Data breaches increased 68% in the past year, and the associated expense of each incident rose 10% to an average of $4.24 million. These numbers show the significance of data security in today’s modern world.
Today, on January 28th, nations across the globe recognize Data Privacy Day to commemorate the Council of Europe’s landmark personal data protection treaty. Now, more than four decades have passed since the signing of that convention, but the importance of keeping data private is more relevant than ever.
Take a moment today to learn more about the vital need for data protection and how to keep your business’s and your customers’ information safe and secure.
In today’s workplaces, it’s not just tech-oriented professionals who handle data. Nearly everyone regularly uses logins, and by the end of 2021, 67% of company infrastructure existed in clouds. Data breaches can harm not just major corporations like Facebook, Audi and Microsoft – all of which suffered breaches last year – but government bodies, nonprofits and even individuals. No organization is too big or too small to fall victim to these attacks.
Fortunately, there are ways you can protect your data and shield your business from the unfortunate costs and bad press related to data breaches.
You may believe you’ve taken the right measures to protect your data, whether it’s stored in your workplace or at home. However, you could be overlooking security risks that are more commonplace in today’s increasingly virtual business environment. Here are a few considerations for protecting your data.
The average number of third-party vendors an organization has is 182. These vendors might include external marketing firms, website consultants, accountants or accessibility providers like Verbit. Selecting the right companies to contract with is vital because vendors can put your data at risk. For example, Target sustained a data breach that leaked credit and debit card information of 41 million customers when an attacker identified a weakness in a vendor’s security.
One way to check on a vendor’s security standards is to look for their SOC 2 Type II reports. These reports review five criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. All reports include the security information, but not every business will need each category.
You should determine which criteria are relevant for your company and ensure your providers offer those protections. For instance, if you handle HIPAA-protected data, the privacy criteria is going to be a critical section of any SOC 2 report. Take the time to ensure that you trust your vendors with your data because if they are irresponsible, you could face the consequences.
Verbit for example has taken every measure to become HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant to ensure customers using us can rest assured that their information is protected. Our platform is built to secure the audio and video files being shared with us for captioning and transcription to keep the information contained within them confidential.
Plus, with more events, meetings and interviews happening remotely, there is greater information being recorded and shared. For today’s increasingly digital and remote workforce to operate successfully, professionals must guarantee that conversations, data and content remain private.
62% of employees work remotely at least part of the week. Apple, Microsoft and Slack are just a few examples of corporations embracing remote and hybrid work arrangements. Although remote work offers significant benefits, 80% of business and security leaders report increased risks related to the growing numbers of off-site employees.
Luckily, there are many ways you can improve security, even if your team is working around the globe, including:
Beyond technological solutions, you should talk to your employees about the importance of data security and ensure that they understand any steps they need to take to protect private information. For example, the Federal Virtual Training Environment offers a six-hour course on cybersecurity. You could also create your own training resources, but ensure that they meet all accessibility standards by including features like captions or audio descriptions.
Software and security companies frequently add updates to improve data protection. However, if you or your employees ignore those updates, you could be creating vulnerabilities. Issuing reminders to your workforce and checking to ensure they stay current will benefit the entire organization.
Data security isn’t something you can take care of once and never think about again. Protecting yourself and your company is an ongoing process.
Data breaches are bad for business, but robust security can be a significant asset. Complying with security regulations and best practices is great, but the businesses that go the extra mile will build trust among their customers.
IBM points out that if you demonstrate a solid commitment to customers’ privacy, you can stand out among your competitors. In fact, about one in five consumers reported avoiding at least one brand in the last 12 months because of their data privacy policies. Awareness of this issue has been growing and will likely continue to increase, giving companies that prioritize data protection an upper hand in their markets.
In honor of Data Privacy Day, remember that when your customers choose your product or services, they are putting their trust in you. Respect that trust by taking the time to ensure that you are doing everything you can to prevent a data breach.
As a leading captioning and transcription provider serving 1,600+ customers, Verbit places a high priority on data privacy. Contact us to learn about how our SOC 2 compliant accessibility services are greatly assisting remote workforces and promoting more inclusive corporate environments worldwide.
