6: Childcare Management Software and Data Infrastructures in the Market

The previous chapter opened out the analysis of childcare markets to the work of property investment practices as a means of illustrating the infrastructural role they now play. Continuing to develop the conceptual argument of childcare markets as shaped by the rationales and logics of other kinds of economic actors, who are relatively invisible in the existing work on childcare, this chapter turns attention to software companies. Over the duration of the research I have been afforded the opportunity to document the changing face of some key aspects of childcare technology in New Zealand (Gallagher, 2018a). One of these frontiers has been the childcare management software sector, which has experienced an expeditious uptake within childcare centres in particular. Like other topics addressed in this book, this trend is not particular to the New Zealand childcare market. Indeed, the growth of childcare management software companies is a notable development within most advanced childcare markets over the past 15 years. An industry report from the US has projected the continuous expansion of their domestic market for the software, anticipated to be worth US$293 million by 2027 (Reportlinker, 2019), in large part due to the integration of artificial intelligence into these platforms. A brief internet search for childcare management software reveals pages of international tech companies all pertaining to offer the latest, most integrated software package for providers. Although expeditious in its uptake, the development of the childcare management software market in New Zealand is not a Silicon Valley style rise to prominence.

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