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Video Smith Micro and Sprint Partner to Grow the Next Generation of Digital Artists
08:22   |   today at 06:07


  • our region's business is sponsored by
  • PNC for the achiever in you welcome to
  • our region's business with your host
  • bill Fleming it today in our region's
  • business popular restaurants with no
  • wait
  • yes it can happen thanks to an app
  • created right here in our region plus a
  • New York investor bets big on urban
  • living in the city of Pittsburgh but
  • first a software company with a big
  • presence right here in our region is
  • setting out to grow the next generation
  • of digital artists companies called
  • Smith micro it expanded to the
  • pittsburgh area in 2010 and now along
  • with spread its rolling out an avatar
  • challenge program featuring the
  • company's anime studio animation
  • software bill smith is the founder and
  • CEO smith micro he's back with us today
  • actually spent his college years in our
  • region at Grove City College welcome
  • good to have you back it's fun to be
  • here yeah it's hard to believe it's been
  • about four years since you established
  • your eastern beach ad here in the North
  • Hills of Pittsburgh and you have what
  • software engineers and others working on
  • right now
  • yes it's everything that we thought it
  • would would be you know the there's such
  • a wealth of colleges cranking out high
  • tech people if we have a broad base to
  • draw from and these are great people and
  • we're really pleased that's excellent
  • well for folks you don't recall Smith
  • micro what sort of your niche what what
  • space do you occupy in a software and IT
  • world yeah bill we actually look in two
  • basic areas one is in the wireless space
  • that's the biggest part of our business
  • but the other part is in the digital and
  • animation space and what we are here
  • talking about to today is where we take
  • both of those technology areas together
  • and create something really cool okay
  • well and that's what this is about
  • you're launching what a whole initiative
  • to get more young people in school
  • turned on to digital animation yeah well
  • exactly and it's all around a new
  • product offering we call animates and
  • animates is a new type of digital
  • messaging is fun it uses a cartoon
  • character your voice you can change the
  • pitch of your voice you can do a lot of
  • different things with it you have
  • different backgrounds beat behind you
  • and you send these messages to
  • your friends and your family and your
  • co-workers and they have the ability to
  • send send the same things back what we
  • announced the other day with Sprint here
  • in Pittsburgh is the Avatar challenge
  • and what we've done is we've come up
  • with a program for some of the finest
  • art and secondary and higher ed schools
  • to bring their students into this area
  • we provide our anime studio tool which
  • is the software you use to create the
  • art for free to the schools and this
  • kids then generate new art and they
  • submit it to Sprint and Smith micro and
  • then monthly we will see select the
  • number one hit out of the whole group
  • they will be featured on the sprint
  • website for the following month they
  • will be seen by millions of people it's
  • great exposure they'll get free software
  • from us as well as a small scholarship
  • well that is really cool and so the
  • avatar kind of thing their design it's
  • like the one on this button kind of a
  • little character yeah but it's what
  • makes the animates work and this way
  • what the kids come up with hopefully all
  • kinds of new ideas of what an avatar
  • could look like certainly is and it's
  • all lip sync and so you know as you're
  • speaking looks your voice and you can do
  • it as you want but the character looks
  • like it's taking that message you got
  • something you want to say to somebody
  • like maybe epi birthday or happy
  • anniversary
  • or maybe you want to let that special
  • someone oh you're thinking of them or
  • perhaps you feel a video message from me
  • might move things along you know like if
  • you don't get those reports by tomorrow
  • you and I are gonna have a little talk
  • really cool so great to support a
  • product launch for both companies in
  • this new platform but I guess also a
  • great way to get more students turned on
  • to the idea that we need more young
  • people who can do this kind of stuff
  • right yeah there was a lot of interest
  • when we were down there we held this
  • event at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh
  • it was very well attended there are a
  • lot of the faculty etc from the
  • Institute they're there they're pretty
  • excited this is the kind of thing that
  • can motivate you know young young folks
  • to really apply the skills that they're
  • learning
  • give them the chance before they even
  • graduate to get very broad exposure I
  • mean this is a great thing for any
  • student coming out of school to be able
  • to put on on their resume when they go
  • to get that first job you know I hear so
  • much talking with software and IT
  • executives about just the challenge of
  • the pipeline getting enough people young
  • people in the country interested in
  • doing this kind of work and really turn
  • it on is that part of what's driving you
  • to what it is because the the animates
  • product really the way we make money is
  • we give away the software it's free no
  • real Orient's it'll be part of the
  • visual voicemail application with Sprint
  • so you know you as a sprite user will
  • get it for free now the way we all make
  • make money as we give you a few free
  • avatars and a few free backgrounds and
  • then we give you the option to buy a
  • whole plethora of added content and the
  • only way it works is you have to have a
  • steady flow of new creative imaginative
  • content to keep that revenue engine
  • going and when you can get students from
  • schools around the country involved I
  • mean this is the kind of energy that you
  • really need well sure it gives you this
  • whole virtual workforce right you can't
  • very you've got a small team here in
  • Pittsburgh or on the west coast trying
  • to crank this out but you can leverage
  • all these art students and creators
  • exactly country exactly and I think the
  • other thing is with the ant the anime
  • studio we have a we have about a half
  • million digital artists using that tool
  • to you know in their in their work in
  • environment and some of it you know in
  • very high high levels at major studios
  • like like like Disney and others and so
  • this is this is very high quality
  • software that you know but it's very
  • easy to to use hmm and and certain now
  • you're working with a set number of
  • schools for this or is it's going to and
  • we're broadly over time it's it's open
  • to you know anybody who who wants to
  • really get it get involved they just
  • need to reach out to us and we'll get
  • them signed up and you know give them
  • some software to get going give them
  • some some background info to you know
  • try to explain to them what they what
  • they want to do with theirs
  • how the process will will work and the
  • rest is off we go I take it you're
  • finding there's a real interest in this
  • and that this is striking a chord with
  • people who are using that type of
  • animates absolutely you know we started
  • with things like e emoticons and then
  • stickers as as a way to express emotion
  • in a text message and what this does it
  • takes it to the next level by giving you
  • a cartoon-like figure if we're giving
  • you your own voice
  • you know it's it's fun it's you know
  • it's the kind of catchy thing that just
  • makes you smile okay and that's great
  • and as you say you just need to come up
  • with enough new ideas to feed the pipe
  • lighted turn this into a real money
  • producing thing so if somebody wants to
  • get involved now you're given the
  • software to some of the schools to sort
  • of share I plant the seed here but if
  • somebody wants to get involved or create
  • an avatar and do this how the hell will
  • they plug into all of this yeah they
  • just go up to WWWF micro calm and follow
  • the link for the app the avatar
  • messaging and the rest is as easy well
  • that is easy enough all right Smith
  • micro comm bill Smith the founder and
  • CEO of Smith micro good to see you again
  • congratulations sounds like a blast nice
  • to be on your show yeah next up
  • investing one hundred million dollars
  • and now millions more in urban living in
  • the core of our region stay with us
  • you

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Smith Micro, a California-based software and IT that expanded into Pittsburgh in 2010, is now working to grow the next generation of digital artists in our region and throughout the country. Through a partnership with Sprint, Smith Micro is launching an avatar challenge competition that will provide aspiring digital animators with a platform to have their work seen by millions of people. Bill Smith, president and CEO of Smith Micro, describes how this avatar challenge works and provides an update on the company's operations in Pittsburgh. - Download Hi-Res Songs

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