Innovation @ BBG » Radio Sawa http://www.innovation-series.com Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:47:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Radio Sawa selected as a finalist for the 2015 Appy Awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/05/26/radio-sawa-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2015-appy-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-sawa-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2015-appy-awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/05/26/radio-sawa-selected-as-a-finalist-for-the-2015-appy-awards/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:36:56 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6522 Sawa ChatRadio Sawa, the all-Arabic streaming music and news application we created with the team from MBN Digital was selected as a finalist in the 2015 Appy Awards for “Radio/Audio Apps” and it’s competing against Disney’s Frozen Karaoke app and HuMX: Human Mixtape app that uses iBeacons to customize audio experiences.

Radio Sawa just launched version 1.1 a couple months ago and is getting close to it’s one-year anniversary since launching last June. The new version added another live stream, so now there’s 8 total, added push notifications, performance improvements and more audio on-demand podcasts.

Radio Sawa was also selected as a finalist for the GSMA Global Mobile Awards earlier in the year for “Best Mobile Music App.”

Download all the BBG’s award-winning mobile apps at: http://apps.bbg.gov

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Alhurra and VOA Java apps prove wildly successful growing audience quickly in emerging markets http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/05/07/alhurra-and-voa-java-apps-prove-wildly-successful-growing-a-large-audience-quickly-in-emerging-markets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=alhurra-and-voa-java-apps-prove-wildly-successful-growing-a-large-audience-quickly-in-emerging-markets http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/05/07/alhurra-and-voa-java-apps-prove-wildly-successful-growing-a-large-audience-quickly-in-emerging-markets/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 18:10:32 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6475 While the mobile and media industry loves to over-hype fleeting technologies like Google Glass and Meerkat, serving the BBG audiences in emerging markets requires that we focus on user experience and building for not just the elite — and that often means building for very old or low-tech devices like Java phones.

Over the past few years, the ODDI Mobile team has launched and evolved the award-winning flagship fleet of mobile and tablet applications available for the most high-end devices on Android and Apple IOS (as well as supporting old versions of the operating systems back to Android OS 2.3 and IOS 5), and this Winter we launched an improved lineup of low-end device products on Symbian and Java phones to round out our technology offering. One thing we didn’t count on when launching the Java apps was the swift adoption and audience growth — in some markets faster than more modern smartphone products.

In Middle East and African markets we’ve seen ‘hockey-stick’ growth surpassing the weekly installation rate of our larger, flagship smartphone apps. For instance, Alhurra for Java phones already more than more than 50,000 downloads across all the app store markets in less than 3 months since we publicly launched them.

VOA’s Java app has also done exceptionally well in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria — and we recently received a shout out from the BiNu store for the app’s surge and top rankings in African and Middle East markets. RFE similarly does well in Iran.

Not bad for a very low-tech, text-and-image experience, but that’s the reality of these media environments, mobile networks and what these audiences need.

Try out all the Java mobile apps for the 6 BBG brands for yourself:

Learn more about the awesome ODDI Mobile team’s products at http://apps.bbg.gov/

 

 

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Radio Sawa & VOA News Apps honored by GSMA Global Mobile Awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/03/27/radio-sawa-voa-news-apps-honored-by-gsma-global-mobile-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-sawa-voa-news-apps-honored-by-gsma-global-mobile-awards http://www.innovation-series.com/2015/03/27/radio-sawa-voa-news-apps-honored-by-gsma-global-mobile-awards/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:44:36 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6412

Two of ODDI’s flagship mobile products launched in the past year were selected as finalists for the prestigious GSMA Global Mobile Awards: the VOA News relaunch was selected for “Best Mobile Media & Publishing App” and Radio Sawa was selected for “Best Music App.”

The GSMA is the largest global mobile industry group and they operate Mobile World Congress,  Mobile World Congress, the largest mobile event in the world with more than 93,000 attendees from 200 countries.

