How can decades old technology help connect the unconnected, disrupt the mobile industry and have a positive impact on society through innovation?
That’s a question we’re answering at Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, by partnering with mobile communications company ONEm to bring Reuters news to millions of people around the world who do not have access to mobile data or smartphones.
Mobile technology such as smartphones and mobile data are now ubiquitous and information can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world through the internet and mobile apps. However, the majority of the world’s population are still not internet users. According to Facebook, 57% of the global population – or 4.1 billion people – were still not internet users in 2015 and most of these people are in the developing world. Connecting these four billion unconnected people is a critical challenge.
ONEm’s technology brings us one step closer to this goal by providing an internet-style user experience using SMS and voice technology to deliver text and audio content without mobile data, smartphones or even the internet.
By texting a short code, users of the service will be able to access Reuters top news stories, as well as business, entertainment and sport news. Users will be able to access Reuters news on any phone, with no app or data required, and the service will feature a simple user interface with intuitive navigation, interactive search and the option to save and share news articles.
The service will provide shortened versions of our top news stories as well as business, entertainment and sports news alongside audio content such as podcasts and live commentary. Text content will be made available in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, German and Portuguese, while audio content will be made available in English, Arabic, Spanish and Russian. The service will initially focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
By bridging the gap between mobile telephony and the mobile internet and providing Reuters news content to millions who would otherwise not be able to access it, Reuters and ONEm can provide these people with the news they need to be free, prosperous and informed.