As Vlingo blog readers, I suspect many of you are familiar with CTIA Wireless, the industry show that is held twice a year. But many of you are just Vlingo users who love using your voice to interact with your phone and the increasing number of applications available on those phones. So for those of you who haven’t heard of CTIA, let me tell you a bit about it. The larger of the two CTIA shows is held every Spring in Las Vegas and usually fills up the city with people who make their living innovating in the wireless industry. The really big guys that build phones are all there with extravagant booths along with small startup companies with cool ideas and everything in between. It is usually a place where companies like to make big announcements. Last year, Vlingo did just that as we announced our strategic Yahoo relationship. It was a great show!
So how was this year?
There are several things I could say along these lines but let me start with this. Vlingo has made ourselves known in the industry. Last year, we would spend all of our time talking about two things. First we would tell people who we were and why our company was created. Then we would give them a demo and watch their jaw drop to the floor. (It was a lot of fun!) This year, we no longer have to explain who we are and most of the people I speak with have already downloaded our application to their iPhone or Blackberry.
One more thing I noticed is that the number of companies claiming to have services similar to Vlingo has increased significantly in the last year. But I remain really encouraged because we continue to rise above the noise. Most of the competitive service offerings have serious limitations that include a reliance on human transcribers or general functionality limitations and people tend to notice those things pretty quickly. Sometimes we are simply competing against another company’s promise that they can eventually do what “Vlingo does”. But they can’t. However, we will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to innovate and get back to those jaw dropping moments!
RIM’s launch of their BlackBerry App World™ was also a bright spot for us. It was a great launch and Vlingo has been between the #4 and #7 top downloaded application (depending on carrier and device) on that storefront since the first day!
Before I close this post, I’d like to say a few things about the industry itself. In many ways, CTIA was noticeably quieter this year due to the overall economy. Many companies scaled down their booths or skipped that part of the show altogether. Taxi lines were simply long instead of completely-insane-long and hotel rooms could be had at a reasonable rate. But I noticed that none of the people I spoke with were depressed about the economy. Everyone is looking forward. Everyone is looking to find ways to give innovative and useful services to their customers. And companies are increasingly concerned about providing a better user experience in those services. And this is great for Vlingo because this is exactly what we are passionate about!
And so we are looking forward as well. See you next year!
Troy Cross – Head of Sales and Global Alliances