What are we up to with Kindspace?Caroline Laurenson
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
It’s been a while since we gave an update on our activities behind the scenes with our Kindspace wellbeing application for Amazon Alexa, so here is a little round-up of what we’ve been up to.
Over the last few months our little team has nearly doubled in size. We’ve been fortunate to be able to take on two Kickstart placements through the government scheme with the hope of training them up in voice application design so that they can support our Kindspace development activities, develop new complementary voice experiences and potentially get to work on other project collaborations that we have in the pipeline. More on that to come!
In this blog I wanted to share with you some of the things we’ve been working on and our near-term plans. We’ve been a little resource constrained and have had things on our wish list for a while that we’re now really excited to get after.
Our team has recently expanded to include two new Kickstart trainees who are learning all about conversation design for Amazon Alexa and gaining insight into what it’s like to work in a tech start-up.
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In the background we have been doing very important work to make sure that our Kindspace user data is secure and that we are prepared with all mitigations should anything happen. This series of tasks have been quite time consuming and has required us to better understand both the tech and legislative side.
At the moment we don’t collect any personal information and this has been a very conscious decision as we want to treat your data with the highest respect and ensure that when data is collected we endeavour to keep it to the absolute minimum possible to give you a good user experience and that we try to be as transparent as possible about how any personal data is used.
This area is ever evolving as new challenges are presented from cybersecurity threats. But what is good is consumers are becoming much more aware of the value of their data to businesses and that not all companies will treat the data that they collect ethically.
We have written a company digital ethics statement that outlines our guiding principles. This ensures that the person and their needs always stays at the centre of how the data is stored, used and shared.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as we know there have been some recent stories in the news about mental health companies sharing anonymised data for research purposes without transparently ensuring that the individuals consented to this.
The BBC covered this story about user data from the Crisis Text Line (CTL) being used to train Loris.ai artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
Click the headline to the right for the full story: Mental health helpline ends data-sharing relationship
We applied for Digital Boost funding from the Scottish Government and were successful in securing a 50% grant to create a new website for Kindspace. The current Kindspace website was built by me on Mailerlite as a low cost temporary solution so that we had at least some sort of web presence and a place where we could share additional information about the benefits and features within the Kindspace voice skill for Amazon Alexa.
Kindspace is a growing community and we really want that community to have a home as well as the ability to augment the voice experience with other digital content. We’ve got lots of ideas around creating an exclusive members area with additional resources as well as allowing our Kindspace users to securely access their data.
We’ve also been working on revamping our social media posting strategy. The main change is that all our curated news will now be shared via Twitter, with less frequent posting across our other channels. If you like to follow the news stories that we share then head over to Twitter and follow us there. We’ll no longer be sharing the wellbeing Tip of the Day every day on Instagram, only on alternate days and not at the weekends. This is to make space for our other support content and give you a break at the weekend (or opportunity to catch-up on our content through the week). If you like the Tip of the Day feature then you can access a condensed version of this on Twitter and the full content will remain available on the Kindspace LinkedIn page.
Here’s a quick summary of each of our social media channels and what you can expect to see in the content. We felt that rather than replicating all our posts across each platform that we’d start to make them more suited to each audience’s needs.
|TLTechsmart FACEBOOK||Blog articles and material helping people to find out more about what TL Tech does and how we can help with their tech and smart home needs.|
|TLTechsmart LINKEDIN||Blog articles and material helping people to find out more about what TL Tech does and how we can help with their tech and smart home needs.|
|Kindspace LINKEDIN||Kindspace wellbeing Tip of the Day. Blog articles and material helping people to find out more about what Kindspace is and how it can help boost wellbeing.|
|TLTechsmart TWITTER||Kindspace wellbeing Tip of the Day. Curated news across tech, wellbeing, healthy ageing, digital inclusion and more. Blog articles and material helping people to find out more about what Kindspace is and how it can help boost wellbeing.|
|TLTechsmart INSTAGRAM||Updates on smart home projects and special offers, including our free advice sessions and training programmes.|
|Kindspace INSTAGRAM||We are growing a lovely community over on Instagram, where we’re sharing even more wellbeing content and support material.|
At the moment we’ve parked our Pinterest activities. We’ve also set up an account on Tik Tok, but are yet to create any content yet for this.
I’m a pretty open person and we’ve been enjoying sharing our journey with you. Kindspace inherently has incorporated ideas from lots of people. I like to think of Kindspace as crowdsourced peer support, that shares your lived experiences and gives you ideas of things to try in your own life. I’ve spent a lot of time collating the database and crafting all the wording so that is has the right tone and ensuring that all advice is well researched. Similarly, the daily check-in has gone through many iterations to get the questions perfect. When I researched the ways in which wellbeing and inter-related factors such as loneliness are measured, I discovered that often the line of questioning can be quite blunt. Literally asking “do you feel lonely?” and I knew that we needed a user experience that felt supportive and empathetic.
Unfortunately, we are now seeing issues with copycat applications, that have completely ripped off our hard work. When I saw the skill Chasing Wellness in the Amazon store and opened up the listing page I immediately felt sick as the wording in many places is word-for-word a copy of ours. I guess this is to be expected, but I didn’t expect it to be so blatant and it now presents us with the issue of how best to deal with situations like this. In theory copyright law is there to protect you, but enforcing it is a whole new learning curve.
I had actually started writing this blog piece before I found this issue online just last week. It had been my intention to tell you more about the great workshop we had with the team at the end of last year and give you a sneak peak of the new things we’ve got coming out. I hope you understand me feeling a bit more guarded, but I can share that we’re working on some really cool new voice experiences and are doing a major shake up of the Tip of the Day feature with a whole new interactive web-based calendar coming out hopefully next month. Oh, and if you use the Alexa Flash Briefing feature on your smart speaker, Kindspace is coming to Flash Briefings soon too. Watch this space!!!!!
From this very brief update you’ll probably gather that running a tech start-up can be challenging, there are a lot of moving parts to manage and sometimes set-backs. Keeping up momentum and ensuring that we’re creating content that serves you requires a high degree of dedication and belief that what we do matters. What we all do matters. Every action that you take however small is creating your life story. You have the power to take action and change your future. Remembering this when things are tough is probably the hardest thing. It takes real effort to keep a positive mindset and I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to make mistakes or to take the long road and I need to be brave, to be vulnerable.
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