Greenwich, CT based Vivapop has launched a web based calendar and events management service that offers a very nice interface, cross platform bidirectional syncing and voice recognition for mobile access. Whether this or any web calendar stands a chance in the face of Google’s integration of GCal and GMail is always a question, but Vivapop’s niche audience and premium feature set makes it an interesting play.
Founded by Elizabeth Souther Tarbell, a former corporate financier, Vivapop has been in development for two years. By hand approving for publication calendars from participating organizations, offering premium functionality and highlighting ads from “high end” retailers, Vivapop is aimed to serve upper class New Englanders first and rich people everywhere in time.
The functionality is universally interesting though. Much like Google Calendar, multiple calendars can be managed with lots of Ajax and automatic updates pushed from publishers to subscribers. At launch the service is loaded with more than 100 public and private events calendars from organizations mostly in Greenwich, CT. Arts organizations, children’s activity centers and private schools dominate the list so far, but anyone anywhere can offer their organization’s calendar for publication.
What’s different about Vivapop besides the gated community? There are a number of little things like retail store listings and hours for participating metro areas and automatic time zone adjustments depending on your geographic location. The most interesting features here though are the automatic syncing and IVR.
VIvapop users can sync both ways between Vivapop and Outlook on the desktop, Blackberry and Treo. The next step will be to sync with all mobile phone calendars and subsequently iCal. That’s exciting. The company uses synchronization technology from Redwood City, California’s Funambol.
The second unique feature is the ability to write to your calendar by voice commands. Users can call a Vivapop number, enter their access code and then add calendar items by either touch tone or voice in response to prompts. Item date, title and type can be recognized by the IVR system, while event descriptions are recorded as a .wav file and placed on your calendar.
Accounts with Vivapop start at $1 for the first 30 days, followed by $9.99 per month for the basic service with Outlook syncing and $14.99 to include voice access. The service has a nice look and feel, has a powerful feature set and a clear, viable business model. I think it stands a good chance with its targeted audience.