560 Tania Peitzker:

Entrepioneering on the bleeding edge of technological innovation isn’t for the faint hearted… first comes the vision to see things others do not, then the tenacity to turn a vision into reality, and then the patience to educate a market on why they need something they never imagined wanting.

MELINDA

I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is an early pioneer of XR – otherwise known as extended reality – a sister to augmented and virtual reality.

Tania Peitzker (pitescur) is the co-founder of AI Bots as a Service – a Mixed Reality tech venture for 2D and 3D bespoke avatars destined to change marketing as we know it. She and her team created the world’s first pilot of a live 3D hologram avatar as a Wayfinder and 2D Virtual Assistant in social media for a mall in Cologne, Germany.

We’re going to dive deep into next generation technology – plus how Tania is leading the way for women in cutting edge tech – start music under my voice so you won’t want to miss this!

Tania Peitzker (pitescur) is many things – a pioneer in cutting edge XR or extended reality and CogX avatars – an

advocate for cyberlaw, and a feminist! She’s also an Adjunct Professor for AI management at several renowned universities and business schools in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland & the UK. And specializes in applying her innovations in strategic marketing & sales, digital advertising and cutting edge customer experience tech and user interfaces.

Named by Outfuel as one of their annual “AI Luminaries”, Tania was also ranked by San Francisco’s Crunchbase as #1 for numerous global & Europe-wide AI/NLP, Customer Service, Outdoor Advertising & Digital Marketing categories, Tania wrote the definitive book “Uses & Risks of Business Chatbots:  Checklists for Purchasers in the Public & Private Sectors”.

Today we’re going to talk about what her AI Bots as a Service company is innovating … it will blow your mind … plus the challenges faced by women in tech … and how she’s raising her $10 million Music – bring up softly under my voice investment round with women investors.

OK let’s get into all things bots, avatars, AI, XR, AR and how these technologies are changing our world – and how you can leverage them in cutting edge marketing, sales and product – and even help solve climate change. Be sure to download Podopolo, find the wings community there, and join the conversation.

Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Tania Peitzker. (pitescur)

Melinda Wittstock:         Tania, welcome to Wings.

Tania Peitzker:                  Thank you, Melinda. I’m glad to be here.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m always excited to talk to women who are in the tech space, particularly the bleeding edge tech space around AI and XR, otherwise known as extended reality. What was the spark that led you there?

Tania Peitzker:                  Well, it was some time ago when I met the programmer and the designer, they’re brothers actually. That was in London, and I was really taken by their proof of concept. This is over 10 years ago. We were in the 2D chat bot domain, and I met them at a pitching event. Basically, they created this really alternative space online called the Viledge, but they spelled it Viledge, so that was already edgy. V-I-L-E-D-G-E. That was for extreme sports. There were some women on the site, but most of the site members were male. I think why it grabbed me was the proof of concept was they had full time jobs and they created these little AI bots, this was before Twitter, to basically populate the site to meet and greet people when they weren’t there because they were working, and it worked. These little bots, they were all a little extreme, like snowboarders, and skaters, and kiters, and all this extreme sport stuff. They were hidden amongst the real people, and they actually increased the membership up to 20,000 people all on their own.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s amazing, and this was, what? You say 10 years ago?

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, pre-Twitter. So just through necessity and invention they decided, okay, they just have to talk for as long as what we now know as tweet length. Say, “Hi. What are you doing here in the Viledge?” Guide them around, like the concierge, and the design was pretty groovy at the time for 10 years ago, because we had a top designer, one of the brothers, and they succeeded in their mission. The thing is, it was just a very hard pitch because it was way ahead of its time.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. Yeah, absolutely. I know, I’ve done startups like that; I had a solution algorithmically to identifying fake news 10 years ago. [crosstalk 00:02:48] Yeah, yeah, exactly. And no market for it, right? And so right now, with the pandemic, and everything, I would imagine that this is probably the time, I mean, what is the application the primary application that you’re working on right now?

Tania Peitzker:                  Well, it’s along the same lines as the original concept, except we’ve moved it into a hybrid space online offline. Because what transpired in the decade following this prototype, there were many pilots that we did, I’ve written a book about it actually published in New York in the middle of the pandemic this year in March 2020 by business expert press. They asked me to write to history of all these pilots that we did based from that original Viledge one. So what we’re doing now in the pandemic is because people are absent, we’re sticking in 3D AI bot holograms to be present.

