“Parse has provided our apps with a reliable and scalable backend, and has made the development process much smoother.”

Dominique Yahyavi, IDEO Toy Lab
About IDEO
  • IDEO is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow.
  • IDEO has launched two well-received paid apps in the Apple iTunes Store, Cookie Calls and Elmo Calls that both use Parse for Push.
  • IDEO has received accolades and coverage from across the news industry, including a spot on 60 Minutes about Elmo Calls.


As anyone raising children in today’s technology filled world will tell you, kids are learning to use the newest gadgets almost as quickly as their parents. And, adults aren’t the only ones enchanted by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets; iPads topped children and adults’ Christmas wish lists in 2012 and scientists are working to learn more about educational apps for children. With all of these new avenues opening for children’s apps, it’s no surprise that even well-loved classics like the Sesame Street muppets are popping up in the app-mosphere.

Parse-powered apps Elmo Calls and Cookie Calls are two innovative apps that take advantage of both characters that children love, Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, as well as technology they enjoy, namely their parents’ smartphones.

When the Toy Lab at IDEO began working on the apps, they realized they needed to find a backend service to help them prototype quickly, and after some research decided that Parse was the best option for them. That decision appears to be working out well for the team, because as Dominique Yahyavi explains it, “Parse has allowed us to focus on the user-experience and leave the backend to them. It’s been a great experience so far. Parse is always pushing their platform forward, and we feel that it is a huge benefit to be working with a company that is innovating at such a fast rate.”

Noting that Parse has decreased development time by at least half, Dominique says that Parse Push and Parse Core have been particularly useful tools. The ability to send targeted push notifications allows the team to use push notifications to notify users of important days such as Elmo’s birthday, and to let users know of new call packs and promotions. The apps also use Parse Core to store all of the video and audio calls for Elmo Calls and Cookie Calls, and all the metadata along with them.



“What we love most about Parse is the people. Everyone at Parse has been so quick to offer help and assistance with any need of ours. They really care about their customers and the apps on their platform, and we feel that we’re all part of one big team, it’s great.”

Dominique Yahyavi, IDEO Toy Lab
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