This week’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco is a lot different for Urban Airship than it was two years ago. Instead of handing out Costco Danishes to developers lined up to go into the conference center, Urban Airship CEO Scott Kveton is busy with business meetings in London – but the company is sending a few people to attend Apple’s big event – with tickets in tow.
In 2009, Kveton didn’t have a ticket and that’s why he was handing out free Danishes (yes, people accepted the pastries from a guy on the street) while getting the word out about his company – which at the time consisted of himself and three other co-founders. He didn’t know it then, but that stint led to at least two significant customers for the Portland, Ore.-based push notification company.
Today, Urban Airship is growing rapidly, employing about 30. Verizon, Dictionary.com, Groupon, Tapulous and Warner Bros. are a few of the companies that use its platform to reach and engage target audiences and increase app revenue streams. Urban Airship says it delivers, on average, 20 million push notifications every day, or about 14,000 messages per minute.
It recently moved to a new hybrid cloud hosting infrastructure whereby it can continue to scale and meets the needs of its growing customer base. It’s also formally launching Helium, an end-to-end messaging stack that allows application developers and other third parties to send messages directly from their servers to mobile devices.
It’s similar to Apple’s APNS and Android C2DM, providing low latency and high efficiency push notifications by controlling the queuing and delivering messages to target apps. It uses a persistent IP connection and is designed to be a white-label notification solution, offering carriers, device manufacturers and others a reliable messaging solution that they can bake directly into products.
That’s not all. The company is releasing its Push Composer and Reports products, introduced in February, into general availability. Kveton says the reports provide quantitative data on mobile app performance, including application opens, length of user engagement and user response to specific push notifications.
The company started out with iOS but moved to a cross-platform approach that includes support for multiple operating systems, including Android. It also tweaked its approach in terms of engaging developers at WWDC in one significant way: graduating from Costco pastries to handing out coffee instead.