BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED SWITCHBOARD OPERATORS WORKING WITH CONNECSY
Blind and visually impaired switchboard operators can efficiently work with Connecsy 5.0 on an Avaya Communication Manager using the Optelec Operator Console Solution for Connecsy 3.0. These visually disabled operators have access to all relevant information in braille and/or speech. Optelec has developed the solution in close co-operation with Pridis.
The adapted workplace of a blind operator consists of the same PC and Connecsy Software that is used by a sighted person. The adaptation mainly consists of the following:
• an Optelec braille display
• special software to interact between Connecsy and the braille display
• a software speech synthesizer, if required
All relevant information on the computer screen is presented in braille on the Optelec braille display and - if required - in speech through a speech synthesizer. Of course the operator can look up names and numbers in the database.
Furthermore the braille display and the special software can be used to access standard Windows applications like a word processor or a spreadsheet program, so the visually impaired employee can carry out other clerical duties when not working with Connecsy.
Speed is essential for a switchboard operator. With this in mind the Operator Console Solution for Connecsy has been developed. The operator can carry out all relevant activities like answering a call, putting a call on hold, transferring a call, looking for a number and dialing a number. Hand movements of the operator are minimized as commands and functions have been assigned to the keys of the braille display. Configurations can be made to take care of the personal preferences of the operator, e.g. concerning the amount of text spoken by the speech synthesizer.
The adapted workplace has no impact on the operation of Connecsy. This means that a workplace can be shared between a sighted and a visually impaired employee (e.g. with part-time jobs or during holidays).
Optelec is able to customize the solution on a tailor-made basis to specific needs or preferences of the operator. Optionally it is possible to bring together the speech output of the solution with the voice of the caller on the operator’s headset. Optionally it is also possible for operators with low visibility to work with screen enlargement software. Such additional requirements will mostly come forward as the result of a workplace investigation. The way workplace investigations are carried out varies from country to country. In all cases the operator’s employer will be involved in the process. Your local Optelec Dealer has experience with the procedure and can give you further advice.
Learning to operate the solution
Blind operators need to be trained on the Connecsy software and the solution in the same way as sighted operators. Specialists from local Optelec Dealers will assist Connecsy Re-sellers with installing, fine-tuning / customizing and training of the Operator Console Solution for Connecsy and especially the use of the special software and braille display.
First line of assistance / service on the special solution will be carried out by local Optelec Dealers in co-operation with Connecsy Re-sellers. Second and third line of assistance / service on the solution will be carried out by local Optelec Dealers with support of Optelec in co-operation with Connecsy Re-sellers.
With this new extension to Connecsy 3.0 Pridis and Optelec can offer blind people a professional workplace. No doubt that this will further improve the image of both Pridis and its Re-sellers towards the demand for special needs, dictated by the market.
Moreover, in many West-European countries workplace adaptations for disabled people are subsidized by (local) public authorities. The local Optelec Dealer can supply you with more information or even assist you with applications for public subsidies.
Optelec and the local Optelec Dealer are the right people when it comes down to solving your challenges with blind and visually impaired people.
Optelec B.V., a company based in the Netherlands, is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of braille displays – computer hardware for the blind. Optelec also develops standard or tailor-made workplace solutions for blind and visually impaired people in specific situations, e.g. for office clerks, switchboard operators, etc. Optelec braille displays are sold almost world-wide and since its start in 1984 Optelec has built up a network of Dealers selling and servicing braille displays and providing accessibility solutions for their local markets. Optelec has it’s own sales organization in the USA.