More than 95% of the world’s population uses radio, making it the most popular communication technology in the world. Radio stations and DJs have also been some of Frontline’s earliest and most inspirational users, taking on climate change advocacy, coordinating responses during emergencies, amplifying voices for peace during conflict, and bringing communities together.
Over the past couple years, I’ve had the privilege of co-managing World Vision’s Speed Evidence Project, which seeks to improve information management in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. After most disasters, reliable field data is significant challenge - what we can find is normally incomplete and/or inaccurate.
Starting today, we’re making it even easier to engage, everywhere. We’d like to introduce you to FrontlineSync, our first, free Android app, available now on the Google Play Store. FrontlineSync turns any Android phone into a gateway - meaning that users can now use local phone numbers to send, receive, and manage SMS, and - for the first time - missed calls using FrontlineCloud and FrontlineSMS.
One of the most asked-about features of our apps (FrontlineSMS and FrontlineCloud) is regarding the ability to handle sending and receiving messages through a third party application or web service. Many of our users want to build apps for a wide range of application areas which talk to our apps so that we can handle their SMS functionality. Using any language that can call normal API methods many successful integrations have been developed with great success and with limited input required from us.
We recently completed a team retreat, in which we discussed our strategic vision for the future of our Frontline products. You'll see a number of major improvements coming throughout 2014 to our products. We've even created a web page so you can keep track of them over time: New Features and Updates in FrontlineCloud. Back in the office, we did a short, 1-week improvement sprint and challenged our developer team to make as many useful improvements as they could in that time. We're impressed with their output, and we think you'll find the below improvements will make the application even easier for you to use.
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.
A few weeks ago, we were invited by the Knight Foundation to join with other Knight News Challenge winners and discuss the various successes and challenges faced by our organizations. It was a terrific opportunity to recognize that many start-ups and small organizations go through nearly identical growing pains. The meeting was more than group therapy; our sessions provided some key insights into how different teams have tackled similar problems in their own contexts.
FrontlineCloud has been out in beta for just over a month, and we’re proud to have over 450 users signed up already, sending and receiving thousands of messages. The newest addition to the Frontline product set has had an incredibly warm and supportive reception on social media and in the many lovely emails we’ve received from friends, users and donors. To everyone who has retweeted, liked, emailed and signed up to look around, a huge thank you.