Video content is essential in today’s digital world. 52% of consumers want to see more video from the businesses they support, but connecting with individuals who speak different languages isn’t without its challenges.
Multilingual transcription services, also known as subtitling, can help businesses professionals translate their videos for audiences and employees who speak different languages. If your goal is to engage and grow audiences, multilingual transcription offers an effective way to reach global participants and drive communication with international employees.
Here are five factors business professionals should consider to decide if they need to provide multilingual captioning and transcription of their content.
Business videos and events are being shared more globally. Brands are drawing and aiming to attract more diverse audiences and need to cater their events and messaging to meet more international needs. Adding multilingual captions to presentations, events and brand videos can help engage international audiences much more effectively. Consider the amount of foreign shows you can watch on Netflix thanks to captions or any time you’ve visited a foreign country and seen the same products being sold there. You’ll understand that not offering multilingual captions will mean missing out on additional audiences and consumers.
It’s also very important to consider that effective multilingual captions must retain the meaning and context of the original video or original speaker’s sentiment. Ensuring these translations are done correctly and by professionals rather than auto generated is key.
Aside from how you communicate with the public, look at your own team. More teams are operating globally and language barriers are often the norm. Captioning your Zoom calls with teammates and providing multilingual captions on videos you’re sharing can help ensure clear communication and bridge these gaps. Non-native speakers will be able to better comprehend and retain information being distributed by your C-suite. Plus, it provides all employees with a visual aid to help them better decipher different accents, dialects or terms used in other regions they may be unfamiliar with.
Captions will also help your employees overall even if they’re produced in the same language as the speaker. Your global team members are often working remotely and need additional tools not just to comprehend what is being shared accurately, but to account for settings where watching with the sound is not an option. Whether they’re working from a coffee shop or next to their children at home, offering captioning can help them participate without the sound, as well as maintain their focus more effectively so that they don’t miss what was shared during a meeting.
Global businesses often have online training sessions for employees and want to offer the same training to employees globally. Providing employees with the option to read along with captions in their own language during their training can provide the flexibility they need and increase their level of focus and attention.
Additionally, placing these videos on-demand with the option to view them with multilingual captions and transcripts of the dialogue will be appreciated. 42% of employees would rather have flexible video options in addition to their live training meetings. These transcripts can also help to make your training videos searchable so that employees taking these sessions can go back and reference specific parts that were said by entering and searching by key words. Overall, captions are shown to increase watchtime, meaning that they’re effective at keeping employees engaged, especially important when conducting long training sessions.
Captioning and transcribing your business’s videos also ensures accessibility for individuals with disabilities, including those who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
While captions promote inclusion and diversity initiatives, they’re also essential in scenarios where employees and consumers with disabilities need them in order to participate with equity as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar legislation passed in countries you may be operating in. Multilingual captioning services which reach 99% accuracy levels allow for all of your employees and consumers globally to participate and comprehend your videos. Free, automatic built-in captioning tools often aren’t accessible since they are known to contain errors. Why not enlist an accessibility solution that avoids leaving your business vulnerable to lawsuits? Your employees and consumers will also appreciate your efforts to include them and their peers with equity.
Search engines can’t watch a video or listen to its audio. However, they can read text. Making your business’s videos more “visible” and readable to search engines will improve their SEO. Transcribing your video content and placing the transcripts on your site pages is one great way to improve your business’s SEO and discoverability.
When using multilingual transcription, video is able to rank for keywords in different languages and international markets. Video transcripts allow potential customers to find video quickly when they can search for keywords that appear in them. With 68% of site traffic coming from search engines, improving your business video’s SEO can bring in more visitors and lead to more business opportunities. Plus, taking that extra step to provide transcript translations means even greater discoverability internationally.
With 78% of people watching online videos every week, it’s essential for business leaders to look for ways to enhance their videos and attract greater audiences. Incorporating captioning and transcription alone, plus in multiple languages, will help to tackle that feat and have a greater global footprint.
