PBS launches Super Vision, could revolutionize future second screen apps

Super Vision app to supercharge rise of second screen functionality?

Second screen technology has seriously taken off lately thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets. You'd be crazy not to take advantage of the cross-platform abilities of small screens and their larger screened brethren.

The tech has been around awhile with history of usage dating back to the days of the Sega Dreamcast and the Visual Memory Unit. Nowadays consoles like the Xbox One sync up to SmartGlass and the PS4 utilizes the PS Vita as a second screen entertainment option. The same can be said for the Amazon Fire TV and the Kindle HDX tablets.

With so much hardware out enabling second screen usage, it's no surprise more apps are rolling out as well. Ubisoft is fully taking advantage of mobile gaming and connecting players via its upcoming Watch Dogs app.

But now, it looks like the implementation of second screen is branching out even more and displaying just how much it's growing. PBS Kids, a brand of popular television network PBS, has just launched PBS Kids Super Vision - an app that essentially allows parents to connect with their children on a whole new level.

Super Vision

PBS is on to something big (Credit: PBS KIDS. The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission)

Connectivity and control

PBS Kids Super Vision was built in six months to be as simple and effective as possible in terms of monitoring and remotely connecting with your child. With privacy being a huge concern, the app connection really only requires a one time login with a unique code. Once inputted, mom or dad's iPhone can see what Junior is up to on the PBS Kids website.

Whether it's a game or a TV show, parents can check in to see how long the episode is, how long their kid has been playing and even check the details of the show - all from work, since the app connects through the internet.

Super Vision

Time to take a break? No problem-o with Super Vision (Credit: PBS KIDS. The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission)

Parents also get real time updates, educational tips and activity ideas that are related to their children's interests - which is where the second aspect of connectivity comes into play. Each show is associated with a specific educational category. The app then opens a separate page on the phone or tablet allowing for a small period of preparation that lets parents choose from different activities to enjoy with kids when they get home.

Super Vision takes it even further by allowing parents to remotely set up a Play Timer from their mobile device which will put PBS Kids website to sleep, to ease the transition from the screen to eating dinner or bedtime.

Possibilities are endless

(Credit: PBS KIDS. The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission)

(Credit: PBS KIDS. The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission)

So what's the big deal about this PBS Kids app? At it's core, the app is basically a tool for parents to monitor their kids' PBS website intake.

And that's what makes it a significant. It only took a short amount of time and an in-house team using open source tools to create an intuitive, private and personal parenting app that doesn't rely on a physical proximity connection. It's really only a matter of time until these kinds of second screen apps explode on the scene.

It resembles the gaming industry's shift into tablet and smartphone gaming with seamless multiplayer games on the go. The PBS Kids Super Vision app is just as smooth and serves a different audience but is proving that second screen apps and services are starting to transition from entertainment to include a wider set of functionality.

In fact, PBS has launched Super Vision on iOS devices for free in the App Store, where the app will work best with iPhones, and will roll out to Android devices later. The company's other children-friendly apps will also be tweaked and treated with Super Vision later this year. If successful, which it most likely will be, it won't be surprising to see other websites creating their variations of Super Vision.