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Flying the flag for British business

8th August 2012

Rhodri Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer, was invited to represent SwiftKey at the ICT day for the Olympics at Lancaster House – the British Business Embassy in London – last week. We at SwiftKey were very pleased to have been selected as an example of a British success story and Rhodri gave a five minute talk to business leaders which he summarises in the post below. 

You can watch a video of his speech here: 

And CEO Jon Reynolds discussed the impact of these events – and the Olympics – on businesses like ours in this short video by Sky News:

Over to Rhod:

My talk focused around three subjects – why input matters, why SwiftKey is the leading innovator in this area, and why the UK is the best place to do business. I wanted to share these ideas with you and it would be great if you wanted to join the conversation.

1. Input is important.

Smartphones these days are really quite unbelieveable in terms of functionality and richness of experience. Most users (72%, according to our research) are very happy with their overall experience. However, text input – typing – is a key feature of the device and users are generally unsatisfied.

On the one hand, users state that typing is more important than price, appearance or brand. On the other hand, only 27% of users rate their typing experience as “very good” or “excellent”. This is a big problem, when mobile phones are beginning to match – or exceed in some areas – the capabilities of desktop computers.

2. SwiftKey is the leading innovator in the field of text input.

We are a very young company (have you seen pictures of our youthful founders? Makes me feel positively ancient), but in a short space of time we have brought a number of significant innovations to market. These include highly accurate Next Word Prediction, social-media personalisation and learning and most recently Smart Space (which means you can run words together without worrying about the spacebar). We have some serious language expertise in SwiftKey that we have channeled directly at one problem – “typing on a touchscreen” – and we think it shows in the quality of our predictions and corrections.

We have a great product – and customers love it. We’ve been the number one paid app on Google Play for five periods of time since last summer. We’ve won “Most Innovative App” at Mobile World Congress and a Webby – beating Google to the gong both times. We are one of the most downloaded and highly rated apps available.

3. Great Britain is a great place to build a business in technology.

There has never been a better time to beat the drum for “Team GB” after the astonishing sporting performances we have seen in the last two weeks! The UK is a global leader in computer science with a powerful legacy from the likes of Babbage and Turing. But we are also a global hub specifically for language and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. Cambridge Computer Laboratory and the University of Edinburgh have world class, globally respected research groups. In total, there are at least 22 University faculties dedicated to NLP research.

The talent pool here in the UK is both deep and wide – making the UK a great place to be when it comes to building technology businesses for the future.

What do you think? Join the debate in the comments below or over on

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