TotaliQ, a St. John’s IT company that helps businesses use the expertise of their workforce, has struck a partnership with Université de Moncton to develop artificial intelligence for the product.

The company is currently working on an implementation project with the St. John’s engineering firm Cahill Group. It hopes that Cahill will be the first adopter of the technology and that more clients will come on board as totaliQ updates and refines its solution.

To help with that, the company is working with the Perception, Robotics and Machine Intelligence group at the Université de Moncton, directed by Professor Moulay Akhloufi of the Computer Science Department.

“TotaliQ is a knowledge-sharing solution that is focused on helping companies to collect and share their knowledge and experiences, even if it’s just to solve everyday challenges and problems,” said totaliQ Founder and CEO Andrew Sinclair in an interview.  

Sinclair has a background in the engineering, construction and natural resource sectors, and in 2016 he founded an engineering company called trajectorE. He learned that he had a problem that was common to a lot of companies in his space: They employ people with a vast range of expertise, but it’s difficult for all employees to tap that knowledge.

So he set out to develop a sister company, totaliQ, with the goal of developing a platform that can help employees in a company or organization transfer their knowledge from one to another.

The backend of the system contains a repository where employees can stash different forms of information. These include documents and project lessons, even stories, which Sinclair considers a key part of the corporate knowledge base.

Sinclair said the system’s front end resembles a social media platform where employees can find their colleagues’ posts. It includes a “Netflix-like recommendation algorithm function”, and a Q&A format so employees can find information just by typing in a question.

For the AI component, Sinclair has brought in Akhloufi’s team in Moncton, which totaliQ met through Mitacs, an organization that supports companies conducting R&D with university researchers. Mitacs and the National Research Council’s Irap program are financing the partnership.

The team is working on a machine learning algorithm that will help the system recommend to all employees the content they should consult to do their jobs. They are also working on a voice-recognition component, so employees can ask questions orally rather than by typing them in.

Sinclair said he and his six-member team, which operates out of St. John’s’ Genesis Centre, will initially target such industries as engineering, construction, oil and gas, and mining, but hopes to broaden the target market eventually. The totaliQ team hopes to devise specific functions for each industry but avoid having to customize the product for each client.

So far, totaliQ has been financed by trajectorE, and Sinclair is planning to raise investment capital for the SaaS company, though he declined to reveal the target. One final thing that Sinclair is working on is splitting the management teams of both companies. He’s now the CEO of both trajectorE and totaliQ and realizes they need their own leaders.

“It’s been busy times running both, but there is a plan in place,” he said.