Any parent knows staying abreast of your children’s countless events, classes, and activities can be a tall order. Pelham locals Julie and Dennis Roche knew this better than anyone, raising four kids while trying to remain aware of the goings-on in their community.
To aid those in a similar situation, the couple created Burbio, an app and website that, according to Dennis, “streams school, library and community calendar event data and allows residents to follow calendars, create a personalized event feed, add to their digital calendar and be notified when things change.”
Burbio collects information from websites via automated calendar feeds that update through the app, which also allows users to post and manage their own calendar information. “Burbio operates through a website and iOS App, and now is available on Alexa the Voice assistant that powers the Echo and Echo Dot, allowing any resident to ‘Ask Alexa’ what is happening at their local school, library, or community group,” explains Dennis.
Dennis and Julie Roche
Luckily, the couple’s own backyard happened to be the ideal location for the app’s genesis. “Westchester County is tech savvy with early-adopter residents who look for more convenient ways to manage their lives,” says Julie. “In addition, the County has school-centric communities that allow for a service like Burbio to be relevant in individual towns. It also has many regional arts and community groups that are looking for better ways to communicate,” she adds.
Dennis agrees, noting that Westchester “is a microcosm of what we find in other parts of the country, and is proving to be a great testing ground as we expand our service. Our goal is to make Westchester a showcase for how voice search can improve communication with residents.”
According to the couple, Burbio currently has more than 150 advertising clients and is growing rapidly, with the app already operating in more than 200 towns stretching from Boston to Washington DC. The clients, from which the company sources revenue, appear in email updates and on the website, and share town events from Burbio on social media.
Ahead, Burbio plans to introduce the ability for businesses to post their events on Burbio and Alexa. “So a local wine shop, restaurant, or retail outlet can post their events on Burbio and tell their patrons that they can ‘Ask Alexa” any time about what is going on at their business, and follow the calendar for email updates,” says Julie.