Published: 28th December 2018
This pre-school chain founded by IIT-Delhi alumni has developed their own smartphone app for children's safety
Founded by Purvesh Sharma, Raj Singhal, and Ashish Aggarwal in 2012, Footprints Childcare, uses the latest developments in technology to ensure the children's safety and security
A spate of cases of sexual misconduct and bullying in the recent past have put the spotlight on the fact that the schools are not the safe haven they are supposed to be for children. An evident rise in such cases has left parents wondering about the security of their children. However, a daycare centre and play school chain in Delhi might have just found a solution to put an end to all their worries. With centres in 12 cities across India, Footprints Childcare has developed its own smartphone app, ParentConnect, which allows parents to monitor everything from their kids' learning to overall development.
Founded by Purvesh Sharma, Raj Singhal, and Ashish Aggarwal in 2012, Footprints Childcare, uses the latest developments in technology to ensure the children's safety and security. "Footprints came up with 'Live CCTV Feed' that parents could access from their mobile. This ensures that if we are saying there is a dance activity at 11 am on Thursday, we better do it and do it well. We have to maintain a student-teacher ratio as well since everything is being broadcast to the parents," says Raj Singhal, CEO, Footprints.
The CCTV live feed helped us develop an immediate bond of trust with the parents. But they were only interested in some key updates like ‘has my child eaten’ and ‘how much they have eaten’, slept and all the activities they did. We created Live Mobile Updates through which parents get these messages on the app. We kept adding more convenient features like – self-service portal, online payment, customer support on the app to make it easier for the parents
Raj Singhal, CEO, Footprints Childcare
A smart notification system in the app allows teachers to select data on tablet devices provided by the school. These notifications are sent to parents who can monitor the diet and learning milestones of their kids as well. The guard at the school is also equipped with a tablet with an app that generates an OTP on the mobile number of each visitor for access to the outdoor premises. Biometric system is integrated with access codes given to the parents and fingerprint enabled access for the teaching staff and kids. "The CCTV streaming’s are monitored by our in-house audit team to ensure all safety and security protocols are met. Our transport vehicles are GPS-enabled and can be tracked en route," adds Raj.
Footprints only employ female staff. Before joining, everyone has to go through a medical checkup along with a background check by a security agency. "There is a three-week training that each staff has to go through before joining," says Raj. Their app is active and running successfully on both Android and Ios platforms with over 10K downloads on Android.
When Raj and his wife, a CA, were frantically searching for daycare centres for his twins they couldn't find even one that provided decent services. Purvesh, Raj and Ashish, batchmates from IIT-Delhi, decided to build a daycare centre whose aim would be holistic development of a child. They inaugurated the first Footprints Childcare Center in Gurgaon in July 2012 and have over 80 centres across 12 cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.
Reinventing child safety: The first Footprints Childcare Center was inaugurated in Gurgaon in July 2012 and now they have 80 centres across the country
Footprints offers Indian parents an array of services at quite an affordable price as compared to the lavish daycare centres in the US or the UK. It costs about Rs 1.3 lakhs (approximately Rs 11,000 per month) excluding meals and about Rs 1.5 lakhs (Rs 12,500 per month) including meals at Footprints.
They plan to open up more childcare centres in Delhi, NCR, and all the other metros in the future. Given the advancement in technology, Raj says that most institutions can make use of it and help make the campuses safer. "There seems to be a reluctance to spend money on security and safety. I think in general our willingness to spend on education as a consumer is also in question. We want the best education for our children but when a school raises the fee, there is so much noise while the same person will go out in the evening and spend a ton on food and drinks. If we don’t pay our teachers well and expect them to teach just like that, we will not attract the best talent and that will eventually decrease the quality of education including safety and security on campus," concludes Raj.