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UniPID – Finnish University Partnership for International Development 2012

RuralVoice - Mobile Voice Based Services for Rural and Unprivileged areas of India and other Emerging Economies

RuralVoice Rural India

UniPID – Finnish University Partnership for International Development

Titre : RuralVoice - Mobile Voice Based Services for Rural and Unprivileged areas of India and other Emerging Economies

Pays/Région : Botswana, Finland, India, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, United Republic Of, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Durée : 1.8.2012 - 1.8.2017

Bringing together advanced mobile voice-based technology, service providers and rural people of India in a tailored ecosystem is a unique project both in scale and in approach. Our project – RuralVoice – focuses on the development and deployment of voice-based services in agriculture, healthcare, education, entertainment and banking for the 220 million illiterate and underprivileged Indians that reside in the rural area. In our Indo-Finnish project consortium we are also building sustainable development and inclusive business opportunities for service- and technology companies both in India and in Europe.

India is an incredible country in many ways, but perhaps this incredibility is most visible in the people of India. There are over 1.2 billion Indians, and they come from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Despite the megatrend of urbanization, 70 per cent of the population still lives in rural India, which has over 600 000 villages. India is one of the largest economies in the world and has enjoyed sustained economic growth for over two decades, but still a large portion of the people suffers from extreme poverty. 300 million Indians live below the poverty line, and can thus be described to belong in the so called bottom of the pyramid (BoP), the poorest socio-economic group. The BoP people are practically all illiterate, and in rural areas they have to cope with poor infrastructure, energy shortages and insufficient information. At the same time, the BoP people are in serious need for various public and private services. Despite the humble beginnings, the mobile revolution has reached also rural India and is boosted with the most low-priced calls in the world. There are now over 300 million mobile phone connections and over 6 million new connections are added each month. In the rural area the devices are often shared, which makes the number of people who have access to a mobile phone even greater. In relatively short time mobile phones have become the best and often the only way to reach also distant villagers. Voice-based services and Spoken Web Currently, voice-based services are used successfully in many areas in many countries. They use wide but varying set of language technology depending on the extent, complexity and environment of the tasks they are developed for. Typical examples of voice-based services include transport information services, such as automated train and bus timetable services. Voice-based approach can be very useful for users if they introduce new services which are not possible or affordable with human operators (or in any other way). This is exactly the case in rural India, where human-operated services are not viable in many cases.

Institution : University of Tampere School of Information Sciences TAMPERE, FINLAND

Partenaires  : IBM Research, India, IIT Guwahati, India, IIT Bombay, India, IIIT Bangalore, India, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad India, International Management Institute India, Great Lakes Institute of Management, India

Financement : Business Finland, Other
Project budget  : 1-2 million euros

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Page publiée le 11 septembre 2022