Employees want to work for businesses which are inclusive and consumers want to buy from brands which represent them and their values. Verbit is helping businesses meet these needs by making the videos they’re sharing both internally and externally more engaging and accessible. To begin using multilingual captioning or explore how it fits into your current video and event strategies, reach out.
In November 2021, a record 4.5 million Americans left their jobs. The high number of people quitting was part of a trend that persisted throughout the year, earning the label “The Great Resignation.” With so many employees throwing in the towel, business leaders are realizing they need to change course if they want to attract and keep talent.
Research shows that offices with ping-pong tables, open floor plans and bean bag chairs aren’t the draw candidates are seeking. Luckily, the strategic use of technology can help usher in a more positive work environment by giving employees things that they do want, like better communication, more time for projects that help them develop as professionals and better work-life balance.
Here are some inspiring ways technology can transform corporate culture and meet the needs of employees and their employers.
Employees reported they’re spending about half of their work time on scheduling and on menial tasks that take them away from their substantive work. When employees spend too much time on repetitive or mindless tasks, it can leave them feeling undervalued and unmotivated.
AI-powered technology like Xtracta can come in to perform data entry and fill in forms, taking over these simple, repetitive tasks. For example, the charity New York Foundling suspected that too much time on dull data entry was contributing to its 42% annual turnover. When the organization implemented software robots to perform the most repetitive tasks, its turnover dropped to just 17%. The results highlight the fact that when employees can devote time to work that helps them develop as professionals, they are happier in their positions.
Today’s employees want and expect greater flexibility in where and how they work. Work from home opportunities lead to greater productivity for many, cost savings on commuting and less office space rentals for employers. According to surveys, 74% of employees stated they would be less likely to leave their company if they had the option to work from home. Given the struggles many companies face when it comes to attracting talent, this statistic deserves attention.
Zoom and other video conferencing tools are nearly ubiquitous because of their ability to make working from home less isolating. However, video conferencing technology is just one of many solutions improving remote work conditions.
Another useful technology for remote workforces is Freedom, which blocks websites and apps during work hours to prevent employees from falling down Facebook rabbit holes. By removing the temptation to find out what’s trending on Twitter, Freedom allows people to work more efficiently and be more productive.
Also, when teams are logging in from home, cafes or airports, they may create security risks. ExpressVPN is a product companies are turning to as a way to data when their employees are working from anywhere. All of these technologies are paving the way for flexible long-term work-from-home arrangements.
From developing fake meat to solar glass, innovative tech companies are working to improve the environment. However, employees expect even businesses whose primary focus isn’t sustainability to contribute to the effort by reducing their own negative impacts. For instance, 70% of employees are more likely to accept jobs from sustainable companies and most millennials report they’d even take a pay cut to work for an employer that values sustainability.
When it comes to using technology to better the environment, few companies can compete with Microsoft’s goal of eliminating more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit. The tech company put its money where its mouth is, and invested $1 billion into developing tools for carbon removal.
Another example is Google, which implemented an AI model to reduce the energy usage of its data centers by 40%. Smaller companies can take more modest steps by going paperless or cutting down on travel by relying on video conferences instead of in-person meetings.
According to a recent survey, 67% of job seekers want to join an inclusive company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that just 17.9% of people with disabilities were employed in 2020. Compare that to 61.8% of people without disabilities and the need for more inclusive, accessible workplaces becomes clear. Luckily, technology offers better and more cost-effective accessibility solutions. Using these tools to support a more inclusive workforce is a great way to improve company culture.
Webinars, video conferences, training videos and other employment events and resources can exclude people who are Deaf or Blind. Adding captions is a solution that empowers job applicants and employees who are Deaf and hard of hearing. Similarly, audio descriptions accommodate employees and candidates who are Blind. Technologies like those offered by Verbit make it easier for businesses to offer these services.
Companies like The Motley Fool use Verbit’s automatic speech recognition (ASR) assisted tools to generate real-time captions efficiently. However, it’s best practice to support this technology by enlisting professional human transcribers like Verbit’s to check the ASR’s work to deliver more accurate captions. With this process, live webinars, meetings and events can include captions so that those who rely on them can always take part. Audio description, which offers in-depth descriptions of images so that those who are Blind have better access to information can also be instituted. These forms of advanced accessibility technology support efforts to improve corporate inclusivity, while opening the door to wider talent pools.