So in store spaces where you’ve got reduced skeleton staff because of illness, or fear of getting the disease, and we’re combining that with an online presence because in the last 10 years, the user adoption of just purely 2D chat bots, as we all know, didn’t take off with Facebook Messenger bots, Facebook wound up their messenger bot platform. Platforms like Kik haven’t really succeeded in promoting 2D the chat bots. The Skype bots were pretty much a disaster. No one even knows about them that there were literally thousands of Skype chat bots, ready to go for years. So because the tech giants didn’t succeed, we just sort of sat back and watched them throw millions of dollars at it, and observed how people actually when they’re online just either want to text themselves and not interact with the machine, or they actually like to use voice because of gaming. So this is the space the niche, we’re coming in as sort of from a gaming angle with voice.

Melinda Wittstock:         Ah, so the voice tech piece of it, gosh as a podcaster, that really resonates with me because I also see the direction that both Amazon and Google are going in around voice SEO and voice branding. This is going to be a massively expanding field and actually one that’s of tremendous interest to anyone like me running a podcast network, because people trust a voice more than some disembodied text. And I remember going back a couple years where chat bots were all the rage, and you had to have one and all these people teaching courses on chat bots. And you’re right, it just sort of faded away. So who are some of your clients that you work with, who’s applying this best?

Tania Peitzker:                  Well, we are at the cutting edge and so we’ve been approached by car companies that want to push their existing voice in dashboards a bit further. So we’re in negotiations, I can’t name them yet. But there’s some pretty big brands. Because they’ve been experimenting, they’ve got the power departments internally on voice bots, but they’ve asked us to add to the next. What we’re finding is independent retailers like it because as we know, Amazon Alexa skills have been targeting the retail space. So Amazon’s trying to dominate that area as well. So not just passively ordering on their website products, but getting retailers to use and develop skills.

Now, we’ve been following that closely. And that’s where we’re coming in as an enhanced service, because we can provide bespoke personality. So we’re doing stuff at the moment in small towns, where the retailers say, “Okay, we’re about to publish documentation and videos, we’ve been keeping it under the radar so far,” so with local circular economies, we are creating particular voice bots to either stay in a restaurant when the restaurant’s open or next week, we’re doing one in a car dealership showroom. So to support those human staff when they’re not there for selling cars. And that particular hologram is going to move around, it’s going to be managed by a group of retailers from that town that’s 200 members, everything from hospitality operators, to museums to going next to a chemist pharmacy that will remain open, because we’re in lockdown at the moment in Germany, and also most of Europe. And then it can go to a doctor surgery or a grocery store, the stores that are still open during the lockdown.

So that’s the sort of thing we’re doing. We’re not going for big name publicity or big name campaigns at the moment, we’re just establishing the technology at the base so that people, early adopters are seeing a return on investment because they hadn’t been able to get return on investment for other forms of advertising, especially under these sort of conditions.

Melinda Wittstock:         So how do they manifest from online to offline? So I understand the hologram concept. Are these sort of recognizable characters that you get to know over time and of course, they get to know you too? Is the application that they’re essentially a concierge to help you buy a product or are they customer service or both? Or what’s the primary kind of reason for them? What do they do?

Tania Peitzker:                  Well, the one we’ve been working on over summer here in southern Germany on the border to Switzerland and Austria and the duck region is basically the concept is city marketing. So right from the start with our prototype of the village promoting extreme sports and a sense of place and identity. We’ve actually transferred that to real places. And so it’s destination marketing for a town which a lot of the towns everywhere really need because the tourism being completely embattled now with COVID for the next year to come really.

So the Birgit on Lake Constance is the name of the character and she’s got an alter ego, Carly from Sydney. So we’re going to place her in a tourism context back in Sydney. At the moment we’re doing the Birgit on Lake Constance multilingual because at least six languages are spoken around here in this region. So for domestic tourism, domestic tourism was absolutely booming here over the summer, despite COVID, Corona. And then basically we can do the spoke of that overarching personality to one particular place, town, museum, area, so vineyards if there’s a cultural aspect to the local tourism, we can basically modify the AI bot brain for whichever place is hosting it, or particular, as we’re going to see and document and publish, this one Birgit, there’s going to be clones and one Birgit it’s going to be moved around the one small town to promote itself, and also amongst local residents, that it can make community announcements that it’s alarm level, red, be careful or don’t forget to wash your hands, this sort of thing.

