Sunday, 18 October 2015 09:49

Review - Family Orbit for iOS and Android

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Family Orbit helps parents ensure their children are safe and sound and is free for up to three members. Business with travelling staff can also benefit.

Fans of the Harry Potter series will remember Mrs Weasley's magical family clock which kept her abreast of her family's well-being. Family Orbit, by AppObit LLC, provides a similar solution for the mobile-phone wielding, if non-magical, modern family.

From the Family Orbit web site you may download the free app for your preferred iOS or Android device. The app is free to purchase, but works on a subscription model There is a free plan for up to three family members, and a paid (premium) plan that allows you to include more people, up to 10. You get other advantages with the premium plan.

At its heart, Family Orbit allows you to see where your family members are, on a realtime map. While this functionality exists in the Apple "Find my iPhone" and "Find Friends" apps, Family Orbit is cross-platform bringing Android and iOS users together.

More than this, Family Orbit offers features for children to check-in at specific locations, to request pick-ups from specific locations, and in case of need, to send a panic alert which notifies the parents immediately and providing location details.

Parents may also specify geo-fenced areas and be alerted should the children go outside these areas.

For older children, Family Orbit will also advise if they are in a vehicle exceeding the speed limit.

The premium plan provides up to seven days location history. Both versions also include a shared family photo album, with 100Mb disk space provided free and 5Gb disk space with the premium subscription. Premium users can be notified when photos are viewed.

Family Orbit is very simple to install and easy to use, and is not intrusive. It can provide parents considerable peace of mind about the safety and whereabouts of their children.

In my view, despite the name, it may also be worth considering for businesses that have travelling staff, particularly those whose role routinely involves visiting residential premises. Family Orbit can assist with the duty of care such employers have to their employees, ensuring each worker gets home safely every day.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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