachers can use the app to set-up a safe zone, either a moving or fixed radius around them, or use a polygon drawing tool to set up a custom safe zone. For example to map out the area of the playground, keeping kids safely away from water and traffic.
In the ‘overview tab’, teachers can see all devices on a map, their exact position and position in the safe zone. Most of the times, there are multiple teachers outside within one group. In the groups tab, the groups can be modified (devices added and removed). At the same time you can view the status of the different devices.
When a child leaves the safe zone, the hardware gives an audio cue to the child, at the same time the teacher gets a notification on the screen.
When playtime comes to an end, the teacher can send out a ‘gather’ signal to cue all kids to come back to the teacher.
The last stage will be the development of a standalone system (MVP) that can be tested in an operational environment without the involvement of Centrip, a strong focus will be on intuitive integration with the system as well all optimising the systems’ functionality and reliability (TRL 6-8). In parallel the product wil be further optimised for design for manufacturing and scaling.
Unfortunately the project was discontinued due to the COVID-19 outbreak. All childcare facilities and schools were closed for several months and therefore no product validation and testing could be performed.
Fun fact: During the COVID-19 crisis, the same technology was used by multiple competitors to achieve the exact opposite of this proposition: How to avoid people in a group being too close to each other. This proves that the technology was viable to achieve the goal, despite known limitations.