But we’re also doing a corporate… this is just the SME version. And then we’re getting it trained up and we’ve got different… it can basically be bespoke for a corporate brand. As I mentioned, one of the car brands we’ve been talking with in depth. And then a lot of these Greenfield projects take years and you’re not allowed to talk about and that’s the real hassle. But we’ve got a life sized hologram coming out that we’ve just started doing in Hanover, that was about to be launched at the Mutek trade show, unfortunately, that trade show got canceled. It was meant to be happening this week, in Leipzig. And there we would have had videos of the life sized holograms that we’ve been working on. And we’ve got RFPs from museums for that sort of thing.

Melinda Wittstock:         So obviously Coronavirus, in a way is an opportunity because it’s a virtual business. And then on the other hand, it’s also a block in terms of getting your product out there. How are you navigating through that? Specifically, I mean, because it’s affecting everybody’s business in some way or another.

Tania Peitzker:                  It’s contingency planning to the nth degree. So we go from Plan A to plan B to plan C, in a space of 24 hours.

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, turbocharged with the pandemic, really, so we had two… we meant to do a trade show in Frankfurt last week, the high promotion in Leicester, and then the museum and exhibition technology. It’s like the conference for Museum and exhibition technology in Leipzig next week. And so it’s sort of a matter of planning with the contingency of do we start building that bot for that particular event. Like if we done the Frankfurt one, they were expecting about 1500 interactions without hologram each day. And then, in Leipzig, the same so we had to put aside resources and at the last minute, because of the pandemic, is it going to be on or not, and then having to reassign those resources. So that’s a hassle obviously. I don’t know I guess it’s just by the seat of your pants at the moment with a lot of ventures we have to, you just have to be super agile.

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, bleeding edge technology is also a challenge because you’re creating something new, but you’ve also got to educate and make your own market. So talk to me a little bit about that journey. It’s not an easy path, where you can see it, and you can see the application, you can see the value But you have to persuade so many other people. What’s that journey been like?

Tania Peitzker:                  It’s exhausting really. I mean, that’s something that people pretend to say it’s also exciting and exhilarating. But when you’ve explained the USP at least 20 times to the one person or the one group or the one potential client and you’ve had 50 meetings face to face before the pandemic over stretched out over six months. You just almost can’t bear to do another meeting with a different department of the same organization. So I write about that, I put in a whole chapter of that, because in my book for The business expert press because they wanted me to write guidelines. So a practical handbook for purchases.

So the title is The uses and risks of business chat bots guidelines for purchases in the private and public sectors because that the public sector, the private sector is not that much better than the public sector in this term in this process where they’re meant to be buying innovation and supporting innovation. And then they invariably go back to the tech giants and the big non brands because they get exhausted as well. And then they get all confused. So I’ve written these guidelines to try and make the process less frightening, more simple, more straightforward, because a lot of startups actually end up not surviving that, just the pure acquisition process can really bleed, a lot of startups dry, and then they just fold because they’ve had no cash flow in all these pilots and greenfield projects that can take ages to get sign off, and then you either don’t get paid for them, or you get paid very little. And that’s the other problem. So it’s a huge problem in Europe, actually I always say constantly, I wish we were in the States, and we’ve had invitations, we’ve got VC meetings next week with American investors. But we’re trying to stay in Europe. But it’s a completely different investment scenario. And that’s the huge advantage American startups have over European new ventures.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right it’s still tough though. I mean, it’s really tough for women in tech, in particular, women, technology founders still here in the US only get 2% of the available capital. And this is for highly scalable businesses that have the kind of potential that yours has to really remake marketing, and I can see so many other applications for it as well. It’s a potential billion dollar business assuming that you hit all the notes and open up those markets, how much investment Do you need to really get to the place where you want to be?

