This morning, your youngest kid cried. He had run out of cereals for breakfast. Then your best friend asked you if you’d care for a BBQ this weekend. You said yes because you had forgotten your eldest’s concert on Saturday. And that was before your spouse grumbled because you don’t find time for family outings. No fear, Wizzili is (almost) here.
To the unsuspecting eye, Wizzili, a little speaking plastic box with a smiling face, might seem like just another smart speaker. This would greatly undermine the philosophy behind Wizzili. It aims to be no less than the family assistant that will get you quality time back.
Balancing the mental load of busy parents
Grégoire Tyrou, CEO of French Tech startup Wizzili, is one of these busy parents. Like many other working couple, balancing chores and relationships is a daily challenge for his wife and him. The mental load gets heavier everyday in a fast hyper-connected world. What if there was a center point that could monitor everyone’s needs, all centralized on a convenient app?
There are solutions to help with daily management but they are scattered among numerous apps. Calendar is one app, Messages is another, to do lists clutter our dashboards and shopping apps are each dedicated to one store. Besides, little kids don’t access these apps.
Respecting the family’s privacy
The Wizzili team is aware that having a “new family member” centralizing personal data might put some off. They have a very clear position on data management. No commercial use of data whatsoever.
To achieve this, they develop their own hardware and software so they don’t rely on a third party draining data.
Tech and anthropology
Besides those developments, partnerships were sealed with scholars specialized in anthropology. Family anthropology to be precise. Rather than have individuals adapt to the device, it’s up to Wizzili to grasp the family’s needs. Artificial Intelligence is also required to maintain regular conversational requests.
Arthur (5 years old): “I’ve run out of cereals” means “add my favorite cereals to the shopping list and send to favorite store basket”.
Steve (10 years old): “I’m home” means sending a notification stating the child is back from school.
Amandine (14 years old): “I’m going to the movies with friends, I’ll be back around 8” means adding that data into the family schedule.
Lizzy (37 years old): “Tell Michael that I forgot to buy some bread” means “send a notification to buy bread”.
The companion app puts together all that data to keep everyone in the loop. You can no longer plan a BBQ when it’s concert day.
Wizzili, late? Not at all!
The Wizzili is in the pre-order stage. The team of three (+ freelancers + scholars) started the Wizzili adventure by a crowdfunding campaign. It proved to be a wise move for the Toulouse-based team. By showing they could complete the crowdfunding goals, they proved there was some interest in their product. At a time when smart speakers were scarce and banks were timid with the concept.
After last Christmas’ massive offensive by armies of Google Home, one could think it’s way too late to engage. But consumers have since noticed the shortcomings of these solutions. Google Home is here to gather useful data for ads. Alexa is just a way into Amazon. None really address the family’s daily issues.
Grégoire also believes this got people used to the idea of having a smart speaker in their home so it paved the way for Wizzili.
The Wizzili ethics and ambitions
More than just a product, the Wizzili team has a strong sense of ethics. Regarding data, of course, but also regarding the benefits of their solutions. They want to change lives. The lives of busy families who long to spend more time together.
Wizzili will enter homes later this year and fund raising will occur late 2018/early 2019