Based: Fort Myers, FL
Why it's Fierce: Interop Technologies may not be a familiar name to the Tier 1 operators, but we expect it soon will be. The company, which was founded by former CTIA Chairman Jim Dwyer, makes several different products including a messaging platform, device management system and the companyÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s latest innovation--a patent-pending Karaoke Tones platform that lets users create and deliver user-generated content. So far the firm's products have attracted the attention of many Tier 3 operators, probably because of Interop's ability to customize solutions for its customers.
In an interesting twist on the mobile entertainment ecosystem, chocolate-maker Hersey is using the Karaoke Tones for a promotion. It works like thisÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Âone in three buyers of Hershey products win a free download. They just follow a simple Web recording process using lyrics, voice prompts and music on a Web site to record their Karaoke tone. That saved recording then can be delivered to the content creator's mobile phone or to other wireless subscribers using Interop's messaging platform or the platforms of one of Interop's partners. The company has more than 150 deployments with more than 40 wireless operators and brand in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
What to look for: Interop executives believe the viral nature of the Karaoke Tones will appeal to other brands and to Tier 1 operators that are looking for ways to build on the success of ringtones and ringback tones.