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Internet For Developing World: Fighting Poverty and Enabling Development

Partnership Fosters International Development Through Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

SAN JOSE, California / Milan, Italy April 16, 2009 – OCCAM, a UN affiliated Agency to fight poverty and promote development in the developing world, and InternetSpeech, a California-based leader in voice Internet technology have announced today that both parties have launched a special effort to significantly bridge the digital and language divides using netECHO® Voice Internet Technology that allows anyone to access the Internet using any phone and user’s voice, without the need of a computer. The core “rendering” feature of voice Internet technology provides content from any website through short, precise, easily navigable audio in real time. Thus, many users (including many people who cannot read or write) would be able to enjoy all Internet content using any phone by just talking and listening.

“We see strong potential of using voice Internet technology in many e-Services including e-Learning, e-Health, and e-Agriculture to fulfill our mission of fighting poverty and promoting development in the developing countries worldwide”, said Prof. Pierpaolo Saporito, President of OCCAM. “We have been looking for affordable and easy to use technology for people at our ICT Villages around the world. Voice Internet seems to be a good solution and we are glad the Final Declaration of the Infopoverty World Conference 2009, recently held at the UN Headquarters in New York has highlighted it to be included in our activities.”, added Dr. Saporito.”.

"Our goal is not just to Provide Internet to everyone but also help economic and social development through education, innovation and entrepreneurship", said Dr. Emdad Khan, Founder, President and CEO of InternetSpeech. “There is a very good synergy to work with OCCAM as our Voice Internet technology is a good solution to enable OCCAM to achieve its key objectives including Millennium Development Goals”, – added Dr. Khan.

Developed and deployed in the U.S. in 2002, Voice Internet, netECHO empowers users by enabling them to navigate the Internet and listen to information from any web site, using simple voice commands and any telephone. netECHO’s patented technology provides content from any website in real-time, going beyond traditional voice portal features such as news, weather, stock quotes and horoscopes. Customers can also search any word(s) using popular search engines including Google®, Yahoo, Altavista® and MSN®. The streaming audio feature allows users to listen to music, Internet radio stations, and many other live audio programs using a simple phone.

Other key features include Directory Assistance, On-Line Book Reading, and Shopping on selected websites. Future versions of netECHO will support shopping on all major websites, more complex transactions including stock trading, banking and general e-commerce.

InternetSpeech's voice Internet service is ideal for a variety of market segments, including:

However,a cell phone with screen or personal devices, like PDAs are great devices to communicate via voice or text with small content. But these are not good devices to do computing or to access the Internet. The key reasons are:

  • People who don't own a computer, or who don't have one readily available;
  • WAP or other small screen-based phone users who want to hear real Internet content versus reading limited, pre-packaged online information on a tiny screen
  • Mobile business professionals who need access to data while out of the office;
  • Senior citizens who have difficulty in using computers or viewing small screens or using a phone key pad;
  • Those with disabilities, particularly the visually-impaired and blind;
  • The core technology can also be effectively used to render web content onto display devices including tablet PCs or mobile phone screens, thus allowing many technology illiterate people to easily enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

    About OCCAM:
    The Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication in the Mediterranean and in the World (OCCAM) was created by UNESCO in 1996. Since 2003 has been formally associated to the UN Department of Public Information and since 2005 it enjoys Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC. OCCAM’s activities are articulated as follows:

    Observatory for the analysis and understanding of ICT for Development trends and strategies, it prepares researches and special issues on technologies and best practices able to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals

    Acting agency of the Infopoverty Programme, its main aim is that of duplicating the successful ICT Village Model. The ICT Village model is intended to provide to remote and disadvantaged communities broadband satellite connectivity as well as e-services for development, such as telemedicine, e-learning, e-governance, etc.

    Since 2001 OCCAM has organised the Infopoverty World Conference, which is held on a yearly basis at the UN Headquarters in New York and simultaneously in prestigious seats connected by videoconference. Since 2006 OCCAM is leading the activities of the Infopoverty Community of Expertise “E-services for Development” within the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, whose participants include some of the most important stakeholders of the information society.

    visit or , or call +390286991392.

    About InternetSpeech:
    InternetSpeech is the leader in voice Internet technology. Its voice/audio browser, netECHO®, provides consumers, businesses and Governments complete anytime, anywhere voice-based telephone access to the Internet. The company's patented technology can be bundled with other products such as traditional computer-based Internet access, location-based services, or visual micro browsers. InternetSpeech also offers business software that automates the process of voice-enabling a company's Web site and applications in any language, furthering the development of a globally-connected voice Internet. InternetSpeech, a privately held company headquartered in San Jose, Calif., launched netECHO in November 2000. For more information about InternetSpeech, visit, or call 408-532-8460.

    netECHO® is a registered trademark of InternetSpeech.

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