Home Halo - The powerful but simple Parental Control System
Home Halo - The powerful but simple Parental Control System
Powerful yet easy to manage home networking which we've placed in the palm of your hand. Different rules for each family member.
Powerful yet easy to manage home networking which we've placed in the palm of your hand. Different rules for each family member. Read more
Keeping children safe online is one of the biggest concerns most parents have. Not only are our youngsters more tech-savvy than we were, they’re just as curious and, with a world of knowledge available at a click, it’s no wonder they’re so easily hooked. So why has protecting them from overexposure or inappropriate content been so ridiculously tedious, until now?
What you get with HomeHalo
HomeHalo designer, Chris, was certain of the need for easily managed home internet connections, but wanted to know if he was a typical parent so he commissioned research to find out what a thousand parents really want and what they fear. Then he designed HomeHalo with its superfast router and intuitive Smartphone App to give them the ultimate parental control system that’s so simple, every parent can use it - from anywhere in the world.
HomeHalo is the integrated superfast smart router, cloud service and smartphone app system that’s designed to help parents manage internet use for all connected devices in the home and to apply rules for each user – from what they can see online to the time they spend on it.
It’s all about simplicity and safety. We listened to what parents wanted and we built in features to address every concern they had – and then we made it foolproof. We designed HomeHalo from the ground up to be the quickest, easiest way to deal with the everyday challenges parents face today. For example, we’ve given them adjustable bedtime curfews and customisable website filtering so the grown ups still get to browse as they choose, blissfully aware their children aren’t gaming, messaging late into the night or accessing unsavoury content.
With pre-set Content Categories (which you can change or set up new rules of your own) it will only take moments to apply the relevant rules to each user.
We put so much effort into the ‘under the hood’ design that users will love the absolute simplicity they get with HomeHalo. There are only so many parents who want complex, multi-zoned, multi-networked, multimedia storage, multi-everythingness, but, until now, pretty much what most have been worried about is what their kids have been doing on line.
Now, all parents have to do is to connect HomeHalo to their existing router or modem using the cable supplied or even via WiFi and this incredible little box will configure itself automatically using the rules that you set, even ones you create before it arrives. HomeHalo will then control the connection to each device in your home based on the limits you set and the levels of protection you want for each individual.
We also built in a bunch of interactivity for everyone too. Anyone can request time extensions or whitelists with a click – it’s up to you whether you approve or deny the request and, don’t worry, HomeHalo is smart enough to stifle repeated requests from over-zealous users.
Individual rules for each user (applied to all devices)
Interactive extension/whitelist requests direct from browser
Native iOS and Android apps
Push notifications for extensions, whitelists and tampering
Homework Mode blocks distracting websites
Comprehensive reporting - see which websites are visited
Fraudulent/phishing website protection for the whole family
Over 500,000,000 websites categorised for your protection
Cloud-based services - manage HomeHalo from anywhere
Extendable wireless range
802.11n WiFi certified - 300Mbps throughput
4 LAN ports for physical connections
Our smartphone app is the best way to do all things HomeHalo and we’ve made it a pleasure to control – it’s undeniably intuitive, it looks beautiful and it’s packed with killer features that all work slick and easy on iOS and Android so virtually every smartphone is covered.
You’ll get a push notification when a new device connects to your network or when someone wants extra time online or approval to visit a blocked site – you’ll even know when HomeHalo is being tampered with or turned off. Cloud servers deliver all this stuff so you don’t even have to be at home to handle it; just tap, slide, tap and you’re done.
We made HomeHalo extra special with the help of a brilliant cloud service. Fully scalable and able to accommodate 1000s of HomeHalo routers and users, our cloud service sits on an Amazon Web Services load-balanced server that deals with requests and notifications (seriously, it's testament to our developer's skill and cunning that we’ve produced such a robust and efficient service). It’s superingenious too - we can add new features and notifications and even instruct all HomeHalo routers to update their own firmware; all this is part of the continuous development process that we’ve adopted and which will benefit our customers for many years to come.
An additional bonus for all household internet users is our amazing categorisation solution which can help protect you from fraudsters and identity thieves by blocking known spam and phishing websites.
Billions of £££s and $$$s are stolen every year by fraudsters - everyone needs all the protection possible to keep them at bay. Check it out here....
The Home Halo story begins back in 2010, when our founder, Chris, felt there should be a better way to control his children’s internet usage without all the arguments and hassle that went along with it, but flexible enough for kids of all ages to enjoy the internet appropriately – and safely.
