Parents with children in childcare can now participate in live updates on the well-being of their children during a day – even if they are working interstate. An App developed by Melbourne software company Xap Technologies enables parents to get real time updates of a child’s daily activities via their phone.
Traditionally, they would have to wait until the end of the day to read a manually collated log when they arrived to collect their child. Or if on a business trip, they’d simply miss out until they got home. No longer. “I sit at my desk and get updates on when my son slept, what he ate, and even photos of funny things he does, every day,” said Xap Technologies founder Ruchir Parekh. Parekh came up with the idea after picking up his young son from childcare.
“When I got home my wife asked what he’d eaten during the day.” He said. “And I’d forgotten to grab the paper from his diary”. “My company built vast software platforms for some of Australia’s biggest companies. So I thought there had to be a better way for parents to get and share information on their kids whilst at childcare.
Now I can watch what he is doing in Melbourne, even when I’m in Sydney for work.” Parents can follow updates as often as they want during the day by downloading the Kids Xap app on their phone. “Financial realities often force parents back to work reluctantly,” said Xap Technologies CEO Tom Jamieson.
“With Kids Xap mums and dads can feel closer and more in touch with milestones and day-to-day events in their child’s life that they’d otherwise miss out on due to work commitments.”
“It is not only children who are anxious when they are first dropped off at a child care centre. There is often plenty of anxiety from parents. The App not only gives a parent comfort but also a sense of connection and control.”
Kids Xap also has a business application. It helps childcare centres improve efficiency by dealing with increasing industry regulation, operating issues, financial reporting and staff management.
“Labour costs make up more than 60% of total expenditure in some centres – by far the largest cost for a centre.” Jamieson added. “Our technology saves a centre up to $40,000 a year in staff costs. It also increases working productivity and reduces paperwork. Kids Xap closes up inefficiencies. The administration of many centres is still surprisingly manual, and that leads to a lot of unnecessary double handling. We help centres minimize administration time, which means staff can devote more focus onto the children in their care.”
Federal Government figures released recently as part of the mid-year budget update, estimated that Australia will need more than 1600 new long day care centres by 2020. “The industry’s annual dollar growth is strong,” Jamieson said.
“But a recent report on the child care industry by IBISWorld says it will grow by just 5.8% over the five years through to 2021-22. That will not keep up with demand.” “In many areas it is already difficult to get your child into day care or preschool. In four years it will be even more challenging.”
The Kids Xap technology automates processes, which allows centres to redeploy staff more effectively. With widespread adoption by centres, Kids Xap would help alleviate increases in childcare fees. A recent Federal Government report forecast a rise in childcare fees by 22 per cent over the next four years.
This would increase fees to $223 a day in Sydney, $175 in Melbourne, $157 in Brisbane, $152 in Canberra and $138 in Adelaide. Despite having launched as recently as the middle of last year Kids Xap has already captured substantial market share in Australia. “Our growth continues to accelerate.” Jamieson noted.
“Industry regulation is increasingly onerous. The need to meet new national standards for staff ratios and qualification requirements places significant compliance costs on existing operators.” “Additionally, there are three levels of government regulations to comply with – federal, state and local.
New entrants must integrate with the federal government’s Child Care Management System to receive Child Care benefit fee payments. For potential centres there is also the cost of purchasing or building a centre, and the cost of equipment – and that’s before they start incurring running costs.” Melanie Colwell, the Director of the Dorset Early Learning and Kindergarten in Croydon, Melbourne, is a convert.
“Before Kids Xap our office was filled with paperwork. We’ve been completely transformed. Our document storage has been reduced, our general office work is now stored in the cloud, and information that used to be handed out as a notice is now managed online through the app.”
“I must admit change is always hard and I have been here 15 years. I approached the transition with some apprehension, but in the end I needed have worried – it was seamless. Sometimes change is for the good, but for us, moving over to Kids Xap was great.”