Though the advancements in science and technology made world a global village,there are still crores of people who are unaware of recent technologies and doesn’t poccess the knowledge to use them.Many Asian countries have low literacy rate and people who use Internet services are considerably less in these countries when compared to western nations.
For people without internet access, telephone-based services can still be an invaluable tool for various things like finding jobs etc. Unfortunately, many poor and illiterate citizens of Pakistan simply don’t know how to use such services.
In-order to assist them and allow them to enjoy the benefits of Internet and the telephonic services, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Pakistan’s Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) have launched a “silly phone game” known as Polly.
The parrot-inspired Polly voice game is designed in such a way that it allows users to record a message, convert their recorded voice into one of several funny-sounding other voices, and then send that message to one or more recipients.The audio prompts to press certain keys to enable the process of recording and people who receive the message,can listen and respond to it or forward it to other people.
The Polly game is aimed to help the people who doesn’t have much incentive to use telephone services even though they have access to phones.Most of the people don’t know what to do at times when they hear automated messages like ‘Press 1 to do this,’ or ‘Press 2 to do that,’ and they simply keep talking irrespective of the voice messages they hear.
The researchers are hoping to get those people more comfortable with the technology by introducing this simple yet fun service.In order to add some value to Polly, they’ve also introduced the option of listening to local job postings while using the service.
Polly was a great success and it immediately attracted users after its release.Firstly,the phone number for Polly was given to just five low-skilled workers in the month of may last year and by September, 85,000 people had used the service nearly 500,000 times.
“We found that users took to the job information in large numbers and that many of them started calling Polly specifically for that service – exactly the result we had hoped for,” said Carnegie Mellon’s Prof. Roni Rosenfeld,one of the researchers.
Although budget cutbacks subsequently required the number of uses to be limited, by now, over 160,000 people had used Polly for almost 2.5 million calls.The job postings have been listened to over 380,000 times, and forwarded over 21,000 times.
These figures show that the Polly game is a huge hit and undoubtedly, the number of users are going to increase as Polly’s service area is widened. Who knows? In future,Polly game can be introduced in other countries as well.