Local News

A Sunshine Coast tech company, leading a digital revolution that could change the way people shop online, has been awarded a significant Federal Government grant. 

Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced $616,888 for Alkira Software which is at the forefront of the “next wave” in digital technology – voice activated, secure online transactions.

Mr O’Brien said voice transactions were being touted as the next big thing in the online world, enabling people to securely pay bills and shop without typing.

Mr O’Brien said Coolum-based Alkira Software had developed an App called Voingle which is to be used on phones, computers and with smart speakers.

The trademarked App would protect people’s personal security during audio transactions and the Federal grant would help finalise and commercialise the product.

Mr O’Brien said the sizeable grant was part of the Federal Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme – Accelerating Commercialisation and one of 12 totalling $4.9 million delivered Australia-wide in the latest round.

“This is another example of big ideas coming out of the Sunshine Coast; an innovative local business blazing a trail with an invention that could revolutionise commerce on the internet,” said Mr O’Brien.

“Alkira was founded by Ray Guy, an entrepreneur who saw the need to help people with vision impairment. The idea came when his friend Rob, who lost his eyesight suddenly, could not find good software to help run his masseuse business.

“Ray realised it would be better to build something and four years later, they have expanded on that idea into general commerce and are now at the commercialisation stage and engaging with key customers.

“The research and development has been happening right here on the Sunshine Coast in Coolum and the company is in talks with big banks, retail corporates, insurance companies and councils that are looking to voice as the way of the future.”

Alkira Software chair and CEO Ruth Drinkwater said the emerging voice technology had widespread potential beyond the vision impaired.

 “We are at the forefront of the wave that will change the world. Voice is coming,” said Ms Drinkwater.

“That’s how the human race evolved  by talking – our VoingleTM wallet and voice user interface using speech to talk to computers and websites is more natural and efficient than typing into a key board or touch pad – this will be a huge step forward.

“It’s about multi-tasking, keeping things easy, doing things quickly. I think a lot of people have digital fatigue and you will be able to do a lot of those jobs by speaking to devices.”

Ms Drinkwater said the company would use the grant to scale and automate the system to get it into the market quickly.

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