Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TouchBase - Using Social Media to Reinvent Family Relations

Since Google Maps and Foursquare, Geolocation Technology has been on the rise. There are even games that play around with real places based on geolocation checkins such as TapCity (Do check it out, it's pretty darn cool, and it's now available in the iPhone app store!)

Many stats indicate that Geolocation Technology will worth more than $10 billion by 2016.

Conversation Media took advantage of this new rising technology to bring to us its new product: TouchBase.

Simply put, TouchBase is an mobile/web application that uses Geolocation Technology to allow children to check-in with their parents.

You must be thinking, what the heck? This is the first step to pushing for parent stalking. Or better, yet, why should us kids care (of course, I'm assuming all parents will be for this type of technology.) 

Here are 4 reasons to convince you otherwise:

1. It's Trust not Track
TouchBase is based on the idea of building trust. Every check-in is voluntary, (although as a parent you can request a check-ing, but it's not compulsory that the children must respond.)

2. Reinventing Family Relations - No more questions; fulfilling the basic need to know.
It's the idea of letting children go off on their own, no more big brother watching, but it fulfills parents' most needed questions: Who are you with? Where are you? Are you really there? TouchBase helps removes all those tedious questions that instigate argument. 

Note: They are still in development, so the "Who you're with" section (much like how it works in FourSquare) is not yet intact.

3. It's the Little Reassurance that Matters
Breaking news, children lie. With Geolocation Technology, parents know for sure their children are where they say they are (well, of course there are bound to be ways to work around that... like go to the spot just to check-in for a lie...but let's stay optimistic here.)

4. Positive Reinforcement (is, and almost always is, the way to go).
TouchBase also incorporates a point system. For example, every time a child decides to check in to let his parents know where he is, he receives a point. The positive reinforcement here on the parents' side is quite flexible. They can for example say that their children can stay out a few hours later for 20 points, or get a new laptop for 100, or a new car for 500 and etc.

What's the difference with this and texting?
Some parents are comfortable with a text from their children late at night, some aren't. The question comes down to: how do you really know they are where they are or with who they say they're with? The doubt usually eats parents inside out and lead to argument. Commonly, parents ask again all the question they ask when the child gets home = annoying, downplaying trust = bad relations.

How is this different from existing Geolocation Technologies such as Foursquare, Google Latitude, or SCVNG?
It focuses specifically to foster family communication and integration.

I am anxious to see what happens when TouchBase is in full-throttle after all its development is in place. Personally, I have a visual image of it as the TV ads of Verizon Family & Friends.

I would really like to hear what you think of this product, especially if you're a parent. Do leave me comments :).

Information in courtesy of Jason, marketing intern at TouchBase, Boston. If you are interested in this application or have further questions, please feel free to contact Jason at

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