JW's use of technology

by darkspilver 3 Replies latest jw friends

  • darkspilver

    The following link is in Spanish - but IMHO is interesting enough to read via google translate - some interesting facts and figures are included too.


    FYI the article references the following webpage: http://www.pangeanic.com/knowledge_center/which-is-the-most-translated-website-in-the-world/

    Upgrade technology to religion: so do Jehovah's Witnesses

    By AETecno on the Internet September 30, 2016

    The impact of technological and digital revolution has even religion. Discover how this organization has successfully implemented some solutions.

    Usually, when we talk about religion, we tend to associate it almost untouchable buildings or large to very large and old books, yellowed leaves and in many cases even worn. If we add the overview of ceremonies, we associate it with cults, in most cases voices with economic or permanent silence with rebukes to any kind of interruption or distraction by listeners and participants. Do you get the phone or tablet during the ceremony? Impossible!

    However, this paradigm seems to be changing. About to turn 73, Leda Santa Cruz Figueroa, who is a Jehovah's Witness and lives in Santiago de Chile, is a permanent user of the tablet in their religious gatherings. While I had some basic knowledge through a computer he inherited seven years ago when he bought a tablet, it had to learn from scratch operation.

    Leda tells us reading the Bible for 47 years, so one of the things that motivated her to use the JW Library application (developed by Jehovah's Witnesses) was that he could now do so in large print, adjusting the font size his sight. In addition, highly values ​​when a biblical quote in a magazine or book appears, the touch above it, looks what the text specifically says. As recounted Leda, he loved the technology as also lets you communicate with friends and family and watch the videos that transmits the Broadcasting program of the organization.

    Therefore, as we have continually talked about the impact of technology and digitization in various industries such as health, transport, education, finance and retail, to name a few, today we have a sample case of religion. We'll talk specifically about Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Independent of worship and the particular beliefs of each religion, we refer you to review the aspects that make this organization an impressive example of the scope that technology offers us today.


    As we describe the beginning of the article with common practices of religion, the contrast with what we see today is remarkable. Jehovah's Witnesses around the world (about 8.2 million people) usually use at all its meetings (twice a week) mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to keep the content of their teaching: reading the Bible, magazines, and other publications of interest to videos.

    How do they do that? Thanks to a series of applications and web sites developed by the organization to upload and then download all content. Then we go over some:


    This is the official website of the organization. Has he ever visited or heard? It would not be surprising, since we are talking about the most translated website in the world, by far. Although many might think on sites like Google, Wikipedia, Coca Cola, McDonalds or even the UN itself, none of these approaches the number of languages ​​in which the site is available jw.org.

    According Pangeanic, one of the leading providers of translation services, Wikipedia, a community effort around the world, is the most widely about 287 languages. The first commercial site is Apple, translated into over 130 languages. While the website of the Vatican and the European Union are translated into 10 languages ​​and 24, respectively. Meanwhile, at the end of this note (the figure is constantly updated), the website of Jehovah's Witnesses is translated in whole or in part in 861 languages, including many originating and sign languages.

    In 2013, the daily visits to the site accumulated from more than 230 countries, reached 900,000. While in July 2016, jw.org recorded more than 2.2 million daily visits, approaching 2 million unique users per day, and specifying a total of more than 253,300,000 downloads in the month.

    Another major aspect of this site is the ability to download content: videos, books, magazines, pamphlets, audio, etc. That is reflected in the figures, because during the seventh month of this year there were more than 8.1 million downloads (in 2013 were only 1.5 million). All this organized in more than 600,000 web pages within the same site.

    Application JW Library

    JW Library is the official implementation of Jehovah's Witnesses. It includes a translation of the Bible as well as books and brochures to study it thoroughly. It is available in the App Store, Google Play and Windows Store, among others. The app has over 13 million downloads and is the main tool for members of the organization can follow the meetings and the weekly program including the same, in addition to all publications, including the Bible, used. Children, youth, adults and seniors use it interchangeably in their Kingdom Halls, places where they gather.

    JW Language

    JW Language is an application produced by Jehovah's Witnesses to help those who are learning a language, to acquire more vocabulary and improve their communication skills in preaching and in meetings of the congregation. It allows you to choose one of 22 languages ​​as their mother tongue and another as the language to learn. Although, like all other applications and tools, is public and open, JW Language is primarily intended for Christian ministers who strive to preach in another language. So far recorded more than 1 million downloads.

