Developed by industry alumni.
A collection of experienced appliance industry executives are set to launch a world-first smart home product for Christmas.
Their creation is Birde – a smart media player that has been designed and developed in Australia specifically for young children and featuring world-first technology to enable a safe and secure method of listening to music and audiobooks as well as watching video.
Birde was the brainchild of former product development engineer at Breville, Daniel Corkin, who came up with the idea when he realised there was no media player designed for young children.
“My biggest fear was the amount of inappropriate content our kids could find on devices like tablets. Plus all of the new ‘kid friendly’ products are actually on technology that has been designed for adults,” Corkin said.
L to R: Ray Corkin, Richard Harrod, Daniel Corkin, Jack Lord, Wade Beach and Mark Lee
Working alongside friend and Breville designer Richard Harrod, Corkin created a truly kid-friendly smart speaker. Instead of using voice commands, children simply tap a token, called a ‘Birde Seed’, against the speaker and it will play their favourite content.
Along with his father Ray Corkin, former Technical Director at Sunbeam, the team set about building a system using high quality audio components and best in class technologies.
The system is built using interactive NFC (near field communication), cloud-based storage, adaptive streaming bitrates and inductive wireless charging. The high quality speakers are waterproof and the content Seeds are made from ABS (the same material as Lego blocks) and food grade dye ensuring the whole system is completely safe in little hands.
Parents are able to control the system with an app, available on Apple and Android devices, allowing them to restrict usage, control volume and administer the system.
The smart media player has been designed and developed in Australia specifically for young children
Former CEO of Sunbeam and Breville and now Birde CEO Jack Lord, was impressed from the very beginning. He said Birde is a world first because it solves the number one concern of parents which is to enable their young children access to technology in a safe and controlled way.
“Current research indicates that while a third of preschool aged children have their own tablets or smartphones and are spending four hours a day using them, parents have major concerns about the amount of screen time and the type of content their children are exposed to,” Lord said.
Birde is aiming to capture a slice of the largely untapped, children’s content segment of the video-on-demand market, overall estimated to be worth more than US$16 billion worldwide. In Australia alone, the potential reach is over 1.2 million children under five years of age.
Content partners including ABC Kids, Storybots, Sinking Ship, Dinosnores and Omens Studios are all signed for launch with many more providers to come.
Parents can control the system with an app, allowing them to restrict usage and more
Former head of sales at Palsonic, Mark Lee, joined the team in March as general manager – sales. He has already received strong support from the Narta group including Bing Lee, Betta stores and Leading Edge group. The product will be distributed by Ingram Micro.
“The response so far from retailers has been overwhelming as they see it as a new growth product in the Edutech segment of the smart home market,” Lee said.
Rounding out the team is Wade Beach a former executive with Braun, Sunbeam, Conair and Retravision who is the chief strategy officer on the Birde project which has been incubated and accelerated within the offices of GuihenJones, a Sydney-based marketing communication business that specialises in web-based digital technologies.
Birde will launch a significant paid marketing campaign in the lead up to Christmas 2018. The Birde console is $299 and includes $60 worth of music, video and audiobook content and a wireless charging base. It will be available from the Birde.co website and from select retailers. The seeds retail from $11.95 and will be available exclusively from the product’s website.