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KidWorks was born in the digital age, in 1997, just as the internet was ramping up. Looking back, if we'd taken the money we used to open the schools and just bought some Apple stock instead, we'd be millionaires by now, just like Forrest Gump. But I digress. From the start, we've always used technology to keep our parents more connected to their children, because even a little uncertainty about your child's welfare is the worst stress you can endure. You simply cannot give your best at work if you're not completely confident about how your child is doing. We were the first (and only) preschool in Florida to issue digital pagers (remember those?) to every family at the center. Throughout the day, we broadcast little class-specific text messages about where the children were in the school and what they were up to. Parents were hooked. But we were replacing a half dozen lost pagers every month at $50 a pop. So...

In 2000, we became the first (and only) preschool in Gainesville to install live internet webcams.  Parents and out of town family members were now able to log on anywhere and check in on their little ones. As the camera technology and internet speeds have increased, we've upgraded the cam systems to take advantage, with bigger, clearer images and faster refresh speeds.

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An actual screen grab from one of Tioga's live streaming HD webcams, viewable on any PC, Tablet or Smartphone

Some fun facts about KidWorks LiveCam system.

 

  • KidWorks uses the NetCam XL 1.3MP, built by StarDot Technologies in Orange, California.  StarDot NetCams are used by many major tourist attraction and are known for their rugged construction and high quality imaging.   
  • We do not rely on a third party web host to provide the streaming video feed to our viewers . We retain complete, local control over the security of the streams.  
  • Each camera is a stand-alone Linux based web server. When you log in to view a feed, you're connecting directly to the camera itself via KidWorks own secure internal network. No outside party has access to our feeds.
  • To accomodate the streams, KidWorks increased it's broadband capacity by 400%. We have the highest level of commercial service Cox can provide. This allows the cameras to update a very large, high definition image every second. The next level would require a dedicated fiber optic line from the school to Cox.  
  • Each camera can serve up to twenty five simultaneous users with no loss in image quality or speed.  
  • KidWorks installs, configures and maintains its own cam system. We also develop and maintain the KidWorks website and camera interfaces, and  we provide our own end-user support.
  • KidWorks was the first center in North Central Florida to offer live webcams, beginning eleven years ago at our Millhopper school.
  • The number one reason cited by center owners for not providing parents with the ability to monitor their school is fear of being inundated with phone calls from parents questioning what they see on-camera. Duh!