Eye on Innovation: Tackling Screen Addiction

21 September 2018
Need a few moments of peace and quiet? Fancy a nice, old-fashioned pub lunch without chasing the toddler around the table legs? Tired of repeatedly rearranging your CD collection?

It’s a temptation almost all young parents have succumbed to – surely a few minutes in front of YouTube can’t hurt? – but “screen addiction” among the young (and not so young) is no laughing matter, and youth dependency on tablets and smartphones is having a widespread, societal impact. According to studies, our relationship with screens is rewiring our brains, resulting in shorter attention spans and superficial learning.

Enter Yoto, a recent participant at Innovation Warehouse’s Pitch Wednesday session, which aims to directly tackle the issue of tablet hypnosis and provide an alternative for parents who want their kids to be able to enjoy smart media, sans screen.

Yoto is, in its own words, “a clever speaker made for children, with a carefully curated library of physical cards that adapts and grows with your child over time.” Innovation Warehouse sat down with CEO and co-founder Ben Drury to discuss his innovative gadget.

Is there a genuine need for your product? What problem is it trying to solve and what is your solution?

Yes. As parents ourselves we wanted to give our kids access to great music and stories but without the need for a screen, and in a way that they could control physically.

Kids’ CD players weren’t the answer and the plastic toys from VTech, Fisher Price etc. also didn’t cut it. We thought there was an opportunity to create something based on emerging Internet of Things technologies that could be something quite new and compelling for families with children aged 0-8.

What is the window of opportunity?

I guess it starts from the time that a new family is created by the arrival of a new child. The evidence is pretty compelling that screen time is not a good thing for young children. Most national health bodies recommend no screen time at all for children under two, and limited screen time for all children.

Can you really compete with the likes of the iPad?

I would argue we’re not competing with the iPad at all. It’s something different. An iPad is essentially a screen and we’re a screen-free smart speaker for children.

What is your product’s lifetime value?

It should be way higher that any normal toy as we issue new content all the time and run frequent software updates. We expect the model to be similar to a Sony PlayStation in that the LTV is way higher than the price of the initial device purchase.

Are you selling to the parents or the kids?

Both. We talk a lot about duality in our marketing. It needs to be compelling to the kids but obviously the decision maker is the parent, ultimately. Hopefully we can appeal to both (and grandparents!).

Click here to learn more about the pitching process at Innovation Warehouse