“PodcastPhone”: digital news the analogue way

“PodcastPhone”: digital news the analogue way

The "#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler" project "PodcastPhone" is an analogous news service that provides digital information toll-free 24/7 via telephone to close the information gap.

“Democracy starts with information equality. I believe that enabling all groups and generations to inform and educate themselves leads to a better sense of community and society at large. PodcastPhone is a step in the right direction,”

says Theresa Henze, who has developed and visualized the idea behind “Podcast Phone“, as part of the German “#WirVsVirus hackathon” – a collaborative event of tech initiators and the German federal government for creating solutions to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many elderly people, the Internet is a complicated medium and usually hard to navigate without external help. However, nowadays news is generally distributed digitally before it reaches legacy media such as newspapers. Older generations oftentimes live without access to the Internet or do not have the abilities to use it as a source of information. They are therefore socially disadvantaged and often left behind. Especially the social isolation following the spread of the coronavirus can create a deficit in information about current events, notably among elderly citizens.

How can “PodcastPhone” help?

“PodcastPhone” is an analogous news service that provides digital information via telephone. Even though the project was developed to help inform citizens during the coronavirus outbreak, “PodcastPhone” intents to operate effectively beyond the crisis as well. The service strives to close the societal information gap by providing a toll-free 24/7 social service that provides people with up-to-date information while simultaneously conveying a feeling of social closeness through the phone.

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Susanne Steigler, part of the #WirVsVirus “PodcastPhone” team and responsible for the technical conception and connection to the news backend states, “a digital transformation of our society begins by reducing the challenges of accessing up-to-date information – PodcastPhone is an innovative solution that bridges the digital and analogue worlds for people without access to the Internet. Our solution helps them stay informed 24×7 during the crisis and beyond.”

Those of society who cannot use the internet as an information source to current news and information about the coronavirus can dial the “PodcastPhone” number to access:

  1. federal news
  2. the latest regional news
  3. podcasts
  4. church content

Try “PodcastPhone”: 0800 000 422 7.

Meet the team

Together (from left to right) Susanne Steigler, Niklas Droste, Theresa Henze, Johannes Hetzer, Philipp de la Haye, Markus Alvarez Gonzalez, Dennis Gugel, Daniel Puscher, form the team behind “PodcastPhone”.

Developed in less than 48 hours as part of the “#WirVsVirus hackathon”, the “PodcastPhone” team now works on improving and expanding the service during the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme by the social acceleration platform “Project Together” and the Vodafone Institute as one of its funding partners.

About the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme

The “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” is a six-months implementation programme for 130 selected innovative solutions developed for coronavirus-related challenges. The programme that is supported by the Vodafone Institute with startup funding, know-how and digital expertise, encourages projects from 12 action fields, such as health, everyday life and crisis management, to successfully implement their solutions on a broad scale. The Institute supports the project teams with individually tailored support by providing access to the Vodafone corporate network. Particularly the startup programme Vodafone UPLIFT with their PACESETTER offering supports the teams in the areas of IT infrastructure, public cloud, IoT solutions and individual consulting. The programme under the patronage of the Federal Chancellery has started working with the projects on April 8 of 2020. Find further information here.