The demand for Baby Tech products and services is growing exponentially. A tech-savvy generation of Millennial parents is seeking modern digital solutions to the age-old issue of raising children.
In this article, we take a closer look at the opportunities that the novel industry offers to startups, highlight projects that made it big, and draw your attention to pivotal things to consider when developing new solutions for the Baby Tech sector.
Startups working in the Baby Tech sector usually target two main categories of users—expecting parents and families raising children. Pregnancy trackers, heart rate and breathing monitors, and EduTech solutions dominate the baby technology market.
Multiple monitoring systems and smart devices can track newborns and toddlers' health and safety and help parents take care of their babies. These include wearable oxygen and heart rate monitors, non-contact body temperature thermometers, connected scales, and smart breast pumps.
Examples of infant care solutions:
These Baby Tech solutions, which vary from robotic toys to AI-based educational platforms, are designed to boost children's cognitive and social skills:
These Baby Tech solutions allow parents to monitor their children's well-being, comfort, and whereabouts. There are smart car seats, air quality monitors, room temperature monitoring devices, connected natural light lamps, and GPS trackers in this market segment.
Some examples of remote baby monitoring solutions include:
This category includes solutions targeting future parents and women aiming to get pregnant:
Years ago, Baby Tech was considered a niche market with little startup funding—today, a higher number of investors want to get into this booming marketplace. According to Crunchbase, investors pumped $500 million into companies within the sector in 2013-2019. Here are some leaders in funding featured on Crunchbase:
Baby Tech solutions receive both investments and awards. Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the most influential tech event in the world, hosts the BabyTECH Summit, which focuses on tech innovation from fertility to pregnancy and birth. In 2019, the competition pool nearly doubled, showing an 88% increase in entries.
The best baby sleep and audience favorite solution at CES-2019 is the sleep monitor Miku, which tracks breathing, sounds, and sleeping patterns. Connecting to a smartphone, it plays sleep sounds and lullabies, streams real-time video and audio, and features HD video and photos.
The people’s most-liked solution from 2018 is the under-mattress fertility tracker Percent from EarlySense. The company created the first contact-free fertility monitor: the device connects to a smartphone and fits under a mattress. The solution tracks heart and breathing rates to predict fertility windows. The list of recent winners also includes a smart bassinet, sleep monitors, smart breast pumps, a smart bottle, a smart sock, location trackers, and smart toys.
Solutions that received both funding and praise take parenting to a new, smarter level. Many successful products free up time for busy parents yet help them stay proactive caregivers. With smart solutions, parents can make data-driven decisions for getting pregnant, feeding their child, and helping their child sleep and develop.
In case your technology company is eyeing the burgeoning Baby Tech market, here are a few things you should consider to make the process of product development go smoothly:
1. How you spend your resources. Like any startup, a Baby Tech company planning to launch a new, innovative product, may have a limited budget. Thus, we recommend that you include a Discovery Phase in the flow. This helps verify the concept, collect functional requirements to identify what the solution should do, assess implementation risks, functional health, and potential roadblocks, and spend your available resources wisely. The Discovery Phase identifies the mandatory set of features to release an MVP and provides sufficient information to present the solution to investors.
2. The expertise required to develop a Baby Tech solution. The tech stack depends on the project details and may vary drastically, whether you plan to release an e-learning platform, robotic toy, or smart bassinet.
If you aim to develop an IoT solution within the Baby Tech market, it’ll rely on four standard components: hardware, firmware, back-end infrastructure, and mobile applications.
3. Compliance with the regulatory standards. This can involve industry-specific standards and regulations, such as HITRUST, HIPAA, HL7, DICOM, ISO 13485:2016, FDA requirements, and European requirements for medical devices.
Baby Tech solutions handle sensitive data and can directly influence a child's well-being. Thus, consumer electronics companies that leave baby care devices vulnerable to cyberattacks put a child's health and life at risk. Following cybersecurity standards will help startups prevent security issues.
When developing a secure connected device, it is crucial to release updates of software and cloud infrastructure, equip the solution with strong authentication, and prohibit users from creating weak passwords. For maximum security, deploy end-to-end data encryption, and implement intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS) systems.
4. Time to market. There are three pillars of a successful product launch—on time, on budget, and up to specification. Innovative and new to the industry, Baby Tech solutions have a fourth pivotal factor—the necessity to come to the market faster than competitors. To help ensure this, Business Analysts can help startups identify technology roadblocks early in the development process and control the project scope to optimize time to market.
5. Choosing the right tech vendor(s). Few tech startups possess the expertise and human resources to create a baby care solution under one roof. You'll end up outsourcing the development of certain technology components underlying the logic of the Baby Tech solution to different vendors or hire a company that offers turnkey product development services. Both approaches have their benefits and downsides.
A smart connected baby care device has complex multi-faceted infrastructure, and it can be hard (and cost a fortune!) to find a company with outstanding niche expertise for all project areas. Thus, you may end up hiring a team with impressive hardware engineers and not so great mobile app developers. Another risk is dependence on the single partner in terms of budgets, human resources, and tech stack.
As for a multi-vendor environment, you’ll have to use a lot of effort to ensure smooth collaboration in teams, and identify and prevent incompatibilities in the technologies you’re using. While multiple suppliers need your coordination on different levels of product development, going with a single vendor means the latter will manage the process by itself.