09:49 | 06.06.13 | Articles | exclusive 6466

Voiceboard - made in Armenia: a new way for transmission of ideas

Interactive boards become widely spread all over the world. Their peculiarity is that it’s possible to write and draw anything on them by a touch. It turns out that the interactive board operates by the principle of a smartphone or a gadget.

And now, let’s imagine another type of a board, a voice-based board. You just utter a word and it appears on the board. You can also move your post and fulfill many other functions through gestures. This is a Kinect-based program solution, which enables the users to interact through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands. This is not a new technical invention by Microsoft, Samsung or Google. This is “made in Armenia”.

Co-founder and engineer of technical solutions of Lionsharp Gevorg Hovsepyan shows Voiceboard options

An Anglo-Italian-Armenian… and already also a Bulgarian start-up

The innovation is called Voiceboard. It was created by Lionsharp Solutions start-up, founded by a group of young people of Armenian and other nationalities.

The head of the young team is 28 years old Nigel Sharp, who was born and grew up in London. In recent years he has moved to Armenia with his wife Eva, who is Armenian. After having worked in TUMO Center for Creative Technologies for two years, he and his friends (an Italian and two Armenians) have founded the Lionsharp Solutions creative technology start-up, and their first product was the Voiceboard.

Being also the member of the team that won Hackathon(YAN)-2012 contest of Innovative Ideas and Programming in the nomination “Best Microsoft technology application” held in Yerevan in December 2012, Nigel Sharp got the chance to create his team and present his new Voiceboard project to the reprehensive of Bulgarian Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund, Maxim Gurvits, who was visiting Armenia upon the invitation of the representation of Microsoft in Armenia and Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia.

Now the team is composed of 6 people- Nigel Sharp, engineers Gevorg Hovsepyan and Alessandro Mambelli, who has joined the team from Florence, programmer Suren Shahinyan, designer Lilit Revazyan and accountant Eva Sharp.

This young and pretentious team has been chosen by Eleven and left for Bulgaria to take part in the contest to attract venture funding. They were recognized the best out of 300 teams all over the world and received €25 000 venture funding and continued working on Voiceboard in Bulgaria. Lionsharp’s budget has grown due to new investments. Moreover, their project was recognized the best at the Balkan Venture Forum, which will enable the Voiceboard to compete at the European Venture Contest finals at the end of the year.

Voiceboard allows holding discussions, performances and "brainstorms" registering the ideas both in gestures and voice commands

From imagination to cup

The next dynamic victory Lionsharp Solutions has achieved was the Imagine Cup Armenian final organized by Microsoft this April.

The victory allowed Lionsharp Solutions to represent Armenia at Imagine Cup Worldwide finals due to be held in St. Petersburg this July.

“We will definitely win the Imagine Cup, we don’t even doubt it,” Co-Founder and Technical Solutions Engineer at Lionsharp Solutions Gevorg Hovsepyan said. His confidence is logical, since the project is really unprecedented, and, as it turned out, not only in Armenia, but also in Europe.

Presenting the possibilities of Voiceboard at Microsoft Innovation Center, Gevorg Hovsepyan said that it is the best way to visualize ideas.

“You have an idea and would like to transfer it. First you utter it in words, however from a certain moment you should also visualize it. Technologies can help you transfer your idea in a more productive way: the Voiceboard is an environment where your spoken command appears on the screen after which you can add pictures, videos and any other content to your words, which will help you better describe what you wanted to say,” Gevorg Hovsepyan says.

Voiceboard is an environment which, for the first time, has united Microsoft’s Kinect technology, the speech recognition software of Google and Microsoft, and Dragon Speech system will also join them soon. Lionsharp’s research has shown that this environment is in big demand worldwide.

Lionsharp members Gevorg Hovsepyan and programmer Suren Shahinyan

Buy a Voiceboard and surprise the advertisers

Studies carried out by the team showed that today advertising agencies are the target market of Voiceboard, which can introduce their services to potential buyers through Voiceboard.

The product will be also useful for the business and the sphere of education.

“This is a good opportunity not only for presentations but also for brainstorming. Just imagine, you are discussing something with your partners even online and you don’t need to make any notes at all. Everything is being recorded and if you want to emphasize any points you just need to touch the board,” Gevorg Hovsepyan says.

He says that some advertising agencies in Bulgaria have already expressed interest and readiness to pay for this program.

This innovation is also very important for the education, as interactive boards have recently become very popular in the world. According to Gevorg Hovsepyan, these interactive boards can now be replaced by the Voiceboard.

One of the sponsors of Lionsharp has already expressed readiness to place the Voiceboard in one of the universities of Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, young people work hard trying to finalize their project.

Voiceboard is an environment where Microsoft Kinect technology and voice identification systems were blended for the first time

And finally about faith

“We believe and imagine that we can build a company that will allow us to create new technologies and products. The first product is the Voiceboard which is a new way to digitalize ideas through gestures and voice commands. We also believe that innovations and the unification of our mental capital are the basis of future achievements of Armenia and the Armenian people,” Nigel Sharp, co-founder of Lionsharp, says.

We wish good luck to Lionsharp in St. Petersburg.

Ruben Harutyunyan