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Innovation & Startups

Jibbigo named top travel app by Travel & Leisure, staggering potential

Everyone's talking about Jibbigo, the born in Pittsburgh voice translation app for Apple products that's breaking the language barrier and generating an international buzz.

The company behind it, Mobile Technologies, is at the center of some high profile media attention. Jibbigo was named the top travel app by Travel and Leisure magazine; Reuters and the Science Channel gave it a thumbs up. BBC has been calling and the MT team was in San Francisco this month for the filming of a segment for Nova, which will air on PBS Feb. 9.

"The makers of Jibbigo have arguably made the smartest app in the app store," says Chief Operating Officer Matt Harbaugh, who left Innovation Works as CIO in October to put his entrepreneurial expertise behind the rapidly rising app star. "The size of the potential market is staggering, well over $1 billion."

The technology, 20 years in the making, was created at the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies (interACT) by Carnegie Mellon's Alex Waibel, a recognized leader in the field. The company was officially founded last fall.

Jibbigo is currently a $25 download that gives users access to a 40,000 word vocabulary in one of five languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Iraqi. New languages are on their way. Unlike other translation apps on the market, Jibbigo doesn't require an Internet connection.

The goal for now is to spread the word to consumers that the technology exists, says Harbaugh. You can travel to a foreign language and communicate instantly with people. How big will it be? Think business travelers, tourists the world over. "The market we will be able to address is enormous."

In addition to Murraysville, the company has offices in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Mountain View, CA. Plans call for strong growth and future hiring in Pittsburgh in sales, marketing, and business development, finance and operations.

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Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Matt Harbaugh, Mobile Technologies

Image of Alex Waibel courtesy of Mobile Technologies

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