GenBand knows its servers are only as valuable as the software that runs on them, and that’s why it’s offering cash prizes to developers who create innovative apps for its A2 Communications Server. “We wanted to offer something that would capture their attention, and offering cash prizes, focusing on categories that were very important to our customers and our customers’ customers; that’s one of the things that we felt like we needed to do,” said GenBand’s Sara Hughes, senior director of applications solutions marketing.
Last year, the contest produced several apps that have since taken off for service providers and their customers. SwitchPoint makes an app that restaurants can use to replace the buzzers that vibrate when a table is ready. Users share their mobile numbers with the restaurant host, and get a text when their table is ready. They can also call for an automated message to find out how much longer they have to wait. SwitchPoint says that the biggest benefit for restaurants is the ability to find out how many customers they lose due to wait times.
Hughes says the same app has many possible uses — healthcare clinics, hair salons and many other venues where people need to wait. Hughes says apps like SwitchPoint’s give service providers a unique offering for small businesses.
GenBand itself was a small business just 13 years ago. The company has grown from a four-person startup to a 1,700-person firm with more than $700 million in annual revenue. The Wall Street Journal recently named GenBand number one on its annual list of the top 50 venture-backed companies in America. And as GenBand considers a possible initial public offering next year, winning a contest like that could offer the biggest cash prize of all.