We want to say thank you to all of our users and supporters for a tremendous and inspiring 2013. Your ideas, input, and investments helped us achieve so many accomplishments over the past year: we topped 100,000 downloads with FrontlineSMS. We launched FrontlineCloud. We received a Google Impact Award for our work with our partner Landesa to secure land rights for 80,000 families in India.
By these and many other metrics, 2013 was our biggest year to date. But 2014 is shaping up to be even bigger. We kicked off the year with a team retreat to dream, plan and prioritize some of our biggest and best features and products to date.
Here's a sneak peak at what's on the table for the Frontline team in the year to come.
Our 2014 Product Roadmap: A Teaser
These are just a few of the planned releases for 2014. We hope you'll find these as exciting as we do ... and that this list will only foreshadow even more features.
- New FrontlineSMS Desktop release - we mentioned when we released FrontlineCloud that we will continue to grow and support FrontlineSMS, our desktop application, and it's true. In fact, we're planning at least two updates to FrontlineSMS early in 2014, thanks to the generous support of our friends at the Open Society Foundations. Stay tuned for some terrific additions, including setting routing preferences, improved contacts, a better translation management system, and new ways to connect to the communities you care about.
- FrontlineCloud will become our most streamlined product yet - Our goal is to make mobile messaging simpler for all users. FrontlineCloud is a great start -- it now has the broadest reach of any mobile messaging platform to date. But we think we can make it easier to use and add more useful features to make it one of the most robust messaging platforms out there. We're kicking off 2014 by making FrontlineCloud more streamlined, easier to scale, and adding a host of useful features.
- Missed Calls Feature for FrontlineSMS and FrontlineCloud - This has been requested by numerous users, and we're responding! Soon, both FrontlineCloud and FrontlineSMS will have the ability to recognize a missed call (sometimes called a "ping" or a "flash" call) -- all from a Frontline-branded Android app. This will be a game-changing feature for many of our users, allowing their communities to reach them using calls in addition to SMS. In many countries, this means a free and easy way for your communities to communicate with you.
New Projects and New Team Members
Thanks to numerous awards granted to Frontline in the latter half of 2013, we're able to start on a host of new projects through 2014 and beyond. It also means new offices and new team members. To highlight just a few:
- We're hiring! - Our team will double in size in 2014 -- and we have plenty of fun work for our new team members. Interested in joining us? You can look at our jobs page to see if there's a position that fits you!
- Land Rights Project in India - Working with our partner Landesa, this year we are laying the ground work to help connect more than 80,000 families with land rights in the state of Odisha, India. This will give us the opportunity to further demonstrate the impact SMS can have on legal services. You can read more about the project here. Our new :Legal Project Director, Keith Porcaro, has joined us, and you'll be hearing from him soon.
- Governance and Democracy - We've received awards from the Hewlett Foundation and the United Nations Democracy Fund to assist governments in improving service delivery projects and support democratization efforts around the world. More details to come, but we will have opportunities to train both civil society groups and governments in ways to use SMS to create more efficient service delivery mechanisms around the world. We're hiring a new Governance project Director - check out our jobs page to apply!
- Credit - We've also received an award from the UK's Department for International Development to expand and improve on our work with mobile money systems. This will include creating new Payments plugins for our software, as well as helping organizations to collect, disburse and analyze mobile money transfers via Kenya's M-Pesa system.
More to Come
This is just the start of our plans for 2014. We laid out a detailed software roadmap for 2014 during our retreat that includes a number of new features -- things requested by our users and a number of additional surprises we think you'll find useful. We also have more project awards to announce, and we're exploring new funding opportunities to grow our team and our product set even more.
No Frontline product could advance without our users and supporters, and we hope the features and products forthcoming in 2014 serve as a practical thank you for all of your dedicated efforts.