Radish Blog

Why Accessibility Matters

A guest article by Dr. Theresa Szczurek, former CIO / Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology for the State of Colorado.

CODA won the best picture Oscar in 2022. The acronym CODA means ‘child of deaf adult’. This touching movie raises awareness of the challenges faced by people with hearing disabilities, as well as CODA family members. The question we need to ask is, what are we doing to support people with hearing loss and improve their accessibility?

Why Should You Care?

1. NEGATIVE IMPACT. Hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience, including physical health, emotional and mental health, perceptions of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships, and self esteem, as well as work and school performance.

2. FINANCIAL IMPACT. Those with unaided hearing loss earned on average $20,000 less annually than those who used hearing aids or cochlear implants.

IT’S THE LAW. U.S laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require that accommodations be made to improve accessibility to those with hearing and other disabilities. Accessibility is defined as “the quality of being able to be reached or entered, easily understood or appreciated.” ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services.

Practical Pointers for Coping with Hearing Loss

1. GET EDUCATED. Learn about hearing loss and other disabilities and what you can do to accommodate the situation.

2. SEEK MEDICAL HELP and get tested. People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help.

3. COPE AND SUPPORT. The Mayo Clinic offers tips to help you communicate more easily despite your hearing loss. For example, tell your friends and family that you have some hearing loss. Position yourself to hear by facing the person you’re talking to. Turn off background noise. For example, noise from a television may interfere with conversation. See the complete list.

4. TURN ON CAPTIONS. During virtual meetings and while watching TV, turn on captioning so audio is represented in text format. In this way, people can leverage visual as well as audible information sources.

5. TAKE ACTION. Government and businesses must consider the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide technological and other solutions that can help people accommodate hearing loss.

6. USE ‘VOICE WITH VISUALS’ COMMUNICATIONS. According to Dr. John Medina, author of Brainrules, when you see and hear information you are 600% more likely to understand. That’s one reason why Radish Systems offers ChoiceView® as a way to transform voice-only transactions into multi-modal ‘voice with visuals’ communications for both automated and live interactions. Learn more.

Improving the Robotic / Human Interface

 

Robotics

A guest article by Dr. Theresa Szczurek, former CIO / Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology for the State of Colorado.

WHAT IS RPA? It stands for Robotic Process Automation. According to Wikipedia, “Robotic process automation is a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots or on artificial intelligence / digital workers. It is sometimes referred to as software robotics.” RPA for government and business services is commonly implemented as chatbots, voicebots, or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? RPA is a hot technology trend because it provides value. Gartner in its 2021 Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation report states, “Robotic process automation remains the fastest-growing software market, as RPA is one of the most popular choices for improving operational efficiency with tactical automation.”

HOW DOES IT RELATE TO CHOICEVIEW? ChoiceView® augments and enhances RPA by joining a data session to a phone call and introducing a brand new ‘voice with visuals’ experience for users. It’s a new type of phone call positioned between a standard (PSTN) phone call and a videoconference. It’s easy to add a ChoiceView visual dimension to Amazon Connect, Twilio, Avaya, and many other contact center platforms.

WHAT ARE BENEFITS OF CHOICEVIEW RPA? RPA improves operational efficiency through automated transactions. Visual RPA with ChoiceView steps up the game by delivering even faster and easier-to-understand automation, resulting in higher user satisfaction and better call containment. Learn more and see use cases.

Shouldn’t we expect this voice-and-visual capability on the routine calls we make everyday?

Phonebot Hell and Other Inconveniences

Phonebot Hell

See it on YouTube. Has this ever happened to you? That’s why we have ChoiceView! ChoiceView adds visual menus and visual responses, along with voice and AI, to dramatically improve the user experience.

ChoiceView is a new kind of voice-and-visual phone call positioned between a voice-only call and a videoconference. It delivers an enhanced user experience on the types of calls we make everyday without the fear and trepidation of a video call. Studies show that people understand 6X better when both seeing and hearing information and that callers navigate 4X faster with visual menus.

Shouldn’t we expect this voice-and-visual capability on the routine calls we make everyday?

ChoiceView provides relief for live agents as well. ChoiceView’s value proposition is based on delivering efficiencies in contact centers. Rather than trying to answer questions and resolve issues by voice-only, agents equipped with ChoiceView can send relevant visuals to callers — from either a predefined library or material on their desktop. Material sent is active content, including forms and navigational menus that can be saved by callers, page-by-page, for future reference.

ChoiceView is also a visual building block for Amazon Connect, Twilio, Avaya, and other systems. See the ChoiceView Lambda function for Amazon Connect.

