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Outsmarting our smartphones

Alumna Jenviev Azzolin’s PPLCONNECT app allows users to continue their cellphone conversations across other devices
May 27, 2015
By Antoni Nerestant

When Jenviev Azzolin, BComm 07, realized on her way to work one day that she had forgotten her smartphone, she didn’t just think about her own predicament, but other people’s as well.

Jenviev Azzolin, BComm 07 Jenviev Azzolin has helped develop two apps, PPLCONNECT and Hotel My Phone, which give users the freedom to connect to their smartphone from any device, anywhere in the world. | Photos courtesy: PPLCONNECT

“It just didn’t seem to make sense that we rely so much on this one device,” she says. “We have all this technology around us but we’re lost without our smartphones.”

Hoping to remedy that situation, Azzolin went to work to develop and launch PPLCONNECT, an app that enables users to continue their cellphone conversations — SMS, calls as well as the top 15 messaging applications — across other devices.

“Your friends get a text and see your name and number, but they don’t know you sent that message from a computer, laptop or a tablet,” says Azzolin. “People tell us that the app makes them more productive at work since they can multitask better because they can put their phone away and still answer their text messages.”

She co-founded PPLCONNECT with Denzil D’Sa, whom she met at Bombardier, where she worked on the launch of the Global 7000 and 8000 aircraft project.

Since launching PPLCONNECT, the company has received two Canada Media Fund awards, received funding from the National Research Council of Canada, raised private equity and been named one of Canada’s most innovative startups.

Hotel My Phone app The Hotel My Phone app allows users to borrow a friend’s phone and use it as their own, for example when their battery dies or while traveling.

Eager to find more solutions and push the boundaries of cross-device flexibility, Azzolin launched Hotel My Phone, an app that allows you to borrow a friend’s phone and use it as your own.                      

“It’s really a no-brainer for most people and their close friends and family,” Azzolin says. “You can borrow someone’s phone and call and text from your own phone number or check if you missed calls and messages while it was on.”

Since its launch late last year, Hotel My Phone has expanded throughout North America, Europe and most recently, the Middle East.

As the apps catch on and Azzolin looks toward the future, she can’t help but reflect on how she got to this point.

“I will always be loyal to Concordia because I had such an amazing experience there,” she says. “My time at the John Molson School of Business was instrumental in my journey.”

Through the success of PPLCONNECT and Hotel My Phone, Azzolin sees a change in consumer behaviour — one in which the balance of power is shifting from technology to those who use it.

“People usually follow their devices,” Azzolin says. “But now we’re making it so that your devices follow you.”

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