Communicating is for Everyone: Accessibility and Inclusivity in Business Communications

Communication is for Everyone

This blog post was written in collaboration with Poly.

For the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has raged across the globe, restricting our movement, spoiling our social interactions, and increasing our dependence on online tools. One of the many takeaways from the pandemic was the need for greater digital accessibility. 

Imagine if we went through lock-down without the ability to order groceries online, read the text on a web page, or hear the conversation of a video call. The sad reality is that many persons with disabilities cannot do such tasks, pandemic or not. 

Did you know that in 2019 almost 99% of websites did not meet the standards mandated by the web content accessibility guidelines? We as a community have work to do. 

POLY & MICROSOFT TAKE A LEADERSHIP POSITION ON ACCESSIBILITY

Bicom Systems partner Poly realized they could build products, services, and digital tools that are inclusive and deal with the challenges facing workers today. Challenges such as accessibility, safety from illness, or inclusivity, or employees who are working remotely.

Early in the pandemic, Poly and Microsoft hosted a Digital Inclusion Livestream to move the conversation about digital accessibility and inclusiveness to action. Throughout the session, speakers shared their own stories and showed how the lessons we all learned from the pandemic could be applied in the digital tools we use every day.

On May 19th, 2021, the eve of Global Accessibility Awareness Day – #GAAD, Poly partnered with Microsoft to support its #Buildfor2030 campaign focused on enabling a more accessible future with products and services that will allow inclusive hybrid workplaces! Poly’s Adoption Services for Teams Workshop is being featured as part of #Buildfor2030 for its role in educating and motivating user communities about better ways of working with Microsoft Teams to drive digital inclusion and accessibility.

Way to go, Poly! 👏🏻

HYBRID WORKING CREATES OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

As we move forward and reach the tail-end of the pandemic, we are seeing many companies transition to the new way of working. However, the new hybrid work environment can impact individuals differently based on their living situation, family structure, economic status, access to technology, etc. All of which can perpetuate inequities in the workplace. That is why we must take steps now to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the workplace through both new and different strategies. 

We must ensure that all our meetings, or collaboration in general, happen from an outside point of view. It is crucial that remote workers feel as much a part of the conversation as their peers working together physically.

One thing you can do to ensure both your remote and in-person meetings blend well is to implement a good video conferencing solution. gloCOM Meeting allows you to meet with multiple users simultaneously without having to switch applications. The Meeting module is on the unified communications desktop application, gloCOM. On top of a seamless video experience, users can access additional features such as chat, screen sharing, and administrative remote controls. 

Our team is proud to partner with Poly for their accessible products and services that help persons with disabilities succeed while working from home. gloCOM Meeting paired with the Poly Studio P15 allows users to put their best face forward during every virtual meeting. The NoiseBlockAI restricts mundane distractions like a vacuum cleaner, rustling bag of food, etc. However, it was recently tested that the robust algorithm could detect that an individual’s ventilator noise was not speech without tweaking the software.  

Want to learn more? Check out this previous blog post, Confident Communication

WHAT ELSE IS BICOM SYSTEMS DOING?

When the team was designing gloCOM Meeting, they took user experience extremely seriously. The ‘drag-and-drop’ feature to add participants to a meeting is equally efficient and effective. Instead of searching through a long list of contact names, users can simply drag from the gloCOM dashboard and drop them into the meeting.  

gloCOM users can increase or decrease the font and size when using the chat feature—creating a better user experience for the visually impaired. On the mobile unified communications application, gloCOM GO, users can do the same! 

Speaking of text, users have the option to either listen to their voicemail or read it. Voicemail transcription converts your voicemails to text so you can read them on your email. 

We implemented a browser extension that users can add to their browser of choice. When using a search engine like Google, users can click to call from the number provided without navigating back to the application. Or, if they have speech recognition enabled on their computer, they can simply speak the command to make a call. 

Both gloCOM and gloCOM GO are BYOD friendly. The design of the applications allows you to switch to a suitable device for your needs quickly. 

As we move forward in the technology industry, let’s take what we now know and apply it to building a better, healthier, more accessible and inclusive society. Together, we can do better

This blog post was written in collaboration with Poly.

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