The importance of low tech internet lifelines in times of crisis

May 05, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 7
The importance of low tech internet lifelines in times of crisis
Show Notes Transcript

Starting in April, the WSIS Team will host a weekly virtual WSIS TalkX the for the WSIS Stakeholders to interact, connect and collaborate. Preparing towards the WSIS Forum 2020, High-level Track Facilitators, Workshop Organizers, WSIS Prizes 2020 Champions and others will be conducting virtual interactive talks highlighting their linkages with the WSIS Action Lines and SDGs.

Join our seventh live session with Q&A on The importance of low tech internet lifelines in times of crisis.

In times of crisis, internet access forms a vital lifeline. Nevertheless, too many people still lack basic connectivity. A comprehensive approach around digital low tech based on innovation, business models, content, and policy can change this and enable internet for everyone. 

Moderator and Speakers:

  • Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS
  • Ms Sonia Jorge — Executive Director of Alliance for Affordable Internet
  • Mr Asim Zia Alam — CEO, WebDoc
  • Dr Jessica Rothenberg Aalami — CEO, Cell-Ed

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Ms Gitanjali Sah — Strategy and Policy Coordinator, ITU:   0:05
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a great pleasure to welcome you to our seventh with the stocks on the importance of low tech Internet lifelines the time off prices we have with us here today. Sebastian, who will be leading the Converse Sebastian. Welcome on the floor is yours.

Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS:   0:27
Hello, ladies and gentleman. It's Ah, It's a pleasure to welcome you on this with this talk today. Stoke Weeks here out of low tech plays a key role in creating digital lifeline in the time of crises. Today I'm delighted. 12 on this phone table three Exceptional Gates guest. Sonia is the executive director of the alliance. Call for the Bone Internet. Jessica is the CEO and founder of Salad as him with the CEO and founder of Wet Dog. And I am suggesting could be this year in fund off US technologies. I will start with a short introduction, and then we divide the time between the fourth speaker and finish with a organization. Before we start. I would like to stress to concept into this Toby that I feel are very important low tech and digital lifeline. When people ask me in which in the street kus is operating at your fund on, so we are in a digital low tech. If you're searching the dictionary low tech, it's often defined by what it is not. It's not using modern and sophisticated technology. It's less advance. It's not using the most recent methods and the sooner name of low tech or even Waas straight receive back while looking on cool, absolute fossilized and you where you might wonder why I couldn't get us a low tech solution. There is actually another interesting definition in Wikipedia. No take are no longer restricted toe all techniques but also extended to the new future. Randy techniques more ecological and intended to recreate social bonds. A low tech innovation is then possible. It will Danna oppose planned obsolescence of object in question. The consumer society low tide, low tech must therefore be accessible to all and could therefore help in rejection off inequalities. I believe these applies well toe work. The father's will talk about today. The second concept I want Twilight is the lifeline to digital lifeline. We all know how important accessing to Internet easier, especially in this time of crisis. Contact emergency toe access life. They have critical information, but also, as we have all experience recently, to simply continue to walk, study and stay in touch with friends and family, but until it can't be taken for granted. A few weeks ago, UNESCO reported that 700 video kids kept out off school because of covet 19 are liking basic Internet access. This information has been widely covered by the media around the world. So foodie, the focus and UFO to give everyone on Internet Lifeline will feels accelerate when coveted crisis will be behind us. So in the next section we will discuss our policies. Product innovation and meaningful content are actually having a twin impact on digital divide, especially in a troubled period as the one we are in today. And it's now my pleasure to introduce Sonia. We share all sorts on policies.