Poor communication is not only frustrating, but it leads to inefficient workflows and can be expensive. Communication barriers lead to an estimated loss of $37 billion internationally. A recent survey also found that 63% of employees considered leaving their jobs due to poor communication. 90% of employees say that communication is the key to a good work environment.
Tools like Slack allow employees to connect easily and in real-time. Blink is another application that offers quick internal communication among frontline professionals in healthcare, transit and construction. This technology takes a mobile-first approach to communication for individuals with jobs that keep them on the move and away from desks.
Implementing services that simplify communication in the workplace and offer more opportunities to receive instant answers to questions is a smart way to foster a healthy company culture.
Although corporate culture is ultimately about people, not technology, these resources create opportunities to build relationships, reduce stress and make employees feel valued. Verbit’s accessibility solutions help to support employees in the new world of greater remote work and global teams. Contact us to learn about our captioning, transcription and audio description and how they can help to enhance your meetings, events, videos and more to better fuel an effective corporate culture.
In the US, conversations surrounding inclusion and related legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act are occurring with greater frequency. More institutional and business leaders are investing in supporting accessibility as their every action, site page and marketing campaign is being examined under a microscope, especially as they connect more with diverse audiences online.
As businesses continue to operate more globally, the accessibility needs of the UK audience simply cannot be ignored. Why? It’s not just because creating equitable experiences is the right thing for professionals at businesses and brands to prioritize, but because it’s worth £274 billion.
That’s right – the spending power of people with disabilities and their households is estimated to be worth £274 billion per year to UK businesses.
More than 1 in 5 UK consumers has a reported disability and businesses who ignore their needs are estimated to lose a whopping £2 billion each month. Luckily, business leaders can take a moment to further understand the challenges individuals with disabilities face online to better meet them and gain their business loyalty.
Online Barriers Play a Significant Role
Do you know if your online content is accessible? Whether it’s your website, marketing videos, live streams or events, your content and design must be clear and simple. That definition translates roughly to a level at which most individuals can engage with it without needing to adapt it, but with a structure in place to support those who do need to make adaptations.
If you’re drawing a blank, you’re not in the minority. While Forbes reports that digital accessibility is being reframed as “an all-out business win, not a compliance burden” most business websites are failing audiences and consumers with disabilities. 97.4% of 1 million homepages tested had detectable WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) failures.
The Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation also found that just 4 in 10 local council homepages – government bodies which are often held to higher standards than businesses – failed basic accessibility tests. Websites are often the biggest culprit in the realm of inaccessibility.
Yet with the online spending power of individuals who are disabled reaching approximately £16 billion, an inaccessible website can translate significantly to your business’s bottom line. Additional estimates show that 4.3 million online shoppers with disabilities click away from inaccessible websites and have a combined spending power of £11.75 billion in the UK.
Taking the steps to partner with a brand like accessiBe or add accessibility widgets that offer options like magnifying text, add captions like Verbit’s to recorded marketing videos and live streams or offering audio description capabilities to individuals who are Blind can make a serious difference in retaining these consumers.
Legislation to Keep Top of Mind
The UK’s Equality Act of 2010 replaced a formerly piecemeal approach to anti-discrimination laws. The EQA, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act everywhere except Northern Ireland, demands the protection of individuals living with disabilities. It aims to prevent discrimination based on categories, such as age, sex, religion, sexual orientation and political affiliation. The UN Convention on disability rights has also been agreed on by the UK to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities in the region.
With the Equality Act of 2010 in mind, leaders at public entities and businesses can do more to follow its guidelines and support the accessibility requirements of today’s UK consumers. Making reasonable accommodations for people living with disabilities often comes in at very little cost, but the amount businesses will lose in ignoring these needs – whether they’re fully obligated to or not – will cost them significantly. In fact, 75% of individuals with disabilities and their families have walked away from a UK business because of poor accessibility or customer service. That’s a clear statistic you business cannot ignore.
