London, UK — November 23, 2020 — 8x8, Inc. (NYSE: EGHT), a leading integrated cloud communications platform provider, today announced that OKO, a provider of index insurance and other farming-related services to smallholder farmers in emerging countries, has selected 8x8 to transform communications with farmers across Africa, dramatically improving service delivery and providing enhanced customer experiences via the 8x8 Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) Chat Apps API.
OKO provides effective, affordable crop insurance to farmers in emerging markets by using new technologies in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate the claim management process, making crop insurance accessible to thousands of smallholder farms. Serving the agricultural community across Africa, OKO was using SMS to communicate and engage with farmers for purchasing crop insurance and sharing valuable information, such as weather updates, to minimise crop damage. However, SMS communication was often limited and ineffective due to the low literacy rate of farmers. In addition, mobile carrier SMS charges were proving costly for this low-income demographic.
With more than 30 percent of their target farming population already using WhatsApp, which offered a more cost-effective method to exchange rich media content and communicate across voice, video, and chat, OKO turned to 8x8, a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, to integrate WhatsApp and other Chat Apps into their crop insurance service offering. Alongside the 8x8 Chat Apps API, 8x8 provided a comprehensive onboarding and training programme, helping OKO integrate the API quickly as well as deploy WhatsApp chatbots to help automate specific customer engagement functions.
"Our mission is to leverage the increasing influence of mobile technology to help overcome income distribution insufficiencies for those who feed the world. As a small startup, we needed a technology partner that understood the entire process, from integration to validation," said OKO CTO and Co-founder Shezad Lokhandwalla. “We evaluated several options but following a demo from 8x8, we knew their Chat Apps API ticked all the boxes. Furthermore, being an approved Business Solutions Services Provider gave us the reassurance we needed that our solution would be approved by WhatsApp and Facebook.”
Lokhandwalla added, “Deployment was super fast, and the dedicated onboarding team clearly understood our needs to ensure the solution was developed seamlessly and to our requirements. Now we are able to provide even more effective and affordable insurance and services to farmers in emerging markets."
“Innovative startups, such as OKO, are reinventing the way business and customer engagement is conducted, especially in emerging countries, which are mobile first and at times, mobile only," said Matt Bell, EMEA Vice President, CPaaS, at 8x8, Inc. "With the unique needs of the agricultural community, and supporting the farming trade across Africa, OKO has recognized that mobile user experience and real-time communications is critical to achieving their mission. By leveraging the power of 8x8 APIs and Embeddable Apps, they are enriching the customer experience as they provide effective and affordable insurance to farmers.”