Awaaz.De

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Awaaz.De

Ahmedabad, India
a
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Awaaz.De provides organizations and groups mobile applications to connect and communicate with people through voice-based information services. Think of it as a platform for voice-based Twitter, GroupMe, and Wordpress.

Communities interact with each other through automated voice interfaces to browse and create audio content. Awaaz.De provides community managers web-enabled tools to upload, organize, analyze, moderate, route, and broadcast the content.

Organizations all over India are using the Awaaz.De platform to disseminate timely, relevant content in local languages related to agriculture, labor, human rights, health, finance and education through hundreds of thousands of phone calls.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Awaaz.De helps organizations disseminate and collect information from people using voice applications over mobile phones. The target communities include the majority of the world's population without access to the Internet (>4B), mostly in developing regions. Many organizations in these regions struggle to deliver various types of information to people, such as agricultural advice, health information, banking services, marketing, and training. They also lack means to efficiently collect feedback such as personal information, numerical/transactional data, opinions, questions, experiences, and ratings. Text‐based solutions are not satisfactory in overcoming language and literacy challenges. On the other hand, voice is a medium that is easy to access over any phone, no matter how low-­‐end. It can be consumed by low-­‐literate or illiterate people. It is easily translatable into different languages. And it lets people with limited experience with computing easily create content by simply recording their voice over the phone. Very critically, there is a need not only for accessibly consuming information, but a platform for communities to give their own voice to share their own knowledge and experiences. This not only facilitate many-to-many, bottom-up knowledge sharing, but makes organizations more responsive, efficient, and transparent to the communities they serve.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Awaaz.De provides a flexible audio content management and dissemination platform. Instead of developing custom IVR applications for each client, we have developed functionality that addresses common challenges facing all organizations: efficiently disseminating timely information in local languages, collecting real-time feedback, and facilitating many-to-many sharing. Organizations can set up automated audio broadcasts, voice portals organized into topic trees, and voice call reminders. They upload their content to Awaaz.De, and people can begin to access it through incoming or outgoing phone calls. Awaaz.De’s platform allows two-way communication between organizations and people. Set up a question and answer service, order processing system, storefront, or conduct a voice survey. Web-based tools allow organizations to moderate, categorize, and route messages, schedule phone call broadcasts, and analyze usage and input. Awaaz.De’s main innovation is to provide an intuitive user experience for tech novices with simple mobile phones. Audio content is cumbersome to browse, so we are developing speech recognition, crowdsourcing, and reputation systems to search and filter content. As more users record voice messages, speech recognition becomes more accurate, creating a product differentiator. As smartphones and Internet access become ubiquitous and cheaper, leveraging their data, processing, and video capabilities will further improve the user experience.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Development Support Center (DSC) uses Awaaz.De’s platform for a service called Avaaj Otalo ("voice porch") which provides an agricultural question and answer service, regular broadcasts of relevant news and announcements, and an on-demand radio program archive for farmers across Gujarat. The Avaaj Otalo community consists of around 15,000 farmers across the state. In the question and answer forum, farmers can record, browse, and respond to other farmers. Each question is moderated by a community manager, who routes questions to appropriate experts in the community. The expert receives an automated call playing the question and prompting for a response. Once recorded and approved, the response is routed back to the asker to listen to and respond with another message to keep the conversation going. The entire thread is accessible for others browsing the forum to lend their perspective. The community manager can broadcast particularly notable discussions to a wider audience to listen and provide feedback. Avaaj Otalo also provides a broadcast service, called “Avaaj Otalo Margdharshan”, which sends out a voice broadcast 3-5 times a week to farmers with weather updates, technical agricultural advice, government scheme news, market prices, and other relevant information. There are approximately 2,500 farmers subscribed to receive the broadcast. This service has received very positive feedback from farmers due to the ease of accessing simple recorded voice messages over the phone and high-quality, highly relevant content provided by DSC staff. Awaaz.De supports the collection of voice or touchtone feedback through the broadcast phone calls, so that DSC can hear back directly from the community on whether they liked the content and suggestions for other types of content for future broadcasts. Along with this standard feedback, many remarkable testimonials have been recorded on the positive impact the broadcast service has had on farmers’ lives: http://awaaz.de/category/testimonials/ A recent television news story on Avaaj Otalo from a Gujarati news channel summarizes the system (English subtitles): http://awaaz.de/2012/04/avaaj-otalo-featured-on-gujarati-news/
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Awaaz.De is a recognized leader in voice-based social media around the world. The founders established themselves by doing original, award-winning research in the space, which was been presented in top-tier computer science research conferences. Staying a step ahead of competition will require continuing to innovate in terms of products and services and creating a high-quality user experience while developing a strong backing business model. Awaaz.De as well as others in the space have tried various options, showing that "freemium" and pay-as-you-go models are promising, while ad-supported services remain unproven. Awaaz.De's approach to staying competitive is to continue to learn from others and apply the lessons to its own business. Meanwhile, execution is everything, so we be launching our products with a smart and unique outreach strategy.

Comments

Thank you for your participation in AFI Growth Prize Competition. We have a key question for you: what is your strategy for spreading innovative applications of this technology through scaling your business or encouraging replication?

Please post your response as comment here before Dec 15, 2012, to be considered for final evaluation for this competition.

Neil Patel's picture

We offer both custom services and out of the box products. The former allows us to engage with larger organizations and institutions which have large reach in terms of staff and end beneficiaries. If Awaaz De is employed by larger organizations, our reach scales as they do. The latter allows us to reach the long tail of organizations and individuals who want an easy, cheaper and lighter weight way to connect and engage through voice. For this group our vision is to make AD as common a communications platform as SMS. The social nature of streams also makes it conducive to viral spread, which is another key engine of growth.