Verbit is working with corporations and businesses across the world to help support them on their accessibility journeys with AI-based technology. Verbit’s accurate captioning and transcription which can be applied to live and recorded audio, such as podcasts, and videos and events, is helping them engage online audiences and target consumers more effectively in real-time. With most ‘free’ tools on the market not meeting accessibility benchmarks, Verbit’s highly accurate services can come in to better support today’s UK consumers’ accessibility needs.
Verbit was ranked No. 1 in Power in Diversity Israel’s 2021 Women in Startups Report for the best representation of women in large companies of 500 employees and more. The report was based on 424 startups and 70 venture capital firms surveyed.
Power in Diversity Israel, which commissioned the report, uncovered gender diversity numbers and insights, reasons why diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important for startups and how to successfully promote inclusive practices.
Noteworthy companies joining Verbit at the top of their categories include Zencity, which secured the leading spot in mid-size companies of 100-500 employees and Darrow, which secured the top rank for small companies of 50-100 employees.
With Verbit’s core mission centered on making the world – including classrooms, workplaces and online environments – more inclusive, it has made inclusive hiring practices one of its leading initiatives. Verbit employs 1,000 people globally, and women amount to 60% of Verbit’s workforce.
“All the recent research done on the subject of gender diversity shows that it significantly contributes to the business achievements of companies,” said Tom Livne, CEO and Co-Founder, Verbit. “It produces different and varied directions of thinking and action that lead to more effective solutions in a large proportion of cases.”
At Verbit, 44% of managerial positions are held by women and the percentage of women in technological positions is about a quarter of all employees.
“At a time of fierce competition for quality manpower, I believe more and more women should be promoted into the industry,” Livne said. “Women should be encouraged to learn technological professions from an early age. If we make the field accessible to them and remove psychological obstacles, we will have a strong and creative workforce, working hard to reach goals, curious and loyal. One that I am personally proud to work with.”
Additional noteworthy 2021 Women In Startups report findings include:
The report also explored that people and culture, business development and product development all impacted the investment and benefit of DEI in the startup industry.
“A start-up that is attentive to the contribution of an inclusive culture, will reflect the variety of its customers’ identities in its own workforce. This will bring added value to the company and its ability to attract a diverse client base and grow its business. Companies who have a diverse management team and understand the value of DEI, demonstrate better financial results, are able to add improvements and changes to their product offering, and are more effective at problem solving and critical thinking,” the report states.
The report noted key connections among pain points, challenges, goals and how DEI policies can be instituted to serve them. For example, more diverse recruiting efforts can be considered when a startup’s leaders find themselves experiencing high turnover or fast expansion.
Power in Diversity Israel is a joint venture consisting of 60+ Israeli VC firms and 170+ Israeli startups to promote greater inclusion and diversity in the Israeli tech industry. The full report can be read here.
Business leaders and marketers are seeing great benefit in boosting their brand identities and connecting with consumers on Instagram. With 1 billion active monthly users worldwide, this visually-focused platform offers them the ability to attract audiences by sharing engaging content like images and videos.
Marketers using Instagram are now focusing more on video since videos receive twice as much engagement compared to other posts. Yet posting a video and engaging effectively with followers are two different things. With the majority of viewers – an astounding 92% – choosing to watch videos without sound, marketers must provide captions to reach them effectively.
Instagram video captions are easy to produce and offer, making them an essential piece of a social media strategy.
If your goal is to increase your audience reach, Instagram video captions are a huge benefit. 80% of people now use Instagram to decide whether or not to buy a product or service.
With captions, Instagram videos become searchable. Users can search for keywords that appear in the captions rather than being restricted to searching for hashtags or picture captions. This searchability will drive more people to your business profile, leading to more sales, customers and growth.
Additionally, it’s equally important to consider if your brand’s Instagram offers an inclusive and equitable experience to diverse viewers. Non-inclusive content means missed opportunities to connect with potential customers and can have negative effects, including pushing consumers away. 71% of them choose to leave a business’ website rather than complain.
