Blind see light at call centres

New technology will now allow visually impaired to work in the BPO industry.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 12:50 IST

A new technology now allows visually challenged to work shoulder to shoulder with people who have normal eyesight in the BPO industry.

The technology NEIL (Navigation and Expert Interaction Logic) offers visually challenged a "talking companion", Shyam Kedare, who heads Softnet Interactive Private Limited that has conceptualised the new technique, said.

The technology was utilised by the employment department of the National Association for the Blind (NAB) to impart call centre training to the visually impaired who were trained in marketing skills and later absorbed as telemarketing executives by Tata Teleservices, M Srinivas, Chief Employment Officer, NAB said.

"Out of the 18 who were given training, eight were chosen for product training and use of software and six are finally working under Tata Teleservices' Drishti project," he said.

The technology is simple. The software is used to transform coded data into voice format through a landline telephone instrument. The caller first listens to the information and then makes a call to the customer.

The technology allows companies to map mainstream job workflows through a remote voice server and help the visually impaired person to access the information needed using the touchstone phone.

Describing "Drishti Project as a pioneering effort by Tata Teleservices, Srinivas said the call centre which started functioning in September, 2005, has scripted a new chapter in the BPO world.

This is for the first time in the country, the visually challenged have been employed to make outbound calls and not just telemarket product.

On an average, a visually challenged person makes about 150 to 200 calls to Tata Teleservices' customers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

"Tata Teleservices is happy with their performance and productivity," Srinivas said.

So far, 60 visually challenged people have benefitted from this programme, he said.

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 12:44 IST