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40 Stories: Dave Blakeney, Smith Micro

The Pittsburgh Tech Council isn’t the only organization celebrating 40 years! Since 1982, Smith Micro Software has been creating enterprise and consumer-level communication products both locally and abroad. Dave Blakeney, Senior VP of Engineering at Smith Micro Software, sat down with the Tech Council’s Sheena Carroll to discuss the company’s milestones, tech in Pittsburgh, and why he joined the Council:

SC: Can you tell us more about Smith Micro and the work that you do?

Dave Blakeney Smith Micro 40 StoriesDB: We’re a software development company. We develop apps for value-added services for our carrier customers. These are white label apps; most people don’t know us because we sell through our carriers. Our customers include T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon – the biggest carriers in the world sell our products.

SC: Smith Micro is also celebrating 40 years in business! Can you share a couple of milestones with us?

DB: The company has evolved because we’ve had to stay relevant – I mean, the company started with fax modems! Right now, with our portfolio approach, we have three different products that we sell. One is a digital family lifestyle product known as SafePath. Another we have is CommSuite, which is a voice messaging platform. And then we have ViewSpot, a digital retail marketing platform that has offers analytics for our customers.  

SC: Where would you like to see Smith Micro – and the Pittsburgh tech industry – in 40 years?

DB: Tech in Pittsburgh is going to be very, very exciting. Pittsburgh as a whole is really making a name for itself in high tech, and not just in the healthcare industry. We’re becoming known as the City of Robotics and the City of the Self-Driving Car. So, I can see Pittsburgh continuing to evolve that way, with new technologies and new companies. Ten years from now, we’ll be talking about companies that we probably haven’t heard of today. 

For Smith Micro, I see us staying true to our roots. We’re going to continue to offer our value-added services for carrier customers. Ideally, we’ll sell even more in the worldwide market. We have European customers today and we’re going to continue that trend. I see us adding more services. As time goes on, we’ll try to add incremental things that extend the capabilities of our existing products or make brand new products. 

SC: Why did you join the Tech Council?

DB: Smith Micro decided to open a Pittsburgh location about 12 years ago. Shortly after that, they decided to join the Tech Council. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that Bill Smith [Smith Micro co-founder and CEO] is from Butler and is a Grove City College alum, so that had something to do with us moving to Pittsburgh. 

We joined the Council at the time because we were trying to get people to know us. We wanted to meet like-minded people and educate them about who we are. Now, it’s more about the services that the Tech Council offers. It’s the training programs, the events, the opportunities to meet other companies that are doing similar things, and even meeting companies that are doing things that are quite different than us.

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Powered by DQE CommunicationsFaros Properties|Nova Place and UPMC Health Plan, 40 Stories is a special series celebrating the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 40th anniversary through the diverse stories of our members, old and new.