Ms Sonia Jorge — Executive Director of Alliance for Affordable Internet:   3:51
Thank you, Sebastian. Thank you all. And thank you for the I t. You and the crew at W. S. I s organizing these really wonderful dialogues. It's a pleasure to be here, So I'm Sonia George. I'm the executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet that I hope most of you knowing if you don't police take a look Ah, we are program an initiative within the wider Web Foundation, a free I works exactly in the space of access and affordability to the Internet, as most of you know. And one of the things that was very clear when the current crisis came about upon all of us around the world was that we had a massive undertaking to ah, tackle the bad news which were very big as you well know, was that this crisis was indeed unprecedented and global at the global level, affecting people everywhere in the world, not just developing countries, but developed countries. The good news was that I'm sorry, and part of the bad news was also that because he was affecting people everywhere, it also became more clear to more people than normal the vast inequalities that exist in the world. So not only it was a crisis that was really quite overwhelming for people in all different sectors of the economy and society, but indeed and covered inequalities that many people don't usually tend to focus on. The good news was that all of these has also, um, mobilized incredible resources action and decision makers to do things that frankly normally takes them a long, long time to do. And so, um, to be honest, one of the things that has been really interesting about these very difficult challenging times is that with come to the understanding that not only the crisis exposes inequalities but real propelled a lot of action that we were not expected to see. We had a free I and in fact, that why the Web foundation have also gathered our resources and our thinking time and highlighted the kinds of policy actions that many governments, companies, citizens and together as well how they could work. And the reason why we did this because was for two reasons. One, Aziz, you can understand many of you, I imagine on the school are folks that are thinking about the digital divide on a daily basis as we are. And it was very important for us to understand. First of all, what were the rial right policies that could be supported, um, to make change in these very critical time. But most importantly, what were the things already that especially governments were doing that were actually showing results really quickly? And so we identified across all of the different stakeholders, the different kinds of things that they could do, and some of which actually showed results very quickly on the part of the government's many of them. Immediately ah to con initiatives to either remove or stop, UH, proposals to increase taxation either on devices on data services. Others very quickly made additional spectrum available for different kinds of providers, including alternative providers. Companies also, um, you know, became much more relaxed in the way of addressing users needs. Many also joined governments in partnership and formed new initiatives. New efforts to not only expend reliable connectivity very quickly toe underserved and unserved areas, but also toe quickly deploy investments that really were just waiting, waiting for the ongoing lengthy authorizations permissions that often we see in many countries. And of course, this is not just in developing countries. In fact, also in developed countries that also take their time to make decisions and frankly, far too long What I've been calling many of our colleagues and partners is that sadly, we needed a crisis to show that we actually connect a lot faster, and so it's set to say. But it appears that we need to really think about the digital divide especially, I would say, the digital gender gap within the by the digital divide as a crisis as a crisis that in fact has bean with us for a long time and in fact is increasing, increasing in magnitude and increasing in scope. And therefore we all in the in our sector that I city and digital sector overall shooting fact act faster, mobilize our resources, mobilize our thinking and be more innovative, including at the policy level. So what I wanted to say just to ah highlighted. But I'll tell you just a few things that I think are worthy to ah ah highlight in terms off actions that policymakers took very quickly in the midst of this crisis in countries from Italy, Ah, governments and private sector came together to quickly build infrastructure there wasn't there but was actually the plan for many, many years to areas that were remote or that worm or marginalising the country in Panama, government made spectrum available very quickly, um, in South Africa the same way in Zambia, many governments may expect from very quickly available spectrum that is being just waiting dormant on DNA not benefiting anyone, especially in rural areas and underserved areas. And interestingly as well in some countries as well. Like in Liberia. Governments that actually cos went as far as donating hundreds of devices to facilitate. Because, as many of you know, it's not just about having connectivity but having the ability of affording and accessing the devices. That will allow folks from companies to individuals, two students to policy makers to actually use the Internet. But I will stop there. I'm sure we'll have lots of different questions and comments later on. Thank you again. So back to you, Sebastian

Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS:   10:18
saying Sonia for the suits. So the next thing we'll talk about his product innovation. Today, four billion people are not connected to Internet, and out of this 4,000,000,002 people in three billion are covered by Internet by Internet Capable Network. So why are these people not connected when they could have access to Internet? So we see four main reasons. The first ones Internets not afford the border. As you just said, both the device actually in the data too expensive and that at K. U S. We did some research on our key markets and we found we use basic either Jessie Mae mobile affordability question, which is defined as 28% of monthly income. And we get how many people could buy your basic phone but could not before the cheapest Internet smartphone. And the result is that tens of millions of people are excluded. 50 million people in Pakistan sort of seven milion in Bangladesh. 17. Indonesia. 86 million people in Nigeria to say gonna issue is Internet is not accessible and the many locals are illiteracy. The fears and the complexity of using there is 40% of adult later are seeing low income country. And we're talking here about almost a big young people. We need to rethink the way we make Internet accessible in Internet devices except good to them. We also took on study the fears different feels, and we see that as an excess unity problem we found when we surveyed our yourselves in Nigeria that some of the people simply disconnect data because of fears, fears off spending. Too much fears of being stood on fears of being abused. So the cells reason why people do not connect. His Internet might not be older than for them How relevant is a phoner? It does no local content of a day. But in the long wage, I understand more than 95% of the time spent on infinity in Africa is actually spent on normal code convent. And the fourth reason his Internet might not have proven its usefulness. If I ever it's a $20 available at the end of the month. Why should I spend it on buying a phone? Rather's and something more essential, especially if I don't see our phone can help me to raise my wealth in the future at K. U s. We took unvetted a push the opposite of water I take industry is doing, we decided, actually to walk on durable and affordable devices as a starting point. The basic phones so not know, touch panel smaller this plane long battery life. And we created a new operating system especially designed for this basic device. But with Internet capability and modem digital services. I didn't talk an old off that is using it. Web technology stoned Olympia and pencils so tell us. Devices are bridge between basic phone and smartphones, and they fell the best of the world's popular abs from battery life, madam Connectivity, Accessibility. We are, by the way, focusing on making the user experience imply more excessive for people with limited fallacy, your beauty and affordability for the beauty I want to highlight. Here we're walking on the device financing program to bring the price off entry Internet device at the price of a G basic food. And thanks to 12 appstore in the capacity to deploy APS, two phones or within the market, we were born toe When the current crisis started, we're able to deliver with our partner some useful application with some verified content from the body. Rachel translated in a number of local own long wage as well as original stages of reveal very respect. So I would like to conclude the kus section by saying that the best three years kus has connected more than 100 30 million people to Internet, and this is a big achievement. But we need to go much further and beyond that. So now is that we review the policy and product innovation. We're going to talk about education and Jessica, you out in Mexico also please. The flu is Eos

