We have started developing the second generation of The Childcare online Booking (CoB) system that represents a complete overhaul of the original project developed in 2011. We launched an updated version of the original booking system in 2015 that allowed us to reduce the price point, after receiving hundreds of enquiries from wraparound childcare settings across the United Kingdom. At the time there were only a handful of solutions and along with Libricu, we were one of the first to market.
Having worked with childcare providers for ten years, we've learnt a lot about the challenges they face ad the last two years has been particularly challenging with the global pandemic, which is why we suspended minimum fees during the first lockdown and provided CoB free of charge to settings providing support for families during 2020. We also added support for "bubbles" during the summer of 2020 and extended the functionality in September 2020, in line with government guidance to childcare settings.
CoB 2.0 will include some of the following features:
- Enhanced user interface for all devices (including mobile app for parents).
- Enhanced user interface for providers with graphical presentation of data and the ability to drill down into data.
- Re-engineered structure for sessions that allows providers to offer options associated with a single activity, i.e. Holiday Club with standard school day, early bird, late pick up as well as other activities like face painting.
- Improved structure for discounts that will allow for a more flexible approach, including up front purchase of credits to off reduced rates that will help you with your cash flow.
- Re-engineer structure of bookings to improve support for (a) ad-hoc bookings (b) block bookings and (c) contract bookings that roll-on from one term to another.
- Re-engineer financial side of CoB that users an entirely new approach that should simplify parent accounts and enable better management of fees and credits; with credit limits and automated statements with prompts to pay outstanding accounts (with minimum payments, similar to how credit card companies manage balances).
- Retain all customised functionality and build into standard configurable options that childcare settings control.
- Improved communications via email, text and push notifications. We will be building in Simple Message System (SMS) or text messages as standard, but fees will apply as SMS Gateways offer bundles (1,000 +).
We've also designed CoB 2.0 with security first - secure by design - so that you can be assured that we have taken every step needed to keep your personal data safe with built in GDPR (UK) compliance and support for OFSTED (English settings), CIW (Welsh settings) and SCSWIS (Scottish settings). As a business we have always taken security seriously, so during initial penetration tests the only area that needed improving was the use of Cross-Site Request Forger (CRSF) tokens.
CoB 2.0 is built on our own frame work that's been completely overhauled and we are seeing huge improvements to the page loads speeds with average delivery of pages in less than 0.400 seconds and even often less! The user interface has also been streamlined to minimise downloads, further improving speeds for users on mobile networks. Having worked in thin net applications since 2002, when we developed a system that was used - amongst other places - at Windsor Castle, using hand held XDAs, we know how to achieve performance across mobile networks.
When asked about CoB 2.0, our Managing Director said:
We're super pumped about CoB 2.0 and really looking forward to launching the new version of CoB in early 2022, in time for the February half term. The booking system will look familiar for existing users, so there should be a seamless transition to the updated platform for settings and parents alike. It's under the hood that the real changes are taking place, with a focus on improving existing functionality and introducing some new ones too!
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