Santa, I Want Smart Toys!
By Sandra Maas, Md7 Business Development – Dublin, Ireland
Growing up in the eighties, the most advanced toy I had was a brunette, life-sized hard-plastic doll called “Lissy”. “Lissy” wasn’t just the average doll. What made “Lissy” so advanced was that she ran on 9V batteries and had multi-coloured records you could insert into a small hatch on her back which enabled her to walk and talk. Back then, I have to admit, “Lissy” scared the hell out of me. Luckily, the still-evolving Furby came out a few years later and rid me of my fear of “high-tech toys”.
Nowadays, you can hardly imagine any toy that is not at least battery-operated or even “smart” in some way. As per definition, a smart toy has its own intelligence by virtue of on-board electronics such as micro-processors, memory and storage devices, custom-designed software and, in a rapidly growing number of cases, a wireless connection to either the Internet or other smart devices.
While last year’s top ten digital wish list articles mostly aimed at adults and teenagers (e.g. the Sphero BB-8 or smartphone-controlled drones), the industry has now found a new, highly-promising target group: toddlers and preschoolers.
Let’s take Hasbro as an example: With their new “Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio” for ages 3+, Hasbro are trying to participate in a market that is supposed to grow by 400% over the next 5 years. With “Touch Shape to Life”, every dough creature that is formed by little hands will magically come to life on screen when scanned by smartphone or tablet.
Or “Edwin”, an app-connected smart toy that aims at an even younger audience. The bright yellow rubber duck also acts as a remote control for its digital alter ego. By physical movement and, of course, wireless technology, the app-animated Edwin will fly, brush his teeth, dance or do whatever a rubber duck would do. During bath time, “Edwin” even checks the temperature of the water and, when it’s time for bed, he plays lullabies and serves as a soothing nightlight. With “Smarty”, a child-friendly adaptation of the Amazon Echo, the Silicon Valley-based startup Siliconic Home have taken this concept even further.
But regardless of which smart toy will make it under the tree this year, it seems clear that digitalization and wireless technology will reach even the youngest generation. At Md7, we are proud to be part of an industry that will continue shaping the world like no other – not only for Christmas.
By Amy Bard, Md7 Counsel
Md7 works on organizing projects year round that exemplify our core value of Giving Back. This holiday season, the Giving Back Committee at Md7 partnered with the Hope Leadership Foundation in their Toys for Hope Toy Drive to collect toys for less-fortunate children in San Diego, California.
The Hope Leadership Foundation provided us with paper “ornaments” listing the age and gender of a child which we used to decorate the holiday tree in our foyer. Employees selected an ornament or ornaments of their choice and returned with unwrapped toys to place under the tree.
I personally found it immensely rewarding to watch, day by day, as more and more “ornaments” disappeared off the tree to be magically replaced by a wonderful variety of toys.
We initially set and successfully achieved our goal of collecting a total of 100 toys. Some toy highlights include some adorable stuffed animals, dolls, razor scooters, a variety of sports equipment, skateboards, RC cars and board games. These toys will be distributed locally at the King Chavez Academy of Excellence on December 17, 2016.
While it is easy to forget how fortunate we are, events like this Toy Drive help remind us how many children in our local community, due to circumstances completely out of their control, may be without a present this holiday season. It is truly wonderful to see the Md7 community come together and collectively help make sure 100 deserving children will get a new toy.