Adding captions for Instagram videos therefore isn’t just best practice to account for today’s silent viewers; it provides much-needed accessibility for users with disabilities, including those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. With lawsuits related to the Americans with Disabilities Act on the rise, your brand simply can’t afford to not be inclusive. Plus, 64% of consumers are known to take action after watching an ad they consider inclusive, so it’s really a win-win.
Instagram’s automatic captioning feature makes it easy for creators and business leaders to offer quick accessibility for their videos. The captioning feature was released for 16 languages in mid-2021, and many Instagram influencers and content creators are using automatic captions for their stories and reels.
Using Instagram’s captioning feature is quite simple, but it’s important to caveat that the captions are typically not fully accurate and can make a business or brand look unprofessional when they’re riddled with errors. However, captions are better than no captions.
Here’s how to add captions to Instagram stories and reels if automatic is the only option for you:
Step 1: Open the Instagram app and scroll to the Instagram Stories or Reels camera. You can either record a new video or select an existing one from your camera roll.
Step 2: After your video is ready, tap on the sticker icon at the top of the screen.
Step 3: Select the blue “Captions” sticker.
Step 4: Once you select the sticker, the words “Transcribing audio…” should appear on the screen. After a few seconds, the automatic captions will start to appear. Users can move the caption text around and customize the caption format using four different text formats and multiple color options.
Once captions are complete, be sure to review the captions for accuracy. While Instagram’s automatic feature offers a quick way to provide captioning, it’s likely to include errors and misspellings. Worse, Instagram doesn’t allow users to manually edit captioning mistakes.
It’s also important to note that some Instagram users don’t have access to this captioning sticker. In those cases, users can manually add text to videos to provide captioning, but it can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you’re faced with uploading dozens of marketing or influencer videos.
To make sure you’re offering an equitable and inclusive viewing experience that meets ADA guidelines, 99% accurate captions are needed. Luckily, professional captioning services like Verbit’s can be employed easily and provide cost-effective captioning at scale for your Instagram video captions.
With thousands of potential customers, marketers need to keep their audiences hooked. If captions are inaccurate, it makes the brand look bad and the content worse. The chances of keeping consumers engaged dwindles. Good visuals can help attract initial interest, but captions are what keep the viewer’s attention with longer watch times.
Professionally captioning your Instagram videos is easy:
Step 1: Decide on a Captioning Partner
Look for a captioning provider that offers you high-accuracy and adheres to ADA guidelines. These are the two most important elements needed to keep your brand’s videos accessible, inclusive and engaging to all viewers and consumers. Verbit is trusted by leading businesses, universities and marketers across all industries to produce 99.9% accurate captions for videos at scale.
Step 2: Request Captioning for Your Video: After you create your videos for Instagram whether directly within the platform or elsewhere, upload the saved video to your desired captioning service and request open captioning. This type of captioning ‘burns’ the final caption text into the video.
Step 3: Captioning services can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete, depending on the turnaround time chosen. Verbit’s captioning software can quickly deliver captioning results for a short video or reel, using an efficient process that combines AI and human transcribers to guarantee the captions are fully accurate and professional.
Step 4: Upload The Video To Instagram: Upload the final video to your Instagram story, reel or video post as you normally would but now with the captions burned in.
If you’re creating video campaigns and video marketing initiatives for social, you must provide captioning to viewers to stay competitive, or they’ll just keep scrolling. Captions provide more engaging video experiences and contribute to a more inclusive, accessible social experience for all.
Verbit’s professional captioning is built for corporate and business needs to help brands and social media marketers come off professional and avoid potential legal issues. Reach out and let us help you caption your video content and scale your efforts today.
With approximately 43 million of the world’s population living with blindness, individuals who are blind play a large part in our global community.
This World Braille Day, Verbit’s leaders are encouraging businesses, schools and the public to consider and recognize the challenges that individuals who are blind or have low vision may be facing on a daily basis. While the Braille system has empowered millions of individuals who are blind with the ability to communicate, work and learn more effectively, there is more that can be done to offer greater inclusion and equity to these individuals.
