Bosma is an Indianapolis-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering people who are blind or visually impaired.
With hundreds of incoming calls every week, Bosma’s receptionist Robin Kyle, who is completely blind, uses Toshiba’s PC attendant console to handle more than 100 calls a day while managing a steady flow of visitors.
In addition, 78 percent of Bosma’s 150 workers are blind or visually impaired and rely on the Toshiba telephone system to utilize their business telephones. Nearly all of the workers in Bosma’s call center are blind or visually impaired.
Bosma’s IT/telecom manager, Anne Veza, said, “Our primary goal for the new telephone system was to allow our blind and visually impaired workers to be able to use the telephones. As well, we train people who are blind or visually impaired for jobs that require telephone use.”
Bosma’s system was recommended and installed by Noblesville, Indiana-based Taylored Systems, an Authorized Toshiba Dealer for 25 years. Taylored Systems president and CEO Bill Taylor and Steve McDonald, VP Operations for Taylored Systems, recommended that Bosma migrate from its older Toshiba system to the new Toshiba Strata® CIX™ system, rather than buying an entirely new system, saving Bosma more than $20,000 by reusing existing telephones and station cards.
Bosma’s Toshiba Strata CIX670 IP business telephone system with 164 ports is integrated with JAWS® software, a program that converts text to speech, allowing people who are blind or visually impaired to answer the telephones by hearing audible prompts. Toshiba’s Unified Messaging feature also provides audible prompts to transfer calls, page, use voice mail, email and fax.
Bosma uses Toshiba’s Strata ACD Call Center Solution and has two ACD queues, one for customer service and the other for overflow. The Call Center uses TASKE reporting and the ACD Monitor programs to manage call flow and staffing.
JAWS Software Facilitates Use by the Visually Impaired
The JAWS application helps sight-impaired users execute tasks by using Braille and receiving audio cues (text-to-speech) that allow them to manage tasks virtually as quickly as a sighted person.
“Together with the JAWS text-to-speech software, Toshiba’s Strata CIX business telephone system is very user-friendly for people who are blind or visually impaired,” Veza said.
Unified Messaging Ensures Continuity
Using Toshiba’s Unified Messaging capabilities, Bosma’s employees have their voice mail, fax and email in a single unified interface. It is integrated with JAWS software for text-to-speech audio cues.
Veza said, “Our employees get a lot of faxes, so the integration between the Strata CIX and the JAWS software is imperative for our visually impaired workers.”
Call Center Functionality for Blind or Visually Impaired
Bosma has its own call center, which is almost entirely staffed by workers who are blind or visually impaired. Bosma also provides call center services for its customers. Integrated with the JAWS text-to-speech software, the Strata ACD Call Center Solution enables blind or visually impaired workers to serve as call center agents as efficiently as sighted people. With Toshiba’s IP-enabled call center, agents can also work from home.
Veza said, “Call centers provide great job opportunities for the visually impaired because they can handle incoming calls quickly and efficiently. A lot of our call center workers go on to work at other call centers. The Bosma Call Center is a very effective training ground that helps prepare people for employment at other companies and increases their independence.”
Bottom Line: New Opportunities for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Plus $20,000 Savings
Toshiba’s Strata CIX IP business telephone system has helped Bosma meet its goal of empowering people who are blind or visually impaired with job skills related to the telephone.
It also helped Bosma’s budgets by allowing a migration from the older Toshiba Strata CTX system, which saved more than $20,000 by being able to reuse telephones and station cards.
Lou Moneymaker, president and CEO of Bosma, said, “Our unique challenge at Bosma is to always find equipment and processes that allow blind individuals to do their jobs the same way a sighted person would, and the Toshiba business telephone system accomplishes that goal.”
Founded in 1915, the nearly 100-year-old Bosma Enterprises focuses on rehabilitation and employment programs that have been thoughtfully designed to meet the need of people who are blind or visually impaired. Its programs include a rehabilitation center; community-based rehabilitation teaching programs; senior services; community employment placement; organization employment; student training; and employment programs. Bosma employs 150 workers, 78 percent of whom are blind or visually impaired.
About Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (TAIS)
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., TAIS (telecom.toshiba.com) is comprised of four business units: Digital Products Division, Imaging Systems Division, Storage Device Division, and Telecommunication Systems Division. Together, these divisions provide mobile products and solutions, including industry leading portable computers; projectors; imaging products for the security, medical and manufacturing markets; storage products for automotive, computer and consumer electronics applications; and telephony equipment and associated applications.
TAIS provides sales, marketing and services for its wide range of information products in the United States and Latin America. TAIS is an independent operating company owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation. Toshiba Corporation is a world leader and innovator in high technology, a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products. These products span from information & communications systems; digital consumer products; electronic devices and components; as well as power systems including nuclear energy; industrial and social infrastructure systems; and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 730 companies, with 199,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing US $67 billion (FY 2008).