Australian startup snapshot: Ollo Mobile
- 18 March, 2013 09:51
A prototype of the Ollo Mobile device. The shell was made with a 3D printer. Credit: Ollo Mobile
Brisbane startup Ollo Mobile is building toward global release of a wearable 3G telehealth device designed to protect seniors and young children.
The company this week entered talks with the SingTel Optus Innov8 program after successfully pitching its business plan on 26 February, founder Hugh Geiger told Techworld Australia.
Geiger founded Ollo Mobile with Ken Macken. The idea was born after the great aunt of Geiger’s partner, Julianne Murray, fell and fractured her hip, Geiger said. Geiger thought it would be useful for her to have a small mobile phone that could be worn around her neck, he said.
However, an Internet search revealed that such a device did not exist, he said.
“It became pretty clear that the only thing you could get in Australia was a fixed-line panic system,” a service that becomes “totally useless” as soon as the user leaves the house, he said.
That wasn’t going to work because the doctor wanted Murray’s great aunt to get out and be active to strengthen the hip.
Geiger decided to build his own solution. He formed Ollo Mobile to design a palm-sized 3G mobile device that can be worn as a pendant under clothing.
When the wearer presses a panic button on the Ollo device, it automatically calls all of their family. It can be set up to let the first person to answer take the call or to do a teleconference. The device works as a speaker phone so the wearer can speak normally without touching the device.
The device also sends via SMS a link to an HTML5 Web page showing the location of the wearer on a map and other relevant information.
A future iteration may add voice-activated dialling so the wearer can call specific users by saying their names, Geiger said.
When not in use, the device can be fitted into a dock for charging. The battery should last at least 10 days on a single charge, Geiger said. The device is also waterproof and difficult to break, he added.
After creating the device, Geiger received feedback that it would also be useful for keeping track of young children.
“It’s for those parents on the fence about whether they need to give the child a phone or not,” he said.
The Ollo Mobile device lets parents communicate with kids on the go without handing them a more complicated and expensive phone.
Using the device’s location features, parents can even set up a predefined path for their child’s journey to school and receive alerts if the child is late or strays too far, he said.
The company also plans to target adults, for example in India, who want to wear the device for personal security, he said.
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