Presented at IA Summit 2012 on the 25th of March 2012.
Recent evolutions in mobile technologies are fostering new modes of interactions and allowing the creation of services that work seamlessly across devices. The same is true in Africa, given a penetration of mobile phones well over 50% of the population. The difference? Many: dumbphones instead of smartphones; low literacy level limits the possibility to use text-based services (be it web or SMS); scarcity of PCs; importance of community radios in rural areas.
Starting from projects on voice-based services for farmers in West Africa, the talk presents some of the most interesting cases of multi-channel approaches – that combine different eras of technology in one service. It details the possibilities that voice-based interactions can give to illiterate people to access information available on the web, as well as create a community-based repository of information. In conclusion, it reflects on the learnings and how these can be applied to Europe and North America.