About Us


   Echobox was inspired by the story of Stan Beaton, a widower and old age pensioner living in Yorkshire, England. Stan hears Ruby’s voice again. His beloved wife Ruby’s voice remained on their answering machine, and he treasured it. Stan had tried to capture the recording himself but without much understanding of editing and electronics he was incapable. Instead he simply never changed their answering machine’s welcome-message. He listened to it often as a source of comfort, when was missing her most and when he just wanted to hear that “wonderful, wonderful sound”. To Stan’s dismay, in 2014 a revamping of the service provider’s system required customers to record a new message. For Stan, this meant that the sound he cherished for so long was lost. He was devastated. Luckily, the recording was found and kindly returned to him. He was moved to tears and it was very touching to watch, but there was something I found irritating about it all – it began to upset me. While the wonders of technology never cease to further astound and entrance us, there are many incredible people being left behind. Senior citizens are mainly unfamiliar with newer technologies, and with less disposable money to spend than younger generations, marketing to this demographic is typically not in the interests of big business. As a result, most applications and platforms do not take into consideration seniors’ wants or needs like they could – like they should – and their stories are being lost. A huge opportunity for healing, understanding and connection is being completely missed. It is an absolute disgrace… but hey, what could I do? My wife and I had little understanding of technology ourselves and certainly weren’t in a position to dive into a new small business adventure. Besides, we were happily spending any free time raising our two girls who were growing older every minute. As sweet as the idea of ‘doing something’ for our elderly friends and relatives sounded, we agreed it would be quite a silly passion for us to pursue.

Back Story

   The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. How could I best record seniors’ voices; even properly capture a life story? Echobox evolved from a recording service idea, to a form of interactive website, then finally what became our pilot project (or MVP) – an application. Before approaching any development companies, we refined the design as much as possible. What would be the easiest way for families to use it? Some things we were certain of, right from the beginning: 1) No advertising – it is annoying and distracting. 2) No privacy concerns, data farming or third-party involvement – distancing ourselves from these issues would be paramount. 3) No comments, ‘likes’ or other such notifications to disturb or entice our Users – these evils manifest into misuse, overuse and even online bullying. 4) We’d keep it simple: each User’s Echobox would contain several suggestive topics to capture stories, record memories and catalogue their favorite things about life. These engaging topics would cover the senses: Food/Recipes, TV/Movies, Music, Hobbies/Interests, Travels, Childhood, Games, Garden, Jobs/Work, Automobiles, Sports, Hopes/Dreams – and so many more!  5) We’d make it fun. Each story in a User’s Echobox (each Storyblock) would have room for a title, 1,000 words of text, a short audio recording, a short video recording and a picture. The idea? Fill up your Echobox with Storyblocks and leave a digital legacy behind! 6) We would use several existing statistical factors to our advantage; the future growth of Alberta’s (and Canada’s) senior population, the lack of a suitable ‘go-to’ tech-based solution for digital legacies and senior storytelling, the well-documented effort to capture Oral Histories among several First Nations communities across the country, the increasing distances between family members in today’s day and age and a blossoming local tech sector. We met with a few Calgary-based development companies, chose the best fit and started digging in.

   After years of consideration and months of design, we quietly launched our pilot model in July of 2020 amidst the concern and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic. Without the chance to showcase ‘Echobox Memory Vault’ at a launch party or public event, we were even more determined to network the innovation through emails, social media, phone calls (so many cold calls!) – even at an outdoor, Covid-friendly night market. We managed to get exposure on a local news piece on CTV Calgary News. CTV News Story The story resonated so well here it was broadcast on affiliate stations right across Canada! We started getting phone calls, feedback and more interest. A few months later, (after making a few more cold calls overseas), Echobox was featured on the BBC in an International news-piece with Michelle Lyons! BBC News Story There is something very special about the sentiment surrounding this concept. Suddenly we were in communication with people in several countries, arranging times for zoom meetings etc. What surprised us most was that so much of the interest was coming from different caregiving groups and various health care professionals. I was invited to showcase Echobox on the first of many podcasts (Dr Karen Wyatt’s ‘End Of Life University Podcast’ out of Colorado), was featured on National Canadian radio (Global News Radio show ‘The Shift’ with Shane Hewitt) and written about in magazine articles as far away as New Zealand (AgedPlus Magazine out of Auckland). A swell of interest rolled in from caregivers all over the world! It was marvelously baffling. Echobox was suddenly being called a ‘tool’, ‘groundbreaking’, even ‘revolutionary’! We were shocked. We had meant to create a digital legacy platform, not attract international attention from the health care sector during a global pandemic! Recreation Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Dementia Care, Palliative Care, Memory Care Specialists, Early Onset Alzheimer’s caregivers, Death Doulas etc began telling us it was much more! Once we began to hold Zoom and FaceTime meetings with these incredible people we began to understand why.

   Any caregiver or enterprise using Echobox would be encouraging and enabling exceptionally better individual care! (Please see “Some of the incredible benefits and impacts Echobox Memory Vault will soon deliver” on Home Page). We turned back to our research, finding ways to use the pandemic to our advantage. We joined more Instagram groups, learned about caregiver burnout, the differences between hospice care, long term care and stay-at-home care, differences between the Canadian and American health systems and so on. We were determined to network like fury and learn more from these passionate, hard-working members of the caregiving world. There were various conferences we should know about, so many conventions to be aware of, people to connect with, projects and companies to contact and keep track of, etc. We learned more about the privacy boundaries and restrictions between doctors’ and patients’ information, met with dozens and dozens of various caregivers to gather information from their experiences: their day to day activities, the availability of devices at their work, the kinds of devices, the amount of beds, the turnover rate, and how many people were cared for at home vs in a facility. It became obvious that our MVP model couldn’t accommodate the corporate structure, bundles and packages that would be needed. A completely different format was necessary, with an administrative portal and other core alterations. We’d be moving from a Business to Consumer (B2C) to a Business to Business (B2B). All of our efforts clearly revealed the direction Echobox needed to go, but it was back to the drawing board.

   We got straight to work designing the new corporate model using the surplus of information we’d researched and received. Unlike our pilot model (where Users created individual accounts on mobile devices, then searched for and approved of other Echobox Users as ‘Friends’ or ‘Contacts’ to share memories with) the new solution wouldn’t be based around individual accounts, and couldn’t have any ‘befriending’ functions. Due to privacy policies and limitations surrounding shared personal information, it wouldn’t be possible. Instead, the new model would welcome enterprises and small businesses to create corporate accounts using a web-based portal. At this administrative level, the signing authority (CEO, President, Senior Program Director, Recreation Therapist, etc) would select an appropriate subscription for their facility and create Echoboxes for patients / residents. Authorized caregivers and staff in that facility would be invited to that account via email. Once caregivers are approved, they would be free to start capturing life stories, precious memories and helpful details for the people in that location on the facility’s own devices OR their own. Echobox Memory Vault would serve as an ongoing interactive workstation and loving reference guide for everyone under that roof. Ultimately when a patient or resident passes away, their Echobox will accomplish its original intention of being a unique, loving source of grief support for family, and a charming legacy and tribute to their life – safe and secure from fire, flood, loss or theft.

   We are absolutely thrilled to announce we are officially in the development stages of our new SaaS iteration of Echobox Memory Vault: A non-pharmaceutical and person-centred Senior Healthcare Solution!