“Systems like Braille have really enabled individuals who are blind to better succeed, but there are still barriers that we need to address. There are so many ways that people, businesses and institutions can continue to show up for people who are blind through further education and action,” said Scott Ready, Director of Customer Success & Accessibility Evangelist at Verbit.
World Braille Day commemorates the birthday of Louis Braille, who first developed the system which allows individuals to read and write through touch. Though Braille has empowered individuals who are blind to be able to read, many still struggle to find accessible versions of books and other types of media.
Being able to access information in accessible formats like Braille has been essential for individuals who are blind. However, more than 90% of all published material isn’t currently accessible and many individuals who are blind don’t know how to read Braille. Literacy remains a significant challenge in the blind community and only 10% of Americans who are blind can read braille.
In the US alone, approximately 12 million people have vision impairments. Whether you’re an individual running a small business or a professional charged with managing a department within a corporation, you’re likely to work with someone or encounter a customer who is blind or has low vision.
Here are some formats and tips you can incorporate to offer greater access to them.
While incorporating these tips is a great starting point, individuals and professionals who seek to reach and engage with individuals who are blind will benefit from incorporating policies and technologies that drive long-term change.
“The tools needed to support individuals who are blind and have disabilities are already available. It’s up to leaders to start advocating and applying these everywhere to better meet the needs of not just those who are blind, but all people with disabilities,” said Ready.
Verbit is committed to designing technology that helps businesses and organizations better include and support individuals with disabilities, including those who are blind and low vision. Reach out to learn more about our accessible audio description and transcription tools.
Today, Verbit announced it has acquired education and government industry veteran Automatic Sync Technologies. Automatic Sync Technologies is renowned for its transcription solution and expertise and was initially developed by a team of experts with a grant from the US Department of Education.
The acquisition furthers Verbit’s leading market position in the US transcription and captioning space, as well as accelerates Verbit’s penetration into the government arena. Verbit’s education customers will benefit from additional functionalities to democratize video accessibility at their institutions. With Automatic Sync Technologies, Verbit will further advance on its path toward promoting institution-wide inclusion by offering more efficient and effective transcription, captioning and audio description services.
“Together with Automatic Sync Technologies, Verbit can create greater impact by bringing its high-quality transcription to more students, professionals and consumers,” said Tom Livne, CEO and Founder of Verbit. “I’m thrilled to have such a strongly recognized team and product join us on this journey.”
This acquisition will provide all universities and partners with a more comprehensive offering and full domain expertise. The two companies share the same vision of the education transcription market and the evolution from accessibility based on disability requirements to greater engagement and inclusivity for all students.
Kevin Erler, CEO, Automatic Sync Technologies furthered this sentiment by stating, “We are excited to join the Verbit family. Their vision for the present and future of video accessibility and the planned investment in us will empower us to bring the vision of why we started this company 18 years ago to life. Now we can invest more aggressively in our product and make our roadmap and vision into realities.”
Verbit also acquired VITAC, a specialist in real-time captioning and transcription, in May. Verbit will continue to accelerate its expansion with more strategic acquisitions, where it can identify companies that will allow Verbit to invest more in specific industries.
With Automatic Sync Technologies and VITAC within the Verbit domain, unmatched value will be provided to all customers, including a complete suite of content accessibility solutions, supreme accuracy that meets ADA guidelines, fast transcription, robust integrations with LMS and video hosting platforms and dedicated customer support.
Automatic Sync Technologies has been providing closed captioning services for over 17 years, producing more than 5 million caption files for over 5,000 customers. In 2003, AST was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the United States Department of Education, providing the company’s initial funding. Founders Kevin Erler, Ph.D. and Brent Robertson then worked in collaboration with a team of expert advisors to develop the most cost-efficient, high quality, closed captioning service available today.
Scott Ready, Director, Customer Success and Accessibility Evangelist at Verbit, was recently the featured guest on Accessibility.com’s “Accessibility Matters” video series. Ready has worked in the accessibility realm for over 25 years. In his role at Verbit, he currently works with leading universities and institutions to ensure their learning environments are accessible to students with disabilities, among others.
