Startup Village incubatee Agrima rolls out VIKI, BlackBerry's virtual personal assistant app

weather1Agrima Infotech India Pvt Ltd, a company incubated at Kochi Startup Village, has developed a virtual personal assistant app named VIKI exclusively for BlackBerry devices, a top executive of the company told

VIKI, similar to iPhone's Siri, will be available on BlackBerry World handsets from April onwards. It will be also bundled with BlackBerry's new handsets by the end of this year.

"BlackBerry gave us sponsorship to develop VIKI. The company has assured us that VIKI will be set as a featured app on BlackBerry World. The company's Indian officials have also provided technical assistance required for the development of VIKI," said Agrima co-founder Arun Ravi, who set up the company along with his friends Anoop Balakrishnan and Nikhil Dharman in 2011.

VIKI is an app that serves like your personal assistant and caters to all your needs. One will be able to schedule meetings, set reminders and get news in real time, as well as weather forecasts, movie reports, sports scores, navigation directions, etc.

"VIKI is an app which can help a user in every situation like a personal assistant. We expect 500,000 downloads in the first year," said Ravi.

Moreover, the 'buddy talk' feature in the app can engage everyone with friendly conversation. "VIKI can identify voice commands. It means you can simply tell it what to do – right from sending messages and e-mail, making calls, scheduling meetings and operating any other app to posting on your social media accounts, choosing a movie, finding a restaurant, getting news/weather updates, etc.," explained Ravi.

The company, however, claims that VIKI is different from Siri. "Siri is available only on iPhones and supports maps in the US only. But VIKI supports these options anywhere in the world," noted Ravi.

Agrima also claims that VIKI is customisable and can function according to individual requirements. It is also able to solve mathematical problems within seconds. To use this app, a user will be charged $3 per year.

"BlackBerry phones are commonly used by corporate employees who are mostly busy professionals. VIKI helps transform their phones into personal assistants and stay tuned. So we think there is an immense opportunity here," said Ravi.

Agrima currently has seven people on board and the team has also developed and patented a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence.

Earlier, another Indian startup Dexetra  developed a Siri-like app called Iris for Android devices.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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