mobile voice


Posted by neilp on Nov 04, 2011
Awaaz.De data sheet 1422 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Neil Patel
Problem or Need: 

The Internet has enabled people from all over the globe to communicate and share information. Yet over two-thirds of the world’s population remains disconnected from the Internet, and many of these people live in poor, remote areas in the developing world. Organizations struggle to cross the last mile to these communities that are difficult to reach geographically, are often only fluent in local languages, lack reading and writing proficiency, and have limited experience with information technology. Unidirectional broadcast media such as the radio, television, and written periodicals can be localized to a region or community, but they are not micro-local, demand-driven, and do not offer transparent space for feedback and community discussion. Local people may seek information from experts or others in their personal social networks, but misinformation abounds and advice is fragmented across multiple sources. There are few comprehensive, on-demand sources for relevant, high-quality knowledge. This is precisely what the Internet provides for those who have access.

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

Awaaz.De (“Give your voice”) is a software platform enabling organizations to engage with poor, remote, and marginal communities by providing on-demand, many-to-many information access through mobile phones. People access Awaaz.De applications by dialing regular phone numbers to create, browse, and share voice content through automated voice interfaces. Voice makes it easy to provide services in local languages, overcomes literacy constraints, and offers a low barrier to content creation: one only needs to know how to speak into a phone. Organizations use Awaaz.De to host voice-based information portals, discussion forums, Q&A services, classifieds, and more. For example, rural development organizations can offer demand-driven agricultural extension through a farmer Q&A service, broadcast market prices and weather reports targeted by crop and location, or perform real-time data collection on availability of farm inputs and outputs. In this way, Awaaz.De helps organizations reach previously disconnected people with on-demand, locally relevant information, in their language. Most importantly, Awaaz.De is a social platform that supports people to give their own voice and participate not just as passive consumers, but active producers of knowledge.


Currently Awaaz.De serves eight social development organizations and enterprises across six states in India working in agriculture, education, women’s empowerment, labor rights, and rural products. These organizations serve as content providers, and use Awaaz.De to disseminate their informational content in real time, as well as collect input from the community through interactive features. These organizations have proven the value of Awaaz.De through willingness to pay; partners pay a recurring monthly fee to host their customized voice information service with Awaaz.De

The other demonstration of Awaaz.De’s value comes through the response from the communities of users. To date, Awaaz.De has served over 100,000 calls from over 10,000 unique callers. People rate content highly whenever ratings are solicited; in one deployment, the average rating was 2.8/3 from 325 individual ratings. A bit more anecdotally, unsolicited messages of praise and gratitude come in regularly from people. In a study where an Awaaz.De partner sent agricultural information broadcasts to farmers and then prompted for a question or comment, 37% of the recordings posted were simply comments of praise for the service, compared to 41% posts asking technical agricultural questions. To us, these are small indicators of Awaaz.De's potential for not only building knowledge capital, but social capital. Here’s another good anecdotal example.




Tool Category: 
App resides and runs on a mobile phone
Key Features : 

Awaaz.De’s technology platform consists of two components. First, the voice application lets end-users access content through regular phone numbers. After calling in, they navigate automated message boards with touchtone to create, browse, and respond to voice messages posted by others. A “personal inbox” option plays the caller’s own messages, identified by their phone number. Message boards are configured with a number of policy settings. A message board can be listen or post-only, moderated, and allow community response. It can also define sub-message boards based on hierarchical categories. Awaaz.De’s second component is a web interface that lets community managers moderate the voice forums, annotate and categorize content, route messages to specific experts for responding, conduct voice-based surveys, collect ratings, and broadcast the best content to wide (e.g. last 1,000 callers) or targeted (e.g. all callers who have posted messages related to wheat) audiences. Taken together, the two components of Awaaz.De provide an “Internet for the few, voice for the many” model, where the mostly Internet-less community members access content and communicate through mobile voice interfaces, and community managers with access to the Internet administer the system through the web interface.


Main Services: 
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Voting, Data Collection, Surveys, and Polling
Mobile Social Network/Peer-to-peer
Information Resources/Information Databases
Display tool in profile: 
Tool Maturity: 
Currently deployed
Release Date: 
All phones -- Voice
Program/Code Language: 
Organizations Using the Tool: 

Awaaz.De is currently being used by eight organizations across six states in India. For their project descriptions, visit this page.

Number of Current End Users: 
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Languages supported: 
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 
Global Regions: 

The Promise of Ubiquity: The Promise and the Challenge of Mobile Media

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 04, 2009

Originally published on the PBS blog Mediashift.

Mobile phones are everywhere. They have long surpassed the Internet in number of users, and in some parts of the world, mobile phones now rival television in reach. The mobile tech economy (at least until recently) was booming with telcoms and handset manufacturers fiercely competing in emerging markets, and software giants like Microsoft and Google entering the mobile industry in earnest. There are now somewhere between 3.5 billion and 4 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, with the fastest growth happening in developing countries.