Some of his greatest work revolves around efforts to promote a proactive stance to accessibility measures, encouraging universities to craft plans to provide accessibility measures, such as captioning, to students and audiences from the get-go, rather than responding reactively to one-off requests for access.
Ready was interviewed by John M. Griffin, Publisher, Accessibility.com, a site which focuses on providing education and resources on digital accessibility, physical accessibility, disabilities, relevant laws and more. The site’s mission to create objective and trustworthy information and resources to become a catalyst for equal access to the physical and digital worlds.
“A friend of mine used to say, ‘What cranks your tractor? What gets you up in the morning?’ What really motivates you in doing what you do on a day-to-day basis. I would have to say in my field, it is really enabling education to be experienced by all with as low of a barrier as possible,” Ready said. “I can’t say that we remove all barriers because there are so many barriers that are out there. If I feel like we can eliminate some of the barriers, then I feel like it’s been a win.”
The video interview can be watched in full here:
Ready spoke about the power of captioning and transcription and ways that all students, regardless of disabilities, can benefit from access to technologies that offer these additional consumption formats to them. He went on students utilizing transcription tools can avoid having to take copious notes and instead focus on the lecture at hand to better digest course information and rest assured that a word-for-word transcript will be provided to them after class to reference and study from more effectively.
Find out more and watch additional episodes featuring the likes of Jim McCann, Founder, 1-800-Flowers.com and Alycia Anderson, Founder, Alycia Anderson Company here on Accessibility.com.
In the past, students needed to contact university administrators every time a Zoom or web conferencing link for one of their classes changed. It needed to be updated in the system by the school administrator. The result? This process prevented or delayed the accessibility they needed to participate in courses effectively. It also clogged the schedules of administrators tasked with this important responsibility.
Verbit’s leaders are excited to announce its launch of Student Access, which solves these challenges for our customers. It ensures that students’ accessibility needs are taken care of without delay by giving them the power to edit the details of courses booked for captioning and even upload course terminology and materials themselves to ensure greater captioning and transcription accuracy by prepping the AI to ‘learn’ the course terms and be ready to detect them correctly once mentioned in the class.
“Providing equity to students as they learn in hybrid and online environments is more critical than ever before,” said Tom Livne, Verbit’s founder and CEO. “Verbit’s team members are experts in accessibility and engagement, making us well poised to launch a fully accessible option for live captioning and transcription which fuels student success.”
“With Student Access, all individuals can receive the accessibility they need – when they need it and how they need it. School administrators will feel the difference instantaneously as well,” Livne said.
Previously, only school administrators were able to make changes to classes for captions and transcriptions. With Verbit’s new offering, students have more authority to edit class conference link details and more. This new process ensures that students have full access in their courses without delays. Administrators can now spend their time more wisely and provide students with more accessible education as well.
Students also weren’t taking advantage of Verbit’s glossary tools, which allow for course materials to be uploaded prior to class for improved captioning accuracy. Prior to the launch of Student Access, administrators using Verbit often did not have the bandwidth to upload these course materials for their students or weren’t able to always get them in time from their students. Allowing students to now upload their own course materials and relevant keywords into Verbit directly means they’ll receive more accurate captions of live courses and can manage this process themselves as they get their hands on relevant documents from their instructors.
In addition to more accurate live captions and having peace of mind that the web conferencing link for their courses is always updated and correct, with this new offering, students will also be able to locate past course transcripts more easily. Students will have one place where all past class transcripts are stored to reference them easily for studying. In the past, they needed to scour through their inboxes to find each one or contact the school administrator and wait until they received the transcripts.
These features not only create a more engaging and efficient learning experience for students, but ensure that our customer schools are adhering to the ADA, WCAG 2.1, SOC 2, HIPAA and GDPR guidelines. Verbit’s leadership is thrilled to be facilitating a more accessible and engaging learning experience for students while providing them with the opportunity to take their daily needs into their own hands.
For more information on Student Access and its benefits for our customers, click here.