Pechat is a button-shaped speaker that is placed on stuffed animals. A special app is used to operate a variety of functions that help with parenting. The button can be sewn on with thread or attached by string to any stuffed animal. In addition to vocalizing spoken words in a cute voice, it can automatically converse, sing, and tell stories. The product turns stuffed animals that children especially care for into a new interface for parenting. It has a baby mode with functions such as recognizing crying and playing music to soothe crying and encouraging sleep, as well as an English app. Further development of the app will expand usage. The product release garnered a great deal of attention from over 10 television shows and over 100 media outlets within Japan. On the day it went on sale, stores sold out of the product one after another, and the number of users has continued to increase since its release. Pechat is developing a new dimension in parenting throughout Japan.
Pechat possesses a striking image typical of a product from Japan’s startup scene that began outreach in its prototype form and became popular through crowdfunding. In the genesis of IoT, electric appliances such as consumer electronics have comparatively been the mainstay, but Pechat was thoroughly created as an educational/intellectual product with a wonderful incorporation of experience design. It achieves everyone’s childhood dream of having a toy such as a stuffed animal who talks. Every aspect of product interface and experience design has been devised. Pechat represents an era that points to a new form of communication between parent and child. Going forward, in this way the elds of IoT and information and communication technology (ICT) should extend not only BtoB (targeting companies), but also broadly surpass them to reach elds such as entertainment, which is relevant to all generations. Hopefully, high-quality products following Pechat will be designed and implemented by large corporations as well as startups. (SAITO Seiichi)