Tania Peitzker:                  We’re raising 10 million euros at the moment for series A, we had seed in the last year from an investor in Munich, a business angel, who used to be on the board of SAP to Germany’s top software company, that’s the rival to Microsoft. And he spotted us and contacted us, and he puts on some money into us. And he’s also our mentor and getting us networked. But the problem is in Europe, that even though it’s really tough for women in tech, and yes, we also take less than 2%, 1% of any venture capital going and then it’s really difficult criteria, often it’s ages too, they want you to be under 30. Whereas if you’re a male, they’ll let you be 40, 50 Plus, because then you’ve got experienced, so you’ve got the classic sexism, ageism mix, and then not to mention people of ethnic background, or minority or migrant background, have it even tougher in a lot of European countries, they’re just not the same as American diversity at least in name.

So it’s a hard sell, when you have to, I’ve often been on the verge, I’ve said to my team, let’s just replace me with a young guy under 30 and I’m sure we’ll get 10 million next week. It’s been that much of an adverse blocker, simply the fact of who I am being the CEO. But my team’s behind me, and I said, “No, we’ll stick it out.” So we’re taking the handcuffs, that’s still attempting to replace myself just to close a deal and I’m sure a lot of women entrepreneurs feel the same. If we just send into our alter ego, a young male will get the deal, get the money. I heard your lot, one of your podcast interviews with the scientist who’s found a cure for cancer. And she said the same I just couldn’t believe, after everything she’s done that she can walk into a room and she’s still doubted, and she’s done exits and so on.

Melinda Wittstock:         No, no, it’s true. I mean, we’re raising money right now. And for Podopolo in a very innovative AI driven podcasting, social app, and player. That’s the toughest, toughest time, but we were all ready to raise our $3 million round and then the whole Coronavirus thing broke and all the investors went skittish. But now we’re really close to closing that $3 million round which at this point, but it’s been good because by the time the capital comes in we will have proven all the different things and we can put that money really to fast scaling.

One of the things that’s interesting here, the more women in tech, who’ve had some exits are beginning to reinvest in other female founded startups. And I think that really has to happen to change the game around investment for women who are doing these really more difficult game changing entrepreneur pioneering things, where do you see yourself in about five years time assuming you close your 10 million round, and I can see a multiplicity of applications for you. What’s your vision?

Tania Peitzker:                  Well, we actually want to provide an alternative to the smartphone, in fact, that’s what drives me personally. I think all the studies show there’s an unhealthy relationship that we all have with smartphones and screens. And the recent medical research and psychological research is just coming out that voice. And I think this is what why voice resonates and podcasting is doing so much better than traditional formats online now, and audiobooks have also had a boom, it’s because voice is psychologically better for us as humans, that we feel like we’re listening, connecting, and communicating. And when we’re in our own little world, just with a touchscreen, there’s less of that interpersonal real sense of having understood somebody else.

So we see ourselves and this is how we’re modeling all the things that we’re doing, whether it’s for a big corporate build in an office block or a shopping center, when they reopen, we have an application ready to go for cinemas to reinforce film, to promote the arts. We just see ourselves with voice being central and the holographic format rather than a robot, again, without the research shows that people want to relate to something that’s filmic and live in a sense of another entity, a person to person, a person to a holographic form, rather than just the pure screen.

The other thing that our vision is and for me personally is also a progressive one of supporting climate change action, trying to do something about it. Screens and smartphones are wasting a lot of resources, they’re not being properly recycled, they drain the planet of really vital minerals and things that all the components for a smartphone. So it’s not actually a sustainable device, whether you like it or not, or believe that it’s unhealthy or not just purely in terms of a wasteful resource. It’s not a sustainable product. So I know the Telcos might like to hear that. But that’s the trend we’re following. We just see, for example, we’re devising our holograms to run without screens. That’s the ultimate for us.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. That’s really, really cool. And given the fact that say for instances I’ll ask a very self interested question, it would be super cool to have animated voice chat bots acting as a concierge on an existing app, such as Podopolo to guide users to their favorite podcasts, for instance, to do all kinds of things, my brain started ticking like, “Wow, I wonder how we could use this with Podopolo.” Right? Does it work? We have an Android phone application as well as an iPhone application and I understand all that you’re saying about the issues with mobile phones, but do you do any kind of integrations or anything like that with existing apps?

Tania Peitzker:                  We have started doing that for particular clients websites, so we can add the sort of chat bot interface. There’s a technical issue and this is why we’re raising the $10 million and what we’re presenting to investors. And in fact, two of the three VCs we’re meeting are women funds, so for women led businesses, thank goodness. So that money that is coming back from women who’ve made it. So yeah, there’s a tech issue and this is why you don’t see Microsoft Cortana on every single device, there’s a real problem in trying to get a voice bot working on each particular device.