    JW Broadcasting

    JW Broadcasting is a television channel that offers Internet focused on strengthening the faith of the whole family programming. The content is produced in the study of JW Broadcasting and videos from the main site. programs are broadcast 24 hours a day, according to a set schedule and demand. You can see channels like Recommended, Movies, Children, Youth and spiritual programs.

    JW Library Sign Language

    This application download, organize and play videos on its official site in sign language. You can see, for example, the Bible and other publications adapted for sign language. Recorded so far more than 500,000 downloads.


    For more details the work and the reasons behind this huge deployment, we conversed in Brooklyn, New York with Salvador Fernandez, deputy director of jw.org site, who explained the motivations that had to develop a page of this magnitude. And even with such figures, it seems that we were talking about a site with years and years of existence, it all started not long ago.

    "About four years ago we began consolidating our content jw.org and as you know, tablets and smartphones have no more than seven or eight years. As were becoming more popular, we started to notice that our content could be seen on those devices and that was when we launched these services, "says Fernández.

    Was it a difficult decision to make, considering the stigmata or traditions that generally have religions? The manager tells us: "As we have a well defined goal is to help people to using the Bible to know God better and improve their quality of life, what happens in our case we use technology as a new form of distribute our content. So rather than it is something we are changing, we are using the new media that are made available to meet our goal. "

    Salvador Fernández explains that, since the goal of the organization is not the technology itself but only a means, "not hard to adopt when you have very well defined the mission of your organization and how you will help fulfill the purpose What do you have". A principle which undoubtedly can be applicable to any company or enterprise that has been in the same controversy regarding the technology.

    In fact, Fernandez makes a parallel with what happened centuries ago when the Bible was not available to everyone and there was overcrowding of copies: "If more people wanted to read the Bible, you had to print it on paper; if now we want more people to know about it, we make our material available for mobile devices. "

    Fernandez stressed that what they do is not a commercial work, therefore are not interested in charging people for access to the site nor to receive advertising revenue (can you imagine how much money could get a website that records million visits up to date?). Everything is financed by donations and with the help of volunteers, professionals who make up a full team of programmers, analysts, designers, architects and developers, among others.

    But beyond the money, how it builds a site with such levels of performance and demands?


    So far it is clear the widespread use of cloud and mobility. But among the other resources used to support and administer the site, Fernández account the importance of the new services offered by cloud providers.

    In that vein, adding that in the future will expand the use of mobile and cloud world, but especially the microservices, which allows them to reuse your own code and increase interactions between applications, APIs that allow them to consume services between their own products. Another practice that facilitates the maintenance of a site of such dimensions is the concept of serverless. Fernandez explains that so no need to keep your servers, which simplifies, optimizes and even allows for scaling online when demand increases, for the own cloud provider automatically adds more services, without you configure it or worry .

    But how much traffic must support the site? From the Office of Public Affairs of the organization they tell us that last week of September 19, traffic for the entire site jw.org was 44.4 TB. That is, 6.3 TB daily.

    The deputy director of the website summarizes the logic behind this work: "What is happening is that if the cloud is the most efficient, we use the cloud; if mobile is something that people now have and can facilitate our content on their devices, then we do ".

    For Leda Santa Cruz this has been fantastic and, in fact, tells an experience that lived some time ago when none of this was popular, and marks the paradigm shift that we speak. It was when he invited a young man to one of their meetings. It turned out that during the speech that was given, the boy took out his cell phone and was at all times with him, which caught the attention of some present, they thought he was distracted, playing. Even she was surprised when she realized that what was actually doing was searching the biblical texts quoted the speaker.

    "One of the virtues of the website is that it is very easy to use. So when an adult begins to see that instead of bringing a Bible, plus a magazine, plus a book that is heavy, you can see all that in a device, it is not surprising that when you go to see a congregation elder who already have a tablet or a cheap phone that allows them to view content and lower the app we offer, "concludes Fernández.


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  • joe134cd

    Hard to believe not so long ago the were demonizing they very thing they are now exhonerating.

  • SkyGreen

    Interesting article. Mormon website looks similarish. Who was first i wonder?

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