YO! is a hybrid social messaging and sharing app with a unique catch: its users can connect with each other on a wireless, Internet-less network.
Currently in beta testing, Yo!’s origins are distinctly rooted in the Bangladeshi business context. The patent-pending technology behind YO! has been developed by the Bangladeshi office of Canadian developer Left of Dot Media Inc.
YO! is not to be confused with the other Yo app that launched in Jun 2014. That app, which centers entirely around users sending each other a single word (Yo), operates in an entire different ballgame than this YO!.
Available in Bangla, English, and Spanish languages, the app was announced at the recent Digital World 2015.
“Our goal is to connect every person on the planet, so it makes sense for us to start in Bangladesh where the idea came to life,” said John Lyotier, Co-Founder and CMO, Left of the Dot Media.
“We built YO! because we had a pain we needed to solve,” said Rakibul Islam, CEO of W3Engineers, and Managing Director for Left of the Dot in Bangladesh. “We are pleased to launch the app here first.”
SD Asia had a chance to visit YO!’s stall on the last day of Digital World, and sit down with Md. Saifur Rahman, Development Manager at W3Engineers. We discussed in length about YO!: its features, strengths, and how the team is going to move forward with its launch worldwide.
Tell us about your app.
SR: YO! is a free mobile app that functions as chatting and sharing app. It empowers users to share messages as well as content like apps, photos, videos and music.
While it can connect to the Internet, YO!’s winning feature is its hyperlocal connectivity. You can create an instant hotspot, which will create a network that can be joined by anyone using the same router or access point. It’s very easy to create, and also very secure. The network is peer-to-peer and any data you share with each other doesn’t pass through cloud servers, ensuring your privacy.
This independence from servers also means that content sharing on Yo! is that much faster, up to x1000 more, in fact than the current internet connectivity in Bangladesh.
What is your company intending to do with YO! at this stage?
SR: We will be releasing our app for free on Google Play and iOS very soon. Our plan is to build a solid userbase worldwide. That’s our priority right now, we might go into the revenue-generating aspects of our strategy once that happens.
How are you planning to reach out to your target audience?
SR: We are participating in various fairs around the world, like we are doing with Digital World, to raise awareness about YO! . After this, we are looking forward to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain that’s about to start this March. We also have various marketing teams around the world who are engaging in various promotional activities.
Do you think you have any competitors in your target market?
SR: Well, yes we do. Since messaging is such a big component of our app, it has to compete with a lot of the messengers that are already out in the market. Since we are still quite new, we may not have some of the features that established apps like Viber and Whatsapp are offering, like audio and video conference.
From a file-sharing perspective, apps like Shareit can give us a run for our money. They already are doing pretty well, but I think we have an edge on them due to the duality of YO! as a chatting and sharing app.
Though it’s still very early stage for us, I think we are offering richness in a lot of our core features that our competitors don’t have at the moment.
Right. No one else has your core USP at the moment, and that’s a big advantage for your app.
SR: Exactly. No one else is offering the option to maintain a social platform through local network connectivity that doesn’t use the Internet. We are hoping that goes over well with our target audience.
In closing, could you tell us why you think people should use YO! ?
SR: The number of smartphone users around the world has grown at an amazing fast rate. However, in many places, especially in the developing world, the mobile Internet infrastructure hasn’t developed fast enough for these devices. A lot of the time the Internet is just too slow, and for a country like Bangladesh often the data is just too expensive to share.
YO! provides a simple yet powerful solution to this dilemma. It lets you engage in major social activities on a hyper local network with really high speeds. For free, too.
Simply said, YO! empowers users to share and connect without the Internet.
If you want to use the YO! app at the moment, feel free to visit the website, https://www.yo.com/ , and sign up for beta testing. Apply now, and you can be one of the lucky few to use YO! before it launches!