VOA News serves users in more than 200 countries and is available for Android and Apple IOS mobile and tablet devices in 44 languages and for Symbian mobile phones in 4 languages. The industry-leading application has also been recognized as a finalist in the Appy Awards for “Best Multicultural App” and in the Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s Meffy Awards for “Best Mobile Service.”

“It is amazing that ODDI has created apps for over 87 language services on different operating systems,” said Bo Kostro from the ODDI Mobile Team, “We could not have done it without the support of all the BBG language services”

Radio Sawa is a youth-oriented mobile streaming app for Android and Apple IOS devices offering more than a half dozen music streams, podcasts, news and user-generated chat feedback through an beautifully designed application.

“We are very proud of the Radio Sawa app and were honored to have been recognized by the Global Mobile awards,” stated MBN President Brian Conniff. “The app encourages user participation through the network’s popular Sawa Chat feature, as well as making Radio Sawa available to cities and countries where there are no Radio Sawa transmitters.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Radio Sawa Arabic music streaming app launches on Android & Apple iOS http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/06/30/radio-sawa-arabic-music-streaming-app-launches-on-android-apple-ios/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-sawa-arabic-music-streaming-app-launches-on-android-apple-ios http://www.innovation-series.com/2014/06/30/radio-sawa-arabic-music-streaming-app-launches-on-android-apple-ios/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:34:47 +0000 Will Sullivan http://www.innovation-series.com/?p=6063 Seven 24/7 streams of Arabic music from around the Middle East and North Africa region is featured in the Radio Sawa app.

Seven 24/7 streams of Arabic music are featured in the Radio Sawa app.

When Radio Sawa launched as a network of FM radio stations across the Middle East in 2002, the Arab world had not really experienced anything like it as many countries had state-controlled media environments. Radio Sawa provided an alternative, with a mix of Arab and Western popular music coupled with newscasts and social issue programs.

Radio SawaTwelve years later, Radio Sawa has a lot of competition on the radio dial and has limited radio reach in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt because authorities have not permitted FM licenses. To evolve and engage new audiences in the digital age, Radio Sawa needed a new platform to reach closed markets and serve a new generation of listeners; that opportunity lay in designing an innovative audio mobile app for Arab youth.

So the Office of Digital & Design Innovation and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks joined forces to design and build an app unlike any in the Arab market. We focused on building a gorgeously design, touch-driven, mobile-only application which played to the huge popularity of streaming radio on smartphone devices. Streaming radio ranks higher than any other content format as the most popular form factor according to a comScore’s Multi-Platform and Mobile Metrix report released this year:

Streaming radio use on digital devices

Streaming radio use on digital devicesThe application is an audio-first experience, with newscasts and featured podcasts from Sawa’s journalists available on demand. But the crown jewels of the experience are the seven Arabic live-streaming radio stations from around the Middle East and North Africa region. Arab youth can listen to music and news 24/7 and in the background while they read, play or use other applications.

The Sawa Chat feature allows audiences to record and send their thoughts to our programs instantly.

The Sawa Chat feature allows audiences to record and send their thoughts to our programs instantly.

Another fantastic feature of the app is our expanded Sawa Chat functionality. For years, Sawa journalists have asked people on the street questions about social concerns. With the app, users can now respond to weekly questions by recording and uploading their thoughts and sending them to our producers in a couple quick taps. These submissions will feed expanded Sawa Chat content on the air and on the app.

Quick sports, tech and pop culture news is featured in the application.

Quick sports, tech and pop culture news is featured in the application.

The app also showcases articles from Radio Sawa’s digital journalists with six news feeds rich in original journalism, music news and sports. It also showcases Sawa’s innovative Have You Read This? youth-focused journalism which builds stories around trending ideas and conversations spreading on social media.

Check out the Radio Sawa app now, it’s live in the app stores and available for mobile devices running Android 4.0 and above and Apple IOS 6 and above. We’d love to hear your feedback and if you dig it, please give us a review and rating and share it with your friends!

Davin Hutchins, Editorial Director of MBN Digital, and his rock star team collaborated on this blog post and the Radio Sawa design, development and launch.

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