A chilly visit to Alberta inspired Oak Bay resident Keith Wells’ latest tech offering to preserve precious memories.
Wells was already looking to craft an app when he attended an uncle’s funeral in Edmonton this January. He also founded SendtoNews Video Ltd., now the No.2 provider of digital sports highlights in the United States and No. 1 in Canada.
“That’s percolating along and I keep looking for ideas and I was looking for an app because I know mobile is the way things are going,” he said. “I always worked on these projects off the side of my desk and I just can’t help but look for ideas and try to move them forward.”
The death in the family inspired ImbueApp, a hot topic of conversation during the morning coffee crew at Starbucks on Oak Bay Avenue.
“They’ve been a sounding board. Oak Bay residents have been absolutely a sounding board,” Wells said, adding some of the lead investors are from the community.
The ImbueApp preserves family memories. It uses machine learning from the Google Cloud Vision API to identify items. Stories and memories are then permanently connected to the items, in the cloud.
“There are some people you run into who aren’t sentimental and it doesn’t resonate with them,” Wells admits. “The market research suggests the main target here might be young women. They’re with the children and they’re traditionally the story keepers in the family.”
This secure app allows someone to organize and share stories about special items and treasures or heirlooms and even a voice on one secure ImbueApp permanent memory place.
“The concept is something that if people are taking the time to store their memories in a secure way, they’re trusting us to take care of those memories so this isn’t a fly by night thing. We’re trying to find long-term storage solutions for people,” Wells said.
Victoria design and development studio Freshworks is developing the ImbueApp for iOS and Android.
“It would have been very easy to go off shore. But you’ve got a quality group of locally educated computer programmers working at a locally owned company that are up to speed on the technology. It’s all a good fit.”
While they explore the opportunities and Wells is already Imbuing locations.
“Certainly it makes sense capturing the voices of parents and grandparents because voices go silent unexpectedly,” Wells said. Alongside estate planning potential, it could be used in museums, or therapeutic tool for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
“The idea of an artist able to capture the process and add the intent and idea to a canvas, and that’s permanently connected to it, the painting has been Imbued, that has to add value. The artists voice is built into the canvas,” Wells said.
“This thing is being built one way or the other. That’s the bottom line. It’s not a typical kind of Kickstarter. We’re funded, we’re bootstrapping this ourselves, but we’re trying to use Kickstarter to put it in front of that audience – build some enthusiasm.”