A Visual Global Language to Revolutionize Communications
A Visual Global Language to Revolutionize Communications
Wilson Santurio is the founder of IHumanFocus, a company located in Salto, Uruguay, that gives assessment services to enterprises, politicians and professionals in the utilization of the internet and social networks. This experienced entrepreneur and assessor has worked for more than a decade in the development of a visual and global language, and, with 'touch' technology, he aims at revolutionizing communications through mobile devices. He absolutely believes in the many possibilities this method offers and has the backup of a solid study of ancient languages, such as the first known references located in Africa, 60.000 ago. With his innovation and knowledge, he looks for investors in Canada to boost his idea once and for all.
The Uruguayan businessman will participate in the LatAm Startups Conference, that will be held in Lima, Peru, on September 26th and 27th and where he will have a dual role: entrepreneur and lecturer. He has written more than 14 books about the internet and information technology, he has directed more than 360 seminars and conferences related to the internet, telecommunications and digital education. He is a professor of Internet Applied to Business at ORT University in Montevideo and frequent collaborator in his country's media.
What's your trajectory as an entrepreneur?
I was born in Uruguay but I studied in Buenos Aires. There, I founded a Startup for the development of multimedia services in the late '90s. I made apps for Argentina, Spain, Chile and many other countries related to digital education and based on multimedia technology. Basically, what I did was taking textbooks and I turned them into a multimedia complementary version.
Sometime after that, when the crisis struck Argentina, I came back to Uruguay and I was involved in a teleworking project that was very interesting. I travelled by the country many times and visited more than forty cities training people so that they could do this job.
I finally founded IHumanFocus, whose fundamental idea is to assess companies and politicians in taking advantages of the internet.
Do you think that in Latin America internet-related possibilities are not exploited yet?
I think that Latin American countries have not been successful when it comes to taking advantage of the internet, such as developed countries do. We do it differently, from the web's point of view, social networks, presentation of services, partners and markets search... we are trying to highlight the advantages of the internet in the development of business relationships, without the need of commuting or physical contact at all.
But you are looking for investors in a project that, according to your words, would revolutionize social and business relationships through mobile technology?
That's the idea, indeed. I've been working for more than ten years in a prototype of a visual language and with 'touch' technology.
Could you give us more details?
There are, in the world, too many languages, and that it is a huge communicative problem for humanity. Little time ago, we didn't have the technology for a new language to burst in the field of global communication and aiming at having an important impact.
There were some trials in the past, like Esperanto, that failed because it was as complex to understand as any other language. These kind of approaches have failed since their complexity and learning process didn't offer proportional benefits.
But now we are in conditions to of offering a new global and visual language, through 'touch' technology that reaches a number of users so important that surpasses the rest of the languages. Seven years ago, this wasn't possible since we didn't have the 'touch' technology, but since the IPad creation, we can do it. This technology allows us to communicate visually, without the need of a phonetic, written language.
What investigations have triggered your project?
I have been studying ancient languages and hieroglyphs for fourteen years, The first languages were African and it was there that started a diversification that leads us to 7000 current languages and dialects. My project is to create a new language that is based on an old idea. Ancient Chinese ideograms were images that represented an idea.
With this base, I intend to create a language that allows all people to communicate in a simple way, with a language that's easy to use and learn - we're talking about less than two weeks. This way then, someone could travel to Africa and order a pizza just with a mobile app that expresses what they want.
We can't forget that, outside the writing system, the whole environment - specially for kids - is based on images, it is visual, and it is demonstrated that 80% of the human brain process images easier than letters.
What would be the main characteristics of this new visual language?
It's not written, it is used in your mobile with a database of images and an interface suitable for simple elections. In this new language, there will be no phonemes, or letters or smileys. It's not a visual Esperanto either, it's much simpler.
You insist on the importance of the moment.
Because it is now that it can be done, now we have the 'touch' technology for it. But on the other hand, 60% of the internet traffic is done from mobile devices and this language is thought to be used through mobiles. Apart from that, the emerging markets are Asian and Latin American, and it's the opportunity to make an integration in a unique communicative system.
What's the dimension of this new language?
From 50.000 to 100.000 words, depending on the language we choose, but not all these words are used with the same frequency. In English, for instance, only 2700 words express 90% of what it is said.
We are planning to reduce that volume. For example, the phrase 'Where are you from?' has 18 characters and this requires touching your phone 18 times. We would do that by touching a mobile only four times.
Why are you seeking Canadian investors for this project?
Local investors have a local vision. They are used to investing on real estate, agro businesses, mining or infrastructure, but not on technology.
Although now there are many initiatives such as StartUp Chile, StartUp Brazil or StartUp Peru, they are often focused on seed capital, that is usually 20.000 USD, with the exception of StartUp Chile, that offers 40.000 USD, but that budget is simply not enough for such a global, digital project.
The seed capital in developed countries is normally half a million dollars. My experience tells me that this kind of investors are quite hard to meet in Latin America.
What are the hesitations that Latin American investors present?
The most common one, is the idea that we cannot change the world. When I tell them about the project they tell me ''well, but this is to be that by the States or by Europe''. Why can't we, Latin people, innovate? Why can't we stop being passive observers and get in the technological avant - garde?
How much do you need to develop this project?
700.000 USD in two years to develop the design of the visual language, testing with local users and the development of the app itself.