Sat | Dec 14, 2019

FLOW’s Project Rise living up to expectations

Published:Friday | November 22, 2019 | 12:32 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer
Shanika James (centre), resident of Denham Town who is blind, talks happily on her new mobile phone shortly after it was presented to her by Whitney Fennell (left), senior director, Business 2 Consumer Division, Sales and Distribution, FLOW, during  FLOW’s  Project Rise promotion. Looking on is Sparkle-Ann Minott, mobile sales representative, FLOW.
Shanika James (centre), resident of Denham Town who is blind, talks happily on her new mobile phone shortly after it was presented to her by Whitney Fennell (left), senior director, Business 2 Consumer Division, Sales and Distribution, FLOW, during FLOW’s Project Rise promotion. Looking on is Sparkle-Ann Minott, mobile sales representative, FLOW.

It’s not often that you receive a birthday gift that unlocks a world of possibilities with a simple voice command. With the push of a button, through FLOW Jamaica’s recently launched ‘Project Rise’, Shanika James, who was diagnosed with cataracts and retinal detachment, can take part in the digital era with a complete mobile solution and conveniences available on the Internet.

“I love the phone!” exclaimed James, who was surprised by FLOW team members at her home in Denham Town, west Kingston. “My birthday was last week, and I never expected to get a gift like this. I am blessed and highly favoured,” she said recently.

Through Project Rise, an estimated 20,000 Jamaicans are being given the opportunity to participate in the digital era with access to affordable smartphones through a pilot programme led by FLOW Jamaica and its parent company, Liberty Latin America.

Whitney Fennell, senior director, Business 2 Consumer Division, Sales and Distribution, FLOW, ­following the presentation, said it was a good experience being able to bring technology to ­underserved communities, ­particularly with the programme being affordable and relevant to persons with disabilities.

“Technology enables persons to hustle on with life by crossing all boundaries. Voice-activated technology makes a major difference for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The technology allows for the device to function as a mobile phone without ­having to be an expert in technology,” Fennell said.

The most important part he said was the response from James, which he described as being appreciative of the gift that now connects her with the world.

On November 10, FLOW Jamaica introduced Project Rise, a complete mobile solution inclusive of a user-friendly, voice-activated smart mobile phone that is set to become a key enabler of digital connectivity.

FLOW’s Country Manager, Stephen Price, said the company is optimistic that this new mobile solution, powered by a KaiOS ­system and Google, will help Jamaica achieve its national development outcome of creating a technology-enabled society.

“The mission of Rise is to bridge the proverbial digital divide for hundreds of Jamaicans, including the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, those without the strength of pocket, and those who feel like technology forgot them for as little as $100 per day,” Price said.

The programme, which was launched during a community treat hosted by the company at the Boys’ Town Football Field in Kingston, will see the telecommunications firm distributing the mobile connectivity bundle in the communities of downtown Kingston and in sections of Spanish Town this year.

The planned pricing for the solution is $2,100, including GCT for customers switching to FLOW from another network and $3,100, including GCT, for new customers.

“We conducted a lot of research that helped to inform every ­decision regarding this project,” Price said.

Consumer education and the benefits of mobile data have been identified as a key pillar in driving the success of Rise, which Price says will be a major part of the sign-up and activation process.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com