Speakeasy: Using Open Source to Overcome Barriers and Promote Community Development in an Immigrant Neighborhood
Tad Hirsch, Researcher, Smart Cities Group, MIT Media Lab
Date: Thursday, January 26
Location: Salon ABCDE
Hirsh presents his social and civic applications, built using open source technologies (including Asterisk) and focusing on Speakeasy. Speakeasy is an integrated internet and telephone service that connects new immigrants with a network of multilingual volunteers who answer questions, give advice, and provide language interpretation over the phone. Speakeasy's novel approach to community networking leverages the ubiquity of cell phones to create a model of "just in time" civic engagement, enabling volunteers to remain on-call to their community wherever they might be.
Editors note: These grass roots prototypes are field tested products for service providers to look at as inspiration for services that are clearly needed and that may provide great customer satisfaction--in this case, an advanced form of community mixed with directory assistance.