Mobile apps allow parents, schools to keep track of kids

Tech October 28, 2014 01:00

By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation

9,571 Viewed

Singaporean solution monitors health, attendance; Thai device follows buses



A new market is opening up for software companies – mobile applications for schools.
Singapore’s JnrLink and Thailand’s Nugrean provide mobile solutions for kindergartens and primary schools. Among other things, they can allow schools and parents to keep track of their pupils to ensure they are healthy and safe, whether on the premises or on a school bus.
JnrLink has been introduced to the Thai market by Planet T Distribution, a business partner of Wong’s Group, the Singaporean developer of the app. 
Tay Lip Yong, development director of Planet T Distribution, said the company started working on school mobile solutions with Wong’s Group early this year and aimed to get 20-30 international schools using JnrLink within three years. 
“For this year, we aim to provide the JnrLink solution to about five schools,” he said. 
JnrLink gives schools a cloud database of students’ class attendance and other information, along with body temperature, and can communicate this information instantly to parents. It requires a smart handheld device, equipped with a flashlight, a thermometer, and an attendance monitor. 
“Schools can replace their traditional thermometers and sign-in/sign-out system with the electronic system provided by the JnrLink solution, which seamlessly collects student information and then seamlessly sends this information to the parent’s smartphone via a mobile app. This mobile app can be customised according to the school’s requirements, but behind the app is JnrLink’s solution,” Tay said.
Parents can download the app to their smartphones, on both iOS and Android platforms, to connect with the school’s cloud system where information on their child is easily accessible anywhere at any time. 
He added that the body-temperature feature could act as a warning to prevent an illness spreading in the school after a child develops a fever. 
“We approach schools with our partners, [which] are software companies and Internet service providers. We go together to provide solutions for the school. Our priority is international schools, of which there are over 100 throughout the country. We [hope] to have 30 schools using our solution  [within] three years. 
“As the next step, we will focus on Thai private schools. We charge schools under the subscription model,” he said, explaining that this was a monthly fee based on the number of students.
He added that JnrLink could be applied to other monitoring functions such as school-bus tracking and e-learning.
Meanwhile, a Thai start-up firm called East Code has also developed a mobile solution targeting schools, a school-bus-tracking app called Nugrean. This app was developed by a winning team in the “AIS The StartUp 2014” competition. 
Shotiwan Wattanalarp, 22, chief executive officer of East Code, said the company aimed to provide a bus-tracking solution empowered by beacon technology for kindergartens and primary schools in Bangkok first before expanding nationwide. 
The Nugrean solution consists of a beacon wristband, a tablet placed on the school bus, and a mobile application linked to a cloud-based system as a touch point between the school and the student’s parents. 
Communication between the beacon on the student’s wristband and the tablet on the bus is via Bluetooth low energy (BLE) 4.0. The information is immediately sent to the parent’s smartphone via the Nugrean app. Parents can track their children in real time throughout the bus’s route between school and home. 
“To implement the system, we provide the wearable device, the tablet, and the mobile app for the school. Schools would be charged on a subscription basis,” Shotiwan said.
In the future, he said, it would add more features apart from school-bus tracking. The company aims to have around 10 schools using Nugrean.
Before setting up East Code, Shotiwan was a co-founder of the team who developed the Locaze app, which uses Global Positioning System signals on Bangkok buses to tell people the cheapest and fastest way to travel in the city.