PSTN Audio Streaming

PSTN Audio Streaming: the New Radio is a Telephone Call

PSTN audio streaming is being rediscovered as an affordable all-access audio platform for pervasive wireless and wired distribution of podcasts, music, books, news, emergency information, sport – anything audio. While 5G continues to be of principle focus for carriers, media, analysts, futurists and conspiracy theorists, the plain old telephone system we all grew up with is receiving renewed attention. Known as the public switched telephone network, this decades-old universal ubiquitous infrastructure is pervasive everywhere on earth and compatible with any and all telephone technology of any era.

Facebook adds PSTN feature

Facebook adds PSTN feature

Who is looking at PSTN audio streaming? Facebook for one; at the end of March they revealed a plan to add an option for content creators “to reach the audience that either does not have a smartphone or a smooth mobile data connection. The new option is called ‘Public Switched Telephone Network’.” Head of the FB app Fidji Simo describes “adding a toll-free dial-in option” for audio-only access. The new Facebook Live ‘audio mode’ is optimized for PSTN audio streaming.

In May Global Innovation Exchange, a tech development organization for innovations, funding, and global insights to benefit society, recognized SaraConnects for its proposed interactive PSTN audio streaming platform to deliver critical COVID pandemic crisis instruction, information, education and mobile services to billions of humans who remain otherwise unconnected to the Internet.

Mobile Data User’s Hierarchy of Needs

Mobile Data User’s Hierarchy of Needs

Why PSTN audio streaming? In regions where there is mobile broadband infrastructure, Pew Research reported in November that “cost of smartphone handsets and data plans are important factors in why people don’t own, or feel compelled to share, mobile phones.” Those who do own smartphones meter usage and cost of consumption by prioritizing in accordance with the globally relevant Mobile Data Users’ Hierarchy of Needs which de-prioritizes audio and social content in favor of SMS, email, video and games.

More recently, United Nations ITU statistics reported last month confirm affordability may not be the only barrier to internet uptake. “It posits that other factors such as low level of education, lack of relevant content, lack of content in local languages, lack of digital skills, and a low-quality internet connection … also prevent broad use.” But the billions yet to connect to the Internet have telephones, and thus access to an old reliable PSTN audio streaming infrastructure capable of delivering not only familiar voice calls but now access to an entire world of podcasts, music, news, books, education…there is no limit to what can be consumed and transacted via interactive audio personalized to the caller.

SARA patented PSTN interface

Patented SARA PSTN interface

Well over three billion adults live without internet; that’s a giant marketplace of new consumers and unbanked families. Why companies like Facebook and SARA have targeted this underserved population with PSTN audio streaming solutions was best explained by Sam Bhattacharyya “what a lot of people don’t realize is that around 46% of the world still isn’t even connected to the Internet….there’s still people who aren’t connected at all…. So that’s where a lot of the growth for a lot of these companies will come from in the future, especially in the developing world…. companies that have gotten successful now … have gotten successful pretty much from users in big, large cities, but that only accounts for like twenty to thirty percent of the population, and now the majority of their growth will have to come from second-tier or third-tier rural areas, where people still have only 2G or 3G connectivity.”

The COVID crisis shed light on sharp contrasts between rich and poor, educated and illiterate, developed and undeveloped countries, regions with good infrastructure and regions without broadband or reliable wireless. As our world struggles to acclimate to a new normal, society hopefully emerges wiser and with renewed urgency to address what divides us and join all humanity together. When billions of handsets cannot connect to the internet, the problem isn’t the handsets. PSTN audio streaming opens a portal to the Internet that can revolutionize the advancement and education of humankind.

The COVID pandemic SARA PSTN audio streaming solution presently exists only as a prototype. She needs to get built and deployed ASAP so we can begin saving millions of lives and eradicate all treatable diseases by making critical timely information frictionless to access and freely available. Can you help in some way? SARA is protected by multiple patents and she is poised to open, service and pervade this giant new marketplace while saving countless lives, educating and introducing ecommerce to those on the fringes of society.  We’d love to hear from you.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

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