Mobile Mali Project Update: Moving IVR into the Cloud



About the Project

ODDI’s first Interactive Voice Response (IVR) deployment was in Bamako, Mali (Read More). We used a Microsoft Research product called IVR Junction. IVR Junction runs on a single laptop using Voxeo Software and a gsm modem used to convert to Voice over IP (which means it can run over the Internet).

Looking towards expanding the Mali prototype to other cities led us down the road of a central IVR server to manage all clients. The server would handle the configuration and management of Client IVR systems or branches. A centrally managed server would allow for rapid client deployment and easier management of a global IVR network.

The IVR server hosted within Amazon Cloud will manage client IVR Voice Forum configurations allowing BBG language services to self-service several Voice Forum options and record or upload custom, in-language voice prompts. Our longer term vision is to evolve client systems into bullet proof “Bricks” in the cloud, able to withstand electrical surges, outages and intermittent network connectivity issues. Clients will be able to seamlessly hibernate into offline mode for days. Once internet connectivity resumes automated server syncs will occur.

Target release Beta – October 7th
Theme Mobile / UGC / Engagment / Accessibility
Product Owner Doug Zabransky
Designer Ahran Lee
Developers Liwen Liu
QA Yousof Kokcha


User Perspective User Story Description
As ODDI Director… I want to deploy a scalable, affordable, and reliable multi-market IVR network on offer to BBG entities and language services
As Language Service Editor… I want to self-manage my own IVR system Voice Forums, messages and prompts
As Language Service Chief… I want to track analytics for my regions IVR deployments and individual Branches
As a Caller… I want to be able to make a local call and listen to the news or leave a message to the station over my cell phone without a data plan
As a Systems Administrator.. I want to more easily manage, implement and connect a network of clients

The current scope of this project is committed to meet the following goals:

    • Ship three next generation IVR clients to locations TBD (Mali Replacement Client?)
    • Client configurations and Voice Forums will be self-service and managed through a user friendly, simple browser interface on an Amazon server
    • Four Voice Forum Templates will be available within this release (Simple Listen and Leave a Message Voice, Voting, Polls, and Caller / Listener Bulletin Boards)
    • Clients will automatically sync Voice Forum updates or additions, voice prompts and news recordings with server and drop box .
    • Clients will continue to function in off-line mode, but will syncing IVR tracking and messages whenever reconnected to the internet.

The server will contain four primary modules: Analytics, Moderation, Configuration and Health

The Analytics module will provide detailed reporting on not only on the number of callers but caller event tracking to track the precise behavior of individual callers and groups of callers.  The Moderation module will allow language services to listen to caller messages and syndicate messages or a playlist of messages to either a community bulletin board available within an existing IVR Voice Forum listening option or to an online digital outlet like SoundCloud.  The Configuration module will allow digital journalists or language services to select and self-service in-language voice forums. Client Health is geared for system’s administrators to proactively manage and troubleshoot client alerts.

Technical Specifications

LAMP: open source software ‘stack’ built on Linux, Apache, MySQL and Python + PHP
Voxeo Prophecy:  software that runs the IVR voice forum menu options
GSM Gateway: device that uses local SIM cards and converts mobile communications to VoIP
VoIP:  delivery of voice communications over an IP network or Internet

Site Design Principles

  • Dashboard / Flat / Simple Configuration / Windows 8 Touch

Voice Forum Selection Wire frame Draft

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Doug Zabransky

Doug Zabransky

Doug Zabransky is the Technical Services Manager for the Office of Digital & Design Innovation.

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