Startup expands footprint in the US
Voice-controlled access to internet with an app
A QUEENSLAND startup, which has developed free software giving people voicecontrolled access to the internet, is set to expand into the United States early next year.
Alkira Software, which boasts former Premier Campbell Newman as a director, is preparing to launch an app, which will allow people to pay bills, order groceries, fill out a form or do their banking without having to read or type a word.
The app will be integrated with smart speakers – Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri – giving people voice-controlled access to participating websites whether they’re at home, at work or in the car.
People can download the Alkira web assistant app for free.
But Alkira Software CEO Simon Horne said revenue would be raised through organisations such as banks, local governments and supermarket chains paying for their websites to access the “voice-enabling” software.
He said organisations such as Aldi, the Brisbane City Council and motoring body RACQ were already on board.
“We’re mainly targeting the big household names,” Mr Horne said.
The software is expected to improve the lives of people with disabilities but the company hopes it will also appeal to the general public.
For example, Mr Horne said the app could be used by people in the kitchen wanting to multi-task by doing their banking or paying their bills at the same time as cooking their dinner.
“You’ll be able to fill out a form or complete a transaction online using your voice,” he said.
Mr Horne said the company was in the process of raising $1.5 million to optimise the technology before launching in the lucrative US market next year.
“We’ve got a number of partners over there who are interested,” he said.
The company was founded by Ray Guy who developed voice-activated internet navigation software to help a blind friend run his business.
“It’s really great to see a piece of technology designed to help the vision impaired become a mass market puller that helps everybody,” Mr Horne said.
Alkira’s tech department is based on the Sunshine Coast while its sales and marketing is done in Brisbane.
The Alkira app can be downloaded free on the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores or through the company’s website, alkirasoftware.com
EXPANSION: Simon Horne, CEO of Alkira Software which has developed an app that gives voice-controlled access to internet. Picure: Peter Wallis