Brett Simpson demonstrates the Breadbin Interactive digital kiosk.
Breadbin Interactive, founded and owned by Brett Simpson, is an innovative concept specialising in the sourcing and delivery of digital content through user friendly digital kiosks.
Speaking to HumanIPO about the development of Breadbin Interactive, he said: “I went through a bit of a personal epiphany moment as a lot of people do when they go through that sort of journey [fighting cancer], in that really, I have nothing to lose and I always had the ambition of creating a business.”
Simpson said he “always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never had the courage.”
During the final stages of his surgery procedure, his business partner at the time supplied him with a computer and together they began the business.
The business officially launched in 2006 as a project called Freedom Toaster.
Simpson describes it as a “way of reading open source software”.
“We came up with the concept of putting all the open source software flavours onto a machine... and the project grew from there.”
“Freedom”, as reads the tattoo on Simpson’s wrist, is representational of him opening his own business, beating cancer and providing open source education tools for free.
Open source software refers to software that is openly licensed, allowing people to re-adjust or re-calibrate it.
According to Simpson, the name “Breadbin” was initially inspired by old fashioned bread bins, which inspired him to use the word bread in a different context.
“Instead of bread as nutrition and sustenance for the day as a human being, we saw knowledge as being that. So its [Breadbin Interactive’s digital kiosks] almost like a bread bin that is filled with information and filled with content and filled with tools,” which are intended to help people empower themselves.
Breadbin Interactive’s digital kiosks are equipped with a touch screen interface with which users are able to choose and preview as well as burn content onto disks, flash drives or to mobile phones and laptop computers through Wi-Fi.
Simpson said often people think of Breadbin Interactive as digital kiosk manufacturers, which they are not as the kiosks are manufactured by Cape Town based company XYZ.
“We’re specialists in content aggregation and dissemination in a very easy and cost effective way, that’s really our speciality.”
Simpson believes the digital kiosks are user friendly as it was the prime concern when designing them.
“Its always the most critical thing for Breadbin when we’re creating something. To make it as intuitive as Apple creates their products to be. Our landing page for our traditional user interface [includes] six buttons to choose from and from those six buttons you make your choice and columns open up based on your choice.”
From the choice selected from one of the six buttons, users are able to access specific content that can be previewed and downloaded.
“It is very important to us that people can figure it out without explanation,” Simpson said.
Breadbin Interactive's main focus currently is e-learning.
“E-Learning is where we’re taking the kiosks, its where our business is aimed... All the business partners who are involved, myself included, have a history of education, so it was fairly obvious that we were going to move away from software exclusively to open educational resources.
“There are amazing things happening in the educational arena at the moment, with publishers being challenged with digital content distribution as opposed to physical hard copies that people have to buy.
“The Limpopo [textbook] crises has really set things off... and now its become a very big focus for education in what they call open education resources,” said Simpson.
He added: “It is paid for, quality content that people make, that teachers make, that NPOs (non-profit organisations), make but it is just funded differently. Instead of the end-user paying for it, a corporate investment department might pay for the development of it, but its given freely to the end user and thats the key.”
Breadbin Interactive’s vision is to revolutionise the education system so that a child without resources will acquire critical education without having to purchase a textbook. Instead of a teacher relaying information, the teacher will facilitate it.
Freedom Toaster/Breadbin Interactive was incubated by the Shuttleworth Foundation and was one of the first projects to exit the foundation and become commercially successful.
“What the Shuttleworth Foundation do is... fund very innovative thinkers around connectivity and education.”
Furthermore Breadbox Interactive won an award through Africa SMME (Small Micro to Medium Enterprise) and TT100, which named Breadbox the best emerging ICT company in South Africa.