So yes, we can do it, we have to do it in a well funded way, but as well as overcoming these little tech issues of how to make it work on everybody’s device, because otherwise, at the moment, we’ve got it working in Google Chrome. So yes, it can work on Android, that’s not a problem. But obviously, for a scale up, then people say, “Well, why isn’t it working on my iPhone?” So we’ve got it ready, we’re just not ready to make it a big public launch yet.

Melinda Wittstock:         Got it. So what have been the biggest challenges for you personally, as a woman in the tech space?

Tania Peitzker:                  Oh, there’s so many, where do I start? I mean, before I get negative, I must say, I participated in a psychological study run by some professors at TU, Dortmund, that’s the Technical University of Dortmund just two months ago. And they interviewed 1300 entrepreneurs, I think, mostly in Germany, and only one in five were women. And only a third of us had funding. So the object of the study was your happiness levels. And so basically, I got the results, and I was above average on most of the happiness scores, because basically, they were trying to assess, despite all the setbacks, and the hardships and all the individual frustrations, and discrimination and everything else, what keeps you going and what makes you happy. And yeah, I scored highly, because of things like autonomy and sense of mission and getting in the zone when you are doing something really creative and realizing your potential and all that. So I guess keeping that in mind, that makes it worthwhile.

But obviously, on a day to day level, you just feel often the lack of the support networks that men automatically have they have to do half as much to have twice as much support. And that really can get to you. It’s not just money. It’s just the sense of having that tech solidarity, if you like. So yeah, I think that that’s the worst thing in a lot of pioneering ventures, it’s that sort of learning this factor of driving forward. Whereas I look at my male counterparts, and they’ve got 10 times as much personal support, so I have to rely on private support and so on. But yeah, it’s a pity that women are only now showing more solidarity to the tech women coming after them.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, absolutely. So I’m really curious about how AI is advancing, particularly conversational AI being a podcaster and all and with my background in social data analytics, and predictives, how this is really changing the game of effective sales and marketing.

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, when I go to educate those prospective clients, I start with the beginning of its first principles of sales. If you go into a shoe shop and you want to buy a pair of shoes, and the assistant’s rude to you, or ignores you, what are you most likely to do? You’re just going to turn around and walk out, you’re not going to buy a pair of expensive shoes or anything from someone who’s not polite, courteous or knows how to engage with you. So we took first principles of sales of chit chat and conversational AI and showing some emotional intelligence, empathy. And all the pilots we’ve done with all the different iterations and different chat bot characters that we’ve developed 2D and now 3D, we’ve been honing and honing and tweaking our proprietary algorithm, which is why we’ve got the luxury of being able to do all these iterations that we fully own and have fully coated ourselves. Our proprietary algorithm and source code.

So, in all those iterations, the Holy Grail has been moving, step by step closer to an AI emotional intelligence in a deployment. So the one we switch on literally plug and play on Tuesday in a car dealership, in a small town like Constance speaking German, and then switching to English when necessary, or French or Italian, will just be doing very simple straightforward, like a human would do is saying, “Hi, how you feeling and how are you coping with the pandemic?” Just simple little things, social niceties, and it’s incremental. And that’s what we’ve tried to do that the brain that we deploy for each installation does that.

So we did a test for a big car corporation, automobile corporation, and the top executives were really thrilled when they switched on our bot and it was in a foreign country and the personality it was a male avatar said, “Oh, I think you sound a bit tired today. How are you feeling?” And had this bond with the executive and he was ecstatic because he appreciated the avatar, checking how he felt and giving him some encouragement. And we’ve seen that quite often with our bots. And that’s something that Amazon Alexa skills, and Google Assistant hasn’t quite got there yet. Not on that personalized, we’ve been focused on the personalization. And then the contextualization, so that these little social niceties psychological perks if you like, chemistry at the right time.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, I think that’s very smart. I can imagine a lot of customers are a little bit overwhelmed because the brain tries to understand it. And it’s hard because it’s so new. So do a lot of your customers end up wanting to know how it works, when how it works isn’t really relevant in a way. It’s kind of how is it going to work for them. What’s the value it’s going to provide them. How does that conversation tend to go?

