Location Labs has built a solid business with its location-finding and texting-while-driving prevention tools, which are powering the company to what it hopes will be an initial public offering. Now, the company is taking its idea of family security one step further by launching a Facebook online monitoring tool for parents, which will now be part of a suite of software safety tools.
The San Francisco company is branding its tools under the Safely name, which will encompass Safely Locate, a family locator service on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint and Safely Drive, which prevents people from texting while they’re driving and is available on T-Mobile and Sprint. To those existing tools, Location Labs is adding Safely Social Monitor, a service that lets parents make sure their children are using Facebook in a safe manner.
Safely Social Monitor will allow parents to see who their children are interacting with most on Facebook and what photos they upload. Parents can get alerts when their children are tagged in photos or use phrases or words that are inappropriate. Parents can do all this with a dashboard that easily visualizes a lot of the data and doesn’t require them to sign-into their children’s account. Safely Social Monitor is available for free for Sprint users, who will have early access for a limited time. The service will eventually be made available to subscribers on other carriers.
The Safely suite of products is part of Location Labs’ effort to build a sort of anti-virus protection for families. Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs, said the company is trying to address a spectrum of concerns for parents, from the first time they get their phones, to the time they go online and eventually to when they get behind the wheel of a car. Said Roumeliotis:
“The creation of Safely was a natural next step for Location Labs. Our team has been laser focused on addressing the needs of families with our mobile and location-based services. Keeping up with kids as they engage with new technologies like smartphones and Facebook is a daunting task for parents. Safely answers parents’ primal need to protect their families and gives them valuable services they can trust.”
While Location Labs is branding its services under one name, it’s not creating a bundle with reduced pricing for parents. That’s because the location finder and texting tools are distributed and billed through the carriers while Safely Social Monitor will be more of a direct-to-consumer product. The social service will remain free for families but Location Labs will look to add premium features like special alerts for parents.
It’s interesting to see how family location-based services can serve as part of a larger tool set for safety. Location Labs is betting that parents see all of these risks as part of one larger issue for their children as they grow up, with mobile and social being related threats. Competitor Life360 has also talked of offering more robust family protection by partnering with home security firms to surface safety data all on one dashboard. As I’ve mentioned before, location-based services aimed at security have a lot of opportunity as basic family utilities. And it seems like location protection can be part of a larger suite of products that can be marketed together in some interesting ways.