The idea back then was to put a content filter in between the wall telephone outlet and an ADSL modem, so that household content could be filtered, which would have been a completely self-configuring device, but the design required hardware that wasn't available in mass production quantities and at the right price point. It also limited the whole household to the same rules - much the same as you’ll get from the large ISPs in the UK today.
So, we thought more about the real needs of real parents (like us) and determined through comprehensive research that, with the prolific rise in connected devices and with ever-decreasing costs for parents to provide them, the requirement was more about device management and rules rather than just the household content.
After a few prototype attempts spent re-programming existing routers and using open-source replacement firmware - in the photo below we are working with a TP-LInk router using the Open-WRT firmware solution - we decided the only way forward was to create our own hardware and firmware from the ground up.
This was no simple task and we spent many hours at electronics fairs talking to potential manufacturing partners to try to find the best way to get what we knew would be a game-changing product to market.
We also designed a funky outer case for HomeHalo - but production costs for a new injection molded case like this were way too high.
In the meantime, we developed a software version of the hardware and an emulator that could be used for the cloud service development and to showcase the concepts needed in the firmware development. This enabled us to craft the firmware code to communicate with our cloud service and to separate the operation of the HomeHalo from the physical device. We were then able to work on the firmware and the system at the same time so we could get exactly what we wanted from the user experience – easy, simple control from anywhere in the world.
In September 2014, the first prototypes arrived from the factory in Taiwan - these were pretty plain looking but the case design is unique to HomeHalo - who knows what the next version will look like?!
Protoype in Action
In this video you can see the first moulded case prototype actually functioning as well as the smartphone App and web-based control panel.
Mid October 2014, and we now have the very first colour and printed case off the production line. Unfortunately the colour of the centre section is the wrong green, but it's OK as only a handful have been made. This is being sorted out now and we expect to receive the fully working colour version with the latest firmware in during November.
Today, we’re almost there. Our apps will soon be available on Google Play and the App Store and the factory in Taiwan where HomeHalo will be manufactured is ready and waiting for our order. We’re chuffed as nuts that we’ve got this far along the development process using our own funds – we just need an extra push to get that order placed so everyone can share the glory.
Please help us by making a pledge today.
Time to meet the HomeHalo team. Firstly we have our leader, Chris. HomeHalo is Chris’s pet project and he’s overseen the product from conception right through to where we are today. As a father, Chris developed the idea after becoming tired of the daily battles he was having with his children over their internet use. After a moment of inspiration back in 2012 when the actual work on HomeHalo began, Chris has lovingly nurtured this project to make the HomeHalo a reality.
Secondly, we have David, project manager extraordinaire and entrepreneurial leader. David, ensures everything is running on time and within budget. Add to that Matt, our technical advisor. Matt expertly tests & develops our system to ensure HomeHalo is as smooth and sleek as it can be. Then we have Jamie. He handles our marketing and is tasked with spreading the HomeHalo message. Last but not least, we have Alex & Nick who look after the HomeHalo IT network.
We want you to play a part in the HomeHalo story and will be grateful for anything you can spare. It means the world to us that you like our product and we wouldn’t be able to do this without you. So please tell all your friends, donate anything you can and help us to take HomeHalo to the next level.
Please make a pledge today so that we can bring HomeHalo to you very soon.
Risks and challenges
Naturally, we’re taking this very seriously and we’ve assessed the risks and we’ve mitigated them with superb assets (our people) that make good business sense. We bought in David, Project Manager Extraordinaire and inventive/entrepreneurial leader who ensures everyone’s working on time and within budget. David liaises with Louis, our manufacturing partner and owner of the factory in Taiwan, to guarantee prototypes arrive on schedule and the testing regime is followed meticulously.
The supply chain is centred in Taiwan and we’re using standard components (the very latest releases) for our WiFi technology; unsurprisingly, the majority of work involved lies in the firmware. At the end of November, Louis will be ready to ship our first order, which will be sea-freighted to us, although if there are any delays, we have the option to switch to a speedy air freight service.
Our cloud infrastructure is provided by Amazon Web Services and is automatically scaled according to load and, back at base, Alex and Nick keep the network running and ensure it's healthy and operational at all times.
Evgeny looks after development of the website and web management console and the complex web services that make all the components talk seamlessly to each other so perfectly.
Lastly, the apps are all complete and undergoing testing,so it won't be long before we submit them to appear in the App Store and Google Play, so keep an eye out for those!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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