Coast company leading online shopping revolution
A MISSION to help a blind mate run his massage business was the catalyst for a voice technology which could change the way people shop online.
Coolum-based Alkira Software has received $616,888 in federal funding to commercialise Voingle, a suite of digital wallet security which allows people to do safe, voice-activated online transactions.
The trademarked wallet and voice user interface allows people to interact with a website, smart speaker or device using speech for everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, finding cheap fuel and banking.
Founder Ray Guy said their technology worked in the backend of websites to securely separate information and uses the "latest military grade encryption” to facilitate safe transactions.
Mr Guy said the voice technology allowed for more "natural” transactions, similar to in a shop, and is not solely for vision-impaired.
He expects within the next two years it will become as common as using an iPhone for everyday tasks.
Alkira is running a proof of concept with the Noosa Council, and has already partnered with Aldi, RACQ, and the Redland City, Rockhampton and Brisbane City councils.
After five years of research, Mr Guy said the grant would help accelerate the product to a national and international market.
The start-up is currently in talks with big banks, retail corporates, insurance companies and councils.
Vision-impaired tester Ben McFie said the technology had helped him overcome barriers in technology which often "leaves behind” people with a disability.
"That can be in regards to the way things look, where things are positioned and just simply missing out on key information,” he said.
Mr McFie said EFTPOS machines were "completely inaccessible” to him in stores, but for the past six months he had been able to make purchases via Voingle from his home.
Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said the grant was one of 12 under the Federal Government's Entrepreneurs' Programme - Accelerating Commercialisation.
"This is another example of big ideas coming out of the Sunshine Coast,” he said.