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, you’re exactly right. So we’ve we hit on the formula, how to address that. And it was quite simple in the end. For example, with Birgit, she begins by onboarding them herself, because we realized, okay, especially in the pandemic, it’s unlikely there’s going to be enough humans around to explain. You can’t rely on the fact that a passer by or a shopper, or a museum visitor or someone coming into your headquarters, corporate offices is going to read a sign about what to do and how to talk to this thing. If nobody else is standing around. It’s just the hologram there. So through trial and error, we realized she has to come alive, or he or it, if it’s an animal, we’re doing an animal at the moment, and explain what it is, what it’s doing there. Often because it’s so new, people think it’s just a display TV, film recording.

So we had to develop during the pandemic, and this is what we just did in from March through to summer, and then we’ve tested it in a public space here on Lake Constance throughout summer, is that it activates itself through motion detection, so that people walking up to it, it will then start itself because otherwise it doesn’t come alive. And we don’t want to frighten people that it’s sudden or annoy people that it’s always talking, always on a loop.

So we basically had to train it with an opening sort of address, if you like of engaging someone, it’s a bit transferring, like someone visiting a website and the whole old economy bounced rate you’ve got 30 seconds to keep someone on your landing page on your homepage and that’s how we explain it to clients. We’ve got three minutes to not only activate it, it’s going to come alive on its own. It’s got to address someone in the right language. And then it’s got to engage them. It’s got 30 seconds up to three minutes to get the message across without being pure advertising. And also you can’t do just pure advertising under the new GDPR in Europe anyway.

And that’s what we’ve managed to do. So it comes alive. It talks about itself as who it is, and it’s a creature it’s an entity, can you help me she says learn, be patient. If I don’t understand at first, please repeat what you’ve asked me a couple of times in a different way short sentences, and I should get it right then. And when she does get it right if she has made a mistake and not understood it first people actually love that experience. Because one, they realize this thing is really alive and it makes mistakes, and it corrected itself and understood. And then they feel like they’ve had this enriching experience of teaching in AI.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s amazing. So what’s the expression that you see on their faces? Is it wonderment, is it awe or they just get it? What happens then?

Tania Peitzker:                  Big grins actually, it’s really quite gratifying for me. I didn’t expect it to be such a joyful experience, I guess, or satisfying experience. But we first had this observation when we did a trial last year in April in a shopping center in Cologne, and they get 10 million footfall a year. And we went live the week before Easter. So there were just thousands of people pouring into this mall, in the heart of Cologne. And once the users understood what it was, because at first people thought it was the display in a TV or recording and when they were speaking to it in German, and if it didn’t get it right, then they repeated it. They just turned to me and grinned. And we’re really delighted that they’ve made progress with this thing.

In fact, she ended up getting a fan club, especially of older guys who said, “Well, I’ll come back,” that one was called Amalia, “We’ll come back and check on you every day to see how you’re progressing. And I’ll make sure that you’re okay.” So we actually had this emotional bond with some people, it had, that they wanted to sort of nurture it. And, yeah, it was surprising how quickly it went from skeptical to what on earth is this? How do I engage with it? Some young people came up and thought it was that… in that particular iteration, we had a console. So people got confused, young people thought it was a computer game, and tried to play it. One old boy who was about 85 years old, he stuck his head inside the box. But anyway, we’ve progressed and into life size. So we’re now using… that particular device cost 2000 euros, the hardware. And now we’ve put her in just in the last three weeks, we’ve transferred our latest avatar into a 50,000 euro device that’s made in Denmark, and now it’s just operating brilliantly. So the hardware also helps.

Melinda Wittstock:         So I can see so many different applications for this, when you think of, say online learning for all the kids who are stuck in zoom meetings, trying to learn where the engagement is terrible, teachers are frustrated, kids are frustrated. You think about medicine, and consultations. You think about just even having a buddy to help you work out. You think about a whole bunch of things. And you had another application around climate change. Tell us about that.

Tania Peitzker:                  Oh, it’s not so much an application specific.

Tania Peitzker:                  We want to move away from the screens. Okay? So rather than every single person has an individual device, this is more of an execution thing, rather than an application for a particular vertical. So it’s still doing the same applications of information, tuition, if you want, or corporate PR to museum content and all that stuff, or even on a car dashboard. But we want to get away from it having to work, say Podopolo we’ll take that as an example. And people want to use Podopolo listen to the podcasts, but they don’t have their phone on them. So for example, we already got the option of asking a car dashboard, look, stop playing the latest podcast from Podopolo please.

