Find out what lead Kim Antoniou to create an innovative voice tech business
We had a chat with Kim Antoniou, CEO and Co-Founder of Auris Tech, to learn a little bit more about her tech journey to the top.
My first husband and family had a property and construction business and I immersed myself in that. I looked after the office management as well as the rental portfolios. Then, my husband and I set up our own property and construction firm and eventually, I took over the business alone, continuing to offer property refurbishment, extensions, new builds as well as some buying and selling. I also undertook to become qualified to do my own conveyancing by doing an ILEX course.
With two dyslexic children, who dreaded the thought of reading aloud, and a grandson who at two, instinctively understood how to replay his favourite cartoon on an iPhone, I realised the importance of the tablet and set out to create a core voice engine that would enable mobile applications to be more like ‘edu-tainment’ choosing literacy as the focus area. It was a ‘light bulb’ moment for me from which Auris Tech and from that, Fonetti, was born.
Whilst the original idea was for a children’s reading practice App, it quickly became apparent that before we could create the App we needed the tech behind it that would recognise all children’s voices and accents. Developed in collaboration with The University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, Auris is our patented and unique speech recognition engine that has been designed to work with all UK accented children and has allowed our App, Fonetti, to come about.
Actually, we didn’t set out to be a voice tech business, but seven years on, after teaming up with some world-class voice experts at The University of Edinburgh, that is exactly what we have become!
We are now an award winning and Department For Education accredited App.
Currently, we have two objectives in respect of scalability. Firstly, to reach all primary school children in the UK and secondly, primary school age children across the globe.
To underpin our first objective we have launched a platform especially for primary schools that allows the entire school to access the Fonetti library of stories and is able to feed back a child’s progress directly to the teacher. This was kick started by our 12 Stories of Christmas campaign, where 12 celebrities, including Clare Balding, Ade Adepitan, Sarah Willingham, Anneka Rice, Robert Rinder and Kaye Adams, read one of the Fonetti books (fonetti.com).
Globally, Fonetti will be rolled out not only to help assist in reading skills but in the learning of the English language. And, longer term, we are looking at the possibilities of using the technology to assist those with speech impediments, stroke victims, any condition that requires a re-learning of language. Life is certainly not dull for us!
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