A parent’s horror story: my nephew was about three years old when my sister (and my parents) had the panic of her life. Whenever my sister would go out with my parents, she would have this false confidence that the kids would be all right. I mean, with three pairs of eyes watching over my nephew, what could possibly go wrong? So my sister was looking at some clothes at SM The Block when my mom – pale-faced – told her, “Atchie, Paul is missing!” It was the festive season, so there were a lot of people rushing to and from the lobby of The Block.
To cut the long story short, after 10 minutes of frantic searching and asking around, my nephew was accompanied by two nurses from the City Center – he crossed the bridge to the City Center by himself! – back to The Block. Ang cute pa naman ng nephew ko! Had it not been the two good souls who had found him, who knows what could have happened to him!?
Now with a super kulit two-year-old of my own, I want to make sure that nothing ever happens to my daughter. Without a nanny, my wife and I always have our eyes locked on our little tyke. And just to be extra sure, we got her a Lilo GPS watch so we could track her whenever we go out.
Ready for Trick-or-Treat!
Lilo (short for “Little Locator”) is a GPS watch that allows for voice call and voice messaging. It comes in a sturdy box with cute graphics that scream “Open me!” Inside, you’ll find the watch, a unique QR code for the watch, a quickstart user guide, and a long-nosed USB cord for charging.
Lilo watches come in four colors: black, white, blue, and pink. We chose black because we wanted a neutral color that would suit our daughter or either of us – parents can have a little fun with this device, too! The watch’s body is made of plastic with a glass screen and a rubber strap.
I find the device sturdy enough to handle abuse from my tot, but the screen isn’t scratch-proof (for its price point, you can’t expect Gorilla glass!). The watch may look a bit chunky, but it’s inconspicuous compared to your child carrying a smartphone.
I love how simple the instructions were as I set up the watch with the help of the user guide. After charging the watch for the prescribed number of hours, our Lilo watch was ready to go. Its battery life runs throughout the day, though to be sure, the developers advise charging daily as the watch constantly communicates its location.
The watch’s functions are accessible by swiping left or right on the screen. The developers made sure that the watch would not be a distraction to your child by only including the essentials (voice call and messaging), excluding games from its functions.
Lilo watches track your child’s location in three ways: GPS, WPS, and LBS.
Global Positioning System (GPS) works best when tracking devices in the open. If your child is on the go, count on GPS to provide pinpoint accuracy on him or her. Once the device is inside a building, however, the GPS could become inaccurate, if not unable to locate your child.
This is when Lilo’s Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) kicks in: using Wi-Fi routers inside a building, the device provides pin-point accuracy on your child’s location. Only when the WPS is unavailable (for example, when the area has weak or no signal) will Lilo resort to using Location-Based Service (LBS).
LBS makes use of the watch’s SIM to keep track of your child’s location. However, LBS tends to be inaccurate in the sense that it informs you of a general area rather than specifying the location. Other GPS watches only make use of GPS and LBS. WPS is a critical layer of tracking service that the team behind Lilo availed of to make sure that you find your child fast!
Aside from its WPS capability, Lilo has a user-friendly app that sets itself apart from other GPS watches. The app makes it easy to pair the watch. It also limits the people who can access the watch (and contact your child) by maintaining a preset list of contacts that you will input yourself. You can also set up an Alert Zone (for example, surrounding your child’s school premises) to notify you whenever your child leaves or enters the demarcated area.
The app also has a Do Not Disturb setting which prevents your child from calling or messaging you within a specified period, such as during his or her class time. During Do Not Disturb, the watch’s SOS button continues to work, so your child or his or her teacher can send a distress call to you in times of an emergency.
Additionally, the app comes with a Listening Tool that lets you listen in on your child’s surroundings in cases of emergencies or whenever you deem fit.
Finally, the app allows you to access technical support should you have any concerns or need to figure out something with your Lilo watch. Here, the developers gather feedback from its users to continuously improve the app. Overall, the Lilo App – just like everything else Lilo – is well-thought out to give non-techie parents the easiest time in using the device.
At Php3,990, some parents may feel like Lilo’s price is a bit steep. Chinese GPS watches are locally available for a little less than Lilo watches. “We’ve had instances where parents would complain that the app doesn’t work, only to find out that they were trying to pair their China watches to the Lilo app,” shares Lilo co-owner Marion Juan. (By the way, you can’t, because the location services and app are exclusive for Lilo watches.)
To me, Lilo is in the business of securing your most cherished treasure. What you’re actually paying for are its three-way tracking system, an intuitive multi-feature app, and locally available technical support. After all, there’s no price tag for your child’s safety.
Available at Lazada, select Rustan’s department stores, Toy Kingdom, and Toys R Us branches.