More news about Privately

Royal support for an app with Swiss technology inside

16.11.2018 14:43
Children Smartphone

Children getting their first smartphone will be able to receive help staying safe online with a new ‘Own It’ app to be launched by the BBC. The app was announced yesterday at an event with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. A Swiss start-up and its technology play an important role in the development of the app.

The new app will provide a helping hand to youngsters taking their first steps online and on social media, to ensure they have a healthy experience in the digital world. Available in early 2019, the app will combine state of the art machine-learning technology with kids self-reporting their own online activity and moods. In response, the app will provide nudges, a helping hand and advice when their behaviour strays outside the norm. Youngsters can access the app when they’re looking for help but it will always be on-hand to give them instant, on-screen advice and support the moment they need it.

The OwnIT product is able to deliver relevant rich digital education and wellbeing resources that the child needs - in real time- on the basis of the situation that the child is facing- for example if the child is about to share their phone number online- the tech is able to warn them to think before sharing and to actually educate them about privacy.  

“The underlying technology is based on AI that understands content context and emotions and that comes from Privately”, explains Deepak Tewari, Founder and CEO of Lausanne-based Privately. A good part of the technology was developed as a result of some pioneering machine learning research via an Innosuisse project with the LSIR lab at the EPFL.

Multi-year contract with BBC
“We have worked closely the last 15 months with the BBC as well as with Prince William and his Royal Foundation on this product. This is a further progression of technology contained in our own Oyoty product”, says Deepak Tiwari. The BBC has entered into a multi-year technology-licensing contract with Privately which makes this project also attractive from a business point of view.

According to a BBC press release Prince William said: “I want to thank the BBC for their amazing work so far in developing the Own It app. They are creating a practical, powerful tool to help children use their smartphones and social media with confidence and safety. I am so proud that this has sprung out of the Cyberbullying Taskforce work. I’d also like to thank all of our partners on the Taskforce - the tech companies, the ISPs, the charities, and the academic experts.”

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