BY Rob Burns, COO
I am a father of five and a protective one at that. As an owner of a growing AV company, I love technology obviously, but am very careful at what technology I allow in front of my children. We all know the internet is an open book. Nowadays you can look up anything. The internet is full of a wealth of information and knowledge but also an amazing amount of filth. Just by typing in a few choice words you can accidently pull up something you didn't mean to. Therefore, maintaining my children's innocence is a top priority.
Needless to say, we test a lot of products here at AVC. We are constantly trying to figure out how we can implement new technology that our clients can readily buy on the internet and through us and marry them together. That is what we call the IoT (Internet of Things). Success in the future of tech companies like ours is determined by being on the forefront of this, i.e. finding out about new technology before our clients regardless of the price.
When I found out about Circle and the "so-called" capabilities they were promoting, I immediately found value in testing what they said they could do, controlling the internet down to the "T". We are an IT company. We can program firewalls and protect our client's homes and businesses with the best programs and equipment available, however that's not without a high cost for both us and our clients. Not to mention in a residence, people might want more control of their internet because devices and their filters might change often unlike a business.
Circle with Disney was easy to setup. You can easily plug it into an existing router or do it via wifi. I found the instructions very easy (with in mind that my clients might want to do it on their own). The parental controls are amazing! Via the age group your kids are in, you can have preset filters for apps and the web. What people don't realize is 90% of the apps out there are web-based and require or need the web for updating. You can literally limit when your kids even play Mindcraft or if they are even allowed on the Appstore (Apple or Google). The history of websites are powerful as well. If something slipped "through-the-crack" then you can easily block that website. The app keeps track of how long each user you personally set up and how long they've been on their devices/internet/apps. The coolest feature I think, is the ability to set bedtimes, playing times on apps, and/or pause the internet altogether for every device. We have all been there...you're sitting in your living room with your family relaxing or at the dinner table and look up and no one is talking. Everyone is on their device. Guess what? Go on the Circle App and just press the pause button!
The amount of control the Circle gives you is amazing. EVERYTHING on the internet including hardwired devices can be filtered. This is the control I've been looking for and I believe many of our clients have been too! I don't know how many times I've been asked by our clients, "How can I limit my kids' internet time, and/or what they can see?" Outside from fully taking away their devices, I believe this is the best option for the price! For $99 you can protect your children and even give yourself some accountability. We will be happy to help you install this unit in your home and get it started if you like. Once installed, anyone can easily control their home.
Not every device in the IoT is actually worth it, but the Circle is DEFINITELY worth it. Contact us today to learn more!