FaceMe, a Kiwi company who pioneered real-time Video communications in the web browser, has unveiled another world first initiative; this time in collaboration with the Australian Government, IBM Watson, Soul Machines and the University of Sunshine Coast, with the launch of Nadia.
Nadia is the new virtual assistant of the Australian National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) who can speak, write, and chat online and provide people with disabilities with the information they need, when they want it and how they need it.
FaceMe played an integral role in the development of the ground-breaking technology behind Nadia after being brought on board by the Australian Government’s NDIA Technology Authority and Department of Human Services to provide cognitive services integration with IBM Watson and a real-time delivery platform that delivers a face to face conversation with Nadia over the internet.
FaceMe founder and CEO Danny Tomsett said; “It’s been great to be part of such an innovative project and work in partnership with Companies like IBM and Soul Machines & global personalities like Cate Blanchett to bring Nadia to life. We’ve all played to our strengths and each brought specialist expertise to the project. We also appreciate the significant difference Nadia will make to her users and it’s exciting to see just how transferable this technology is for other industries.”
FaceMe launched in 2009 and within two years won the Richard Branson Virgin Business Challenge where they received $100,000 and one-on-one mentoring time with Mr Branson.
“The mentoring time with Richard Branson was invaluable and to have his endorsement has proved very helpful when we’ve pitched for International business;” said Mr Tomsett.
“In a world where virtual assistants, bots and avatars are beginning to gain traction in both the media and the public’s imagination, FaceMe is leading the way in face to face communication. Through the Company’s ability to scale and distribute this competency globally, our focus is to make immediate, meaningful interactions accessible to anyone, anywhere,” added Mr Tomsett.
Nadia will begin working with the Agency as a ‘Trainee’ in mid 2017. For the first 12 months Nadia will be literally learning on the job. The more Nadia interacts with people, the faster she learns, and the more questions she is asked, the better she gets at supporting people with disability.
Nadia is voiced by Academy Award winning Australian actor, Cate Blanchett. Cate is a passionate supporter of the NDIS and donated her personal time to supporting the initiative.