Melinda Wittstock:         Awesome.

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, so the car brand where we’re talking with actually can now… you can run that personality, not just on your car dashboard, you might come into your home, and what we’re looking at is genuine IoT Internet of Things. So to move away, get rid of that horrible little smartphone where you always using a finger and cramped and bad posture and people are getting run over because they’re looking at their smartphones while they’re crossing the road, France introduced the law to ban that, there’s too many people getting run over, you cannot look at your phone while you’re cross the road. So you leave your car, you’ve told the car to lock itself, you walk upstairs, and you tell the door to open IoT, the door opens. And then you can just say to the walls, I haven’t finished listening to that Podopolo podcast, keep going from where I left off when I was sitting in the car. And you don’t need to tap on a phone to do that.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow, that’s huge.

Tania Peitzker:                  That’s already happening. We’re really working with the University of Milan actually has 5 million euros from the EU, they got that a few years ago, to do exactly that, specifically for aged care. So that the elderly can stay home, because Italy as we now the whole world knows because of the pandemic has a very high aged population. And a lot of them still live at home. So the University of Milan, I’ve met with the professors there about how they’re using that for that particular application.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow, this is amazing so Tanya, you’re going to have to come back on this podcast again, next year with all your updates and everything. Just as we start to wrap up, though, I’m curious, how do you keep it all together? With all this innovation, with everything you’re doing, with all the ups and downs, kind of like what are your secrets? What are the things that keep you going?

Tania Peitzker:                  Principles, I want to see a better, fairer world and the whole climate change emergency. As I said, that’s what’s driving me. If we can make an intervention, if you like, through technology, and stop the mass production of smartphones and tablets and computer screens, we’ve saved a big portion of the planet, just in the pure terms of manufacturing all those devices that have wasted and used up the earth’s resources. We’ve made people healthier and happier, they’re not being run over. But they’re not going to be addicted to their screens and gaming, they’re going to be talking with each other because I think that’s one of the biggest things that have has been lost in with all the advances of technology, everybody knows. It’s also caused a lot of isolation and for young people comparing themselves with others and feeling depressed and anxiety and all the negative stuff.

So the antidote to that is moving the potential of voice and technology to more platforms in terms of space, where it’s not invasive, it’s not monitoring, it’s not surveillance tech, we don’t want to go into… we’ve said no to surveillance tech. But we want to move into a positive space that enables and encourages community and communication and getting back the sense of belonging and talking with each other and not having your eyes and minds glued to a device.

Melinda Wittstock:         Gosh, so much. Okay, so you’re going to have to come back on.

Tania Peitzker:                  In a few holograms with me. I was planning to bring Birgit, but I’m actually in my second quarantine as we speak. I know when we spoke last I was in my first quarantine. And just purely in terms of logistics or if we’d done this call a week later, when you interview me again, and I’ll have several holograms. In fact, we’re doing this for Christmas. We’re having a virtual Christmas party with five of our avatars online who will be speaking, we’ve got a French hologram and a Spanish hologram, German hologram, English on again, they’re all going to have a Christmas party with the human caretakers in our different showrooms with just scaling rapidly. So [crosstalk 00:44:17]

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh that’s amazing.

Tania Peitzker:                  Yeah, so we thought we’ve got all these 10 new showrooms and new partners, and it’s all exciting and these life size holograms. And we can’t present them at trade shows now because they keep canceling the trade shows. So what do we do? Videos don’t really do them service. So we’re going to livestream our virtual Christmas party.

Melinda Wittstock:         Ah, so how can people find out about that here who listened to this podcast, and are intrigued by what you’re doing and want to learn more and perhaps do business with you?

Tania Peitzker:                  All they have to do is Google my name or Google, AI bass, B-A-A-S, bots as a service, AI bots as a service. So we took that generic care name for our company name in Munich. And yeah, they’ll find this. We’ve got lots of micro sites all leading to our main site and that’s where we’ll publicize it on our micro sites so they won’t be able to miss it if they just plug in AI BAAS.

Melinda Wittstock:         Fantastic. Well, thank you, Tanya, for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

Tania Peitzker:                  It was a wonderful flight. Thank you, Melinda.

Tania Peitzker
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