Mr Asim Zia Alam — CEO, WebDoc:   14:50
Great. Thank you, Sebastian. thank you, Sonya, and gratitude for being on such an extraordinary panel and an extraordinary time. I'm Dr Jessica Rothenberg Allami, the CEO and founder of Cell Ed. Well, we bring a universally accessible content to the hands of anyone with a future phone or any other device. And why we do this is to bridge three critical things the opportunity. Divide the digital divide and ultimately access to education in real time. And we started where most people didn't. In the Silicon Valley where we're based, we started actually on feature phones, providing non literate adults, reading material, learning to read over texting and audio. And with that innovation, we were able to build from there a suite of programs and access to coaches that provides literally a lifeline to those who had no access to training in person or otherwise. There are 100 million people in United States lacking access to training and two jobs and two billion worldwide and sell Ed. I'm not alone. I'm representing a team of teachers and technologists who are deeply committed to bridging this combined challenge that was being even more obvious under this pandemic. We've increased our programs. We have 31 is called Salad Essentials, where we deliver essential skills programming and three minute micro lessons with audio and to a text on any device. But we also add that with work ready programming and again literacy programming to actually bridge the literacy, math and other skills gaps we also offer program Cell Med were re are able to train community health workers and others on covert 19 programming and more. And we have 1/3. We are on our mobile arm of international development agencies that are reaching the hardest to reach. Girls who have access, don't have access to school and other programs where we provide teacher training. Another, but critical to all of this is, is actually working to tackle what I've called the deadly assumptions now under this pandemic and previously, the myths and the hidden epidemics that so many technologists and content providers aren't necessarily experiencing every day. When we launched in 2014 to talk about texting over feature phones as a lifeline in a pathway the livelihood, it was as old as though the feature phone, as Sebastian said, low tech didn't have the meaning that should. Where's we were arguing this is the tool of the majority. So rather than calling it low tech, we call it the tech for the majority. And how do we co create with the majority in order to provide relevant, accessible, affordable solutions that matter? Ultimately, this notion that people have in technology that people can sit online for one hour is an incredible expense of time and money. So what if you could deliver it essential skills programming in minutes with the same value, if you will, of their time? What if most people don't have Internet? And that's a fact? When we assume they do, we develop products and solutions that aren't matching the need that people are reading at the level of information provided when you scan the World Health Organization websites and other incredibly important resource is you'll find that they're in a readability level of college or above. Most people read below an elementary school level and ultimately needed contextualized localized to matter. How will we begin to bridge this gap together to create more programming and offer that at scale and the idea that remote learning isn't as meaningful as in person or face to face with the programs that we offer one learner has access to a world of resource is in the palm of their hand over texting. Let's build from there and continue to learn from each and every one of them. The idea that tech is the solution for all has always been often talked about here in the sight. The text. Silicon Valley is merely a tool. Yes, without a human touch and without the meaning behind it, it can actually become an under unintended tool that has unattended consequences that are negative. I'm so let's be open to where we see those negativity so we can act to bridge the gaps. The gender digital vied. Others are examples and on the keys to success with remote learning. What we found since 2012 ultimately making available programming that's co created an illiterate of 24 7 is key. When we talk about honoring time, we mean it. People are busy. Multiple jobs, multiple, I would say, multiple pressures pulling on a daily life that isn't easy to navigate. Um, universal accessibility have heard already about universally accessible tech from a feature phone to any device being able to deliver programming across them and making them relevant and ultimately individualized toe learner is the goal. Ah, and then ultimately universally accessible in terms of literacy level. If you're designing in our case, we started with level zero of reading for a busy adult and built from there. We've learned so much from our learners. We assume we learn more from them on, have been designing in there for in their essentially in response to their texts and their feedback, and will continue to do so and then last, the relevant and meaningful piece on the content side co creation. We keep talking about my really mean that every Texas feedback from an end user every partner provides their needs. Every local contextualized program we work with is a moment where we can connect and again to push back on. This idea that biotech isn't isn't as meaningful and the most meaningful. It is those critical connections that are creating programming that actually leads to scalable solutions. That's been a challenge in the field that we can only do small pilots worldwide. With this co creation and this vision at scale, we could truly reach millions together and the last but not least with that human touched. We can provide a connection to bilateral or multi lingual coaches that you can call or text with the idea that that is a heavy lifter. Burden is dispelled because you can text or call and connect Ah, via telephone, Byock, IOS phone or other. And we continue to see results. And I'll end with the notion that is critically important to innovation of this people. Humility again not knowing so much about the multiple competing challenges people face every day, just a struggle under pandemic, let alone daily life. It helps all of us as innovators, as teachers, as a co educators to learn more from our end users. So I'll pause there and look forward to questions.

Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS:   21:43
Thanks. So now we'll conclude there won't table with a seem and the scene is going to talk about

Dr Jessica Rothenberg Aalami — CEO, Cell-Ed:   21:51
Thank you for writing here. My name is us a man, actually the founder and C off web, doc. I mean, you know, I'm gonna talk about how to knowledge exchange the world, how companies like Blockbuster in the last few decades has just vanished and Netflix has taken over. I will also I could give you, you know, you if you're no cardiac, used to be one of the biggest camera cos the forms have come along and we have actually taken out everything. The company just vanished from there. Uh, recently we have seen companies like Alibaba, Amazon uber became unicorns and there was only one thing common views companies and that is they don't have much assets. They only have platforms and they provide black forms from A to B and became unicorns in a very, very short time. A Court 19 is a pandemic and certainly has struck world. Be back. Everyone is just stuck in homes and we're actually locked down. However, it is actually taught us lessons. They've actually given us that. How can technology transform things If you see e commerce, business, banking and Children's even health has digitalized and transformed within weeks, people realize that there is an alternative way to connect to date or Internet. The world has certainly changed. It will change going forward the 10 times faster. However, let me just tell you the this thing, especially in the developing countries, affordability remains an issue. The phones you know what this very fancy for? They're pretty expensive in markets like Pakistan will countries and people cannot afford these forms. Pakistan is one off the fastest growing Internet and smartphone market. However, still a 35% of the people actually convert. 65% of the people in Pakistan still have no access to data were just low. Ah, logic Internet. That is very, very useful We're talking about, and only in Pakistan talking about over 120 30 million people who does not have access to the date. Once they don't have access to the data, they don't have access to the world. Ready? Imagine. We have Internet access for everyone in Pakistan. We would have saved more lives. We would have saved more, serve more patients. We would have been able to provide more information, prevented me ages to the people before this crisis. And obviously we were unable to provide this information to them because off the state of unavailability, I could tell me about Web Doc. The Web is actually a platform which connects doctors with subscribers. Eso no possessed secret in 2017 about three years ago way have a phenomenal growth. One main reason for the growth was that we actually were able to provide accessibility in a very low price. We only provide the service for as low as ₹1 a day for full family to get services, the doctors, all these doctors up game. This is certified and about three years we have reached, we have reached 6.5 million people in Pakistan. We have served more than 4.5 million calls. We have actually provided prescriptions to over two million people in Pakistan. So, you know, even on that low price, the company has been very stable Because of this low price we were. And these big numbers, the company is pretty stable. We're looking forward to provide different services from Web talk to vet boxers. Eso we have actually going into the lives off ruler areas people into the agri culture and stuff were provided them back. Doctor services were provided services for the life stock. We're not providing services for their health insurance, life income protection, insurance. We're on the road to provide them experts like legal and teachers over the phone. This is on a road. We're hoping that by 2022 we will have 15 million subscribers for Doc and we will be able to provide doctors in the pocket to everyone in Pakistan. And with the help off services like House Kyle's, we would be able to actually extend arms to international communities where we can serve health care to all those people who can still buy cheaper forms, have affordable health care services.

Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS:   26:21
Thanks. Thanks s him. So I hope you enjoy the presentation and have a better understanding off how policy, product innovation and useful content can help create this digital lifeline so much beginning, period of crisis. He also said next time somebody tells you he walks on low tech actually will get him with us. Support you.

Ms Gitanjali Sah — Strategy and Policy Coordinator, ITU:   26:47
Thank you very much onto all the speakers today for such an exciting and interesting talk off. It's really very close to reality, you know? And it also brings our attention to the needs of this. Our education right now, of course, is extremely important. With so many off our kids doing online now. Education also. Thank you very much. Sebastian on Wall the Speaker, Sonia, assume. And Jessica. Um, this is to also remind all the participants that our next Mrs stocks will be on the 12th off May. It's on tech and trafficking in persons during with 90. So please join us on the 12th of May for another round. Often interesting, weren't you? Listen, stocks, Thank you very

Mr Sebastien Codeville — CEO of KaiOS:   27:34