How it Works (in screenshots)

We’ve previously posted a “What We Do” blog entry that breaks down Awaaz.De’s range of functionality. The “How it Works” page on the website describes a particular use case at a high level. In this post, we will explain how Awaaz.De works at a lower level by walking through a Q&A scenario using actual system interfaces. As we explained in the “What We Do” post, Q&A is just one type of application that Awaaz.De supports, but it is a good illustrative example because it uses much of Awaaz.De’s functionality (notably, it doesn’t use SMS or voice surveys).

To make things concrete, we use a hypothetical scenario involving a farmer seeking agricultural advice.

Babu farms cumin on three acres in a remote village in Gujarat, India. In the middle of the season he spots a green sucking pest attacking his field. He picks up his mobile phone and calls the phone number for “Organic Farmers United”, an Awaaz.De-hosted service for organic farming-related advice.

The system welcomes Babu and gives some forum options to choose from. The question and answer forum allows people to post, browse, and respond to agricultural Q&A. The announcement forum is listen-only (i.e no posting or responding options, only browsing). It is regularly updated with news, updates, weather, technical advice, etc. organized into different sub-forums. The personal inbox is a forum with all of Babu’s own previously posted questions and their answers. He chooses the question and answer forum. He then selects the option to record a fresh message, and after the beep introduces himself and describes his problem.

A couple hours later, Mahesh, the community manager, logs into the Awaaz.De web console from his office in a nearby city.

The forums panel on the left displays each of the forums. Selecting the Q&A forum drops down several folders. Because the Q&A forum is moderated, all newly posted questions gather in the Inbox for review. Mahesh listens to Babu’s question from the top Message List pane. In the lower Message Details pane, he chooses to assign it to Ravi, one of the expert responders. Finally, he presses the green approve button which files it in the Approved folder. The threads in this folder (in the order they are kept) correspond to the browsable section of the Q&A forum over the phone interface.

Ravi, himself an experienced organic farmer, receives a phone call between 6 and 7pm, his pre-specified time slot to receive assigned questions. The automated call greets, plays Babu’s question, and then asks to record a response. Ravi records his response, prescribing Babu a homemade pesticide made from sugar water.

As usual, the next morning Mahesh checks the Q&A forum’s inbox and finds Ravi’s new response. Finding the answer satisfactory, he clicks to approve it. This triggers an immediate phone call to Babu which plays the response, then prompts for a follow-up question or comment to be sent back to Ravi the Responder.

At the same time, other farmers are making their morning call to browse the Q&A forum. One farmer listens to Babu and Ravi’s thread on the sugar water remedy, and decides to chime in. He has tried the same technique, but found it unsatisfactory until he added neem oil to the spray.

Mahesh the community manager checks in on the thread a couple hours later. Concluding that it would be relevant to loop in a wider audience, he schedules a broadcast of the conversation to all cumin farmers in the area for later that day. It is this type of discussion, debate, and sharing of views that ultimately leads to greater success in the fields.

Now that you’ve understood how it all works, we invite you to try it out yourself! Awaaz.De has a live demo where you can live out this exact scenario by calling in to a phone interface and recording a question, moderating and assigning the question through the web console, and receiving the response. Just get some friends together and decide who will be Babu, Mahesh, and Ravi, or just play all the roles yourself.

Number: +91 7961907700
Console: contact us for the url, username, and password

Routing calls and broadcasting will work to Indian numbers only. If you’d like to actually assign yourself a question, send us your number and we’ll add you to the responder list. Otherwise, you can still play question and answer with a friend by responding to a question in the voice forum once it has been approved.

If you’d like to read about Awaaz.De’s functionality and technical implementation in even more gory detail, you can check out Ch.7 of Neil‘s dissertation.

  • Posted on March 16, 2012

  • Posted on March 16, 2012