TCN Launches Platform 3 VocalVision

TCN, a provider of cloud-based call center technology, today released Platform 3 VocalVision, a cloud-based call center technology that works with Freedom Scientific's Job Access With Speech (JAWS) screen-reading technology to enable the visually impaired to work in contact centers.

Platform 3 VocalVision enables visually impaired call center agents to navigate Platform 3.0, TCN's cloud-based contact center suite. The program helps agents navigate Platform 3.0's workflows via hot key shortcuts that leverage JAWS functionality, while audible tones signal the connection of an incoming call. When a call comes in, the program reads aloud the caller's information, including the phone number, name, and other identifying information, "so [the visually impaired agents] know whom they are about to talk to," says Bryce Payne, vice president of sales at TCN.

The VocalVision screens are the same as any sighted agent on Platform 3.0 would use, but the JAWS technology provides text-to-speech output of all the on-screen information. The assistive voice technology, which is available in up to 30 voices, also provides audio output for the scripts, checklists, and data capture screens used by contact center agents.

TCN, which is based in St. George, UT, optimized VocalVision to specifically work with JAWS, the world's most popular screen reader for the blind. JAWS assists computer users whose vision impairment prevents them from seeing screen content or being able to operate a mouse.

Platform 3 VocalVision works with inbound, outbound, and blended calls and also provides voice-enabled agent dashboards, manual dial capabilities, reporting, and call analytics.

"It allows blind users to navigate the call center program in a seamless way so that the caller never knows the agent is visually impaired," Payne says.

As an added benefit, since the VocalVision platform is cloud-based, blind agents can work from home, eliminating the difficulties that could be associated with commuting to work every day, Payne says.

Though Platform 3.0 works with all Web browsers, the VocalVision interface currently only supports Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, though Payne says support for other browsers is forthcoming. The company is also looking to expand VocalVision to offer capabilities for blind contact center managers.

"TCN has always been committed to providing customers with the most advanced call center technology," said Terrel Bird, CEO and cofounder of TCN, in a statement. "We are excited to bring Platform 3 VocalVision to the market to meet the needs of the visually impaired community and open new doors for employment."

"Thousands of blind people are able to work in contact centers," Payne says. VocalVision "opens the door for them to be more independent and have a good job."

Until now, Platform 3 VocalVision has been available on a limited basis to several organizations around the country, including Beyond Vision, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that provides employment to the blind.

"We've been impressed with TCN's VocalVision cloud-based phone service. They have been very willing to customize the solution to meet our employees' accessibility needs. So, our employees like the system and its ease of use. It has enhanced the level of service we can offer our customers through its call-recording and time-reporting capabilities," said Jim Kerlin, president and CEO of Beyond Vision. "In the future, we plan to use the system to measure and report productivity and utilization metrics, just as we do in our manufacturing environment."

TCN also worked with other organizations, such as the National Institute for the Blind, to develop and perfect the program.

"The challenge with many screen readers was getting them to recognize everything on the screen. Interfacing with JAWS allows users to access anything that our system does," Payne says.

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