Checkout what we’re doing at Radish and see how ChoiceView is dramatically and easily enhancing customer engagement. “Now I see what you’re talking about!”™.

Going Backwards on Phone Service?

I’ve been wondering about the proliferation of VoIP phones and their lack of interoperability. It reminds me of phone service in the US in the early 1900s. At that time, if you wanted to call someone, that person needed to have the same kind of phone as yours. Oftentimes both of you needed to be using the same poles and wires.

These days, it’s really slick to use Skype, for example, to call someone. But if you do, one of two things will happen: (1) you’ll either reach a Skype endpoint in which case you can have an enhanced call, or (2) the call with drop down to PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) as a voice-only call. In most cases, you’ll be stuck with PSTN as the lowest common denominator.

Likewise, if you call a business or organization, one of two things will happen: (1) you’ll either reach an automated voice system such as an IVR or phonebot, or (2) you’ll reach a live person. Automated voice systems obviously can’t handle calls other than PSTN and a live person can’t either unless they’re equipped with a matching phone app. Then they’d need a special app for every type of call they’d receive. The result again is that you’re stuck with a voice-only PSTN call.

For all the hype, VoIP calls don’t really improve the types of calls we make every day. Think of the calls you make to businesses or organizations to get information or support, resolve a billing issue, ask a question, or get medical assistance.

Enter Radish Systems. At Radish, we take interoperability seriously. You should be able to make a phone call and connect with anyone in the world as a first step. Then engage in an enhanced transaction without using a special app. It’s a new mode of phone call that’s better than voice-only PSTN, without the interoperability limitations of a VoIP call. This approach is called ChoiceView®.

  • ChoiceView starts with the familiarity of a phone call. It is, in fact, a phone call, not a pre-arranged conference.
  • It doesn’t need a mobile app, so it works with first-time callers.
  • It works with smartphones as well as any phone and separate computer or tablet.
  • It preserves voice quality without needing a broadband connection.
  • It’s inherently compatible with phones, automated voice systems, contact center positions, and business phone systems.
  • It encourages businesses to go beyond voice-only calls with the confidence that their customers can engage without needing a special app.
  • It presents a significant opportunity for developers to build ChoiceView apps on all the voice-only platforms.

Checkout what we’re doing at Radish and see how ChoiceView is dramatically and easily enhancing customer engagement. “Now I see what you’re talking about!”™.

Why Is Videoconferencing So Difficult?

Lately I’ve observed the struggle and drama people face in joining a videoconference. I’m not talking about people who participate in the same videoconference every day with a regular group of participants. I’m talking about people — even tech-savy types — who go through agony in attempting to join a new videoconferencing platform for the first time.

Why should this be so? Well, there are many elements that need to come together on the fly in real time before anything can happen.

  • Do I have the appropriate mobile app, downloaded .exe file, or WebRTC browser?
  • Does my device or computer have a microphone/speaker/camera?
  • Is the correct microphone/speaker/camera selected, usable, and unblocked?
  • Do I have a good enough Internet connection?
  • Can I connect to the conferencing platform?
  • Can I see/be seen and hear/be heard?

I’ve seen telehealth visits that wasted so much time in starting up that it would have been better for the patient to drive to the doctor’s office. I’ve seen embarrassing situations where a participant can’t hear the others but everything they’re saying, unbeknownst to them as they struggle to get connected, is being heard by everyone else.

At Radish Systems we take a different approach. Of the billions and billions of calls made every day, many involve just two people. Think of the calls you make to businesses or organizations to get information or support, resolve a billing issue, ask a question, or get medical assistance.

You should be able to pickup the phone, dial a normal number, and reach the other party anywhere in the world. We can all do that. Then Radish joins a secure, temporary data session to the phone call to make it better than just a voice-only call — without going all the way to a video call. There are huge advantages in this approach, which we call ChoiceView®.

  • ChoiceView starts with the familiarity of a phone call. It is, in fact, a phone call, not a pre-arranged conference.
  • It doesn’t need a mobile app, so it works with first-time callers.
  • It works with smartphones as well as any phone and separate computer or tablet.
  • It preserves voice quality without needing a broadband connection.
  • It’s inherently compatible with phones and business phone systems.
  • It works with automated systems (COVID hotlines, bots, and Interactive Voice Response systems) as well as live agents, including doctors, help desk personnel, and contact centers.
  • Since a phone call is established before the data session is joined, it’s an inherently secure way to vet the caller.

Checkout what we’re doing at Radish and see how ChoiceView is dramatically and easily enhancing customer engagement. “Now I see what you’re talking about!”™.