Happy New Year! I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you happiness, prosperity, and most importantly good health in 2021. The year 2020 is finally behind us, and what a challenging year it was. A global pandemic took over two million lives and fundamentally altered the world as we know it. At the same time, global protests, environmental concerns, and political tensions played out on the world stage.
Despite the many obstacles, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the positive outcomes of the past year and to thank our partners. I’d like to celebrate our joint success in response to these formidable challenges and reflect on the impact we made together via mobile, and share with you a preview of what’s coming in 2021.
We heard the word “unprecedented” a lot last year, but it seemed apt given the number of adversities. Mobile communication has always been a safe and efficient way to share information, but it became essential in 2020. Our partners needed to share life saving information, all while limiting travel and adhering to social distancing guidelines. When the pandemic hit, Viamo was well positioned to respond. We had the right people, the right partners, and the right products. We’re grateful for the opportunity to contribute.
In 2020, Viamo and our partners reached 30.5 million unique listeners, a growth of 265% from 2019. In total, our end-users–mothers, students, farmers, and healthcare workers–listened to more than 206 million key pieces of information.
I want to share some impact stories that I’m particularly proud of:
We reached millions with lifesaving information through Targeted Mass Messaging (TMM). Together with our partners at UNICEF, IRC and Verso Consulting we reached 10 million people in Pakistan with 19 million key messages about the COVID-19 pandemic. TMM is a great way to reach a mass audience, but in a targeted way. In Pakistan, we targeted the COVID-19 messages geographically, by language, and by socio-economic status.
The 3-2-1 Service became a vital tool in combating the COVID-19 pandemic; 6.8 million people across the world called the Service to learn more about how the COVID-19 virus spread, and how to keep safe last year.
Because of the pandemic our partners could no longer conduct in-person trainings. They looked to us to create remote training options. In 2020, we implemented over 30 Remote Training projects across 14 countries.
In 2020 we welcomed our new investor VestedWorld, an Africa-focused venture capital firm. Click here to learn more about why they decided to invest in us.
Our flagship product, the 3-2-1 Service, is a trusted, toll-free source of information available in 18 countries. Listeners dial in and access important messages that help them make better informed decisions to live healthier, more productive lives.
Our team and partners made information about the pandemic available quickly with the appropriate Ministries of Health and guidance from the WHO. Across the Service, over 208 million minutes of COVID-19 information were listened to last year (~400 years!). We established a dashboard on our website to track our COVID-19 impact in real-time.
To better understand the knowledge gaps and needs of our end-users, we partnered with researchers from Tulane University to conduct COVID-19 surveys on Viamo’s 3-2-1 Service. Across five countries we polled our end-users to learn about their knowledge of the disease, as well as the impact of the pandemic on their livelihood. The results are…fascinating.
Try the 321 Service for yourself by dialing +1-650-866-1481 or +44 1202 286 157
In the past year, Viamo has expanded beyond information-sharing to assist real-world transactions using digital channels. We’ve helped our partners in the health sector integrate field and clinic referral management into existing health systems, through our new Referral App. We piloted a Marketplace product, which tested IVR as a means of creating an accessible digital marketplace. This product links buyers to sellers across various value chains, and will hopefully increase market access for farmers.
We have also matured our technology solutions, with a significant focus on scaling our solutions for multi-channel communication across IVR, SMS, USSD, and social channels like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. As demand grew for large-scale responses to COVID-19, our infrastructure network scaled to deliver 3.6 billion interactions and 961 million minutes of interactive audio in 2020.
We also introduced Viamo’s first smartphone app for offline data collection and guidance for remote workforces, based on the Flow Interoperability open standards. This new Android smartphone app is fully integrated as a compatible channel with IVR, SMS and others within the Viamo platform.
Looking ahead into 2021, we are growing our expertise and technical teams significantly. A digital strategy is now more important than ever. To make this accessible, we are taking the products our partners know and love and creating Viamo’s new suite of mobile solutions…more on this soon!
Viamo joins two groups: the four billion people worldwide who aren’t yet online, but who have a simple feature phone in their pockets and the mission-aligned organizations and commercial companies who want to engage with these four billion people. All on one platform.
Our platform provides the only consolidated, no-cost, on-demand information service that people access on their simple mobile phones using the voice channel. In 2021, we want to find new ways of unlocking value for our active users.
This year, some of our key goals are:
Continue our work supporting our partners in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to contribute to the global vaccination campaign using our products and solutions.
Expand Viamo’s reach into new markets and invest in central functions in order to delight our partners. This includes opening new country operations in MENA with recently opened offices in Jordan and Morocco, and Egypt, Iraq, and Sudan opening in 2021. Asia is also seeing expansive growth in 2021 with country offices opening in Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.
Find new ways of bringing previously unconnected, underserved individuals into the digital economy and unlocking more value for them.
Thank you for being our partner and accompanying us on this journey. Together, with the progress we’ve seen in 2020 and our plans in 2021, we are confident that we will achieve our goal of reaching 1 billion people by 2030. Happy New Year!