Parental control arms race hots up for Wangle Technologies

Wangle Technologies ASX WGL Family Insites scheduling screen time

Online security specialist Wangle Technologies (ASX: WGL) has added new features to its parental control software suite, Wangle Family Insites (WFI), in order to enable parents to have better control over their children’s online activities.

WFI is currently available with a free 30-day trial via the Apple and Android App stores, targeting Australia’s 6 million families as its core addressable audience, with a “planned international expansion” planned in the foreseeable future.

Online parental controls aiming to stem the tide of growing cyberbullying and harassment is maturing into a sizeable market niche, currently worth US$1.4 billion and expected to grow to US$3.3 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 11.5%, according to Zion Market Research, a US-based research company.

Commercialising parental controls on the ASX

On the ASX, competition is hotting up with Wangle facing strong competition within the sector from Family Zone Cyber Safety (ASX: FZO), who recently signed an application reseller agreement deal with Alcatel that will see its parent control software installed on Alcatel’s upcoming range of smartphones in Australia and New Zealand.

Wangle says its new scheduling feature allows parents to set time-based limitations to their children’s internet access and cites a “major update” to the setup and configuration process in order to simplify how users interact with the platform.

Wangle Family Insites scheduling screen time
Scheduling screen time in Wangle Family Insites.

The company said it has also deployed major performance upgrades to the Wangle “VPN layer”, enabling quicker connections and improved stability of its software architecture.

Possibly, most important for parents and users of its parental control service, is the that WFI now supports iPhone X devices, the latest Apple mobile device used by many parents and children alike.

According to customer feedback, the biggest bugbear for parents when managing their children’s internet use is out-of-hours usage, such as late-night web browsing.

The company reports that parents are predominantly worried about how excessive and mistimed internet use can affect sleep habits and in turn, behavioural and developmental impacts that are often associated with reduced sleep and “excessive screen time”.

According to Wangle, its scheduling feature can eliminate these concerns by providing parents with a full-proof way of setting defined time periods that the internet will be available on children’s devices, with the WFI network prohibiting access outside of specified times.

following customer consultations, another aspect identified by Wangle was the fact that parents often had trouble setting up and configuring WFI, saying that they found it “challenging”.

One of the ways Wangle has simplified how potential customers are introduced to its product is by offering a free trial and passing the onus for users to subscribe right to the very end of their 2-week trial period, rather than setting this option at the beginning.

Wangle says that tweaking its sign-up methodology is likely to “significantly improve” the free trial to subscription ratio for WFI.

In addition to front-end usability and subscription tweaks, Wangle also reports that its implemented technical changes have led to a 27% improvement in the speed of WFI’s operation.

“Updates to the VPN tunnel include improved network switching capability which allows faster network response to outages,” the company said.

Additional changes to the VPN network configuration have been undertaken to allow better management of network capacity on demand, allowing faster reductions or increases in capacity as required and facilitating a substantial reduction in operating costs of the network.

“This release is a significant step forward for Wangle Family Insites. Managing screen time has emerged as one of the key challenges for parents in their day to day management of their children’s time online. Introducing the Scheduling feature gives parents the help they have requested to address this challenge, and the improved performance of our underlying network enhances the overall experience for both children and parents,” said Sean Smith, CEO of Wangle Technologies.

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