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How AI is Ushering in the Next Generation of Captioning Technology

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On April 23, 2005, Jawed Karim posted a video of himself online. Although Me at the zoo was not the first video to be uploaded to the web, nor were its 19 seconds exceptionally remarkable, the footage would make history by being the first entry on YouTube.

Since then, billions of videos have been shared on the platform, with an estimated five hundred hours of video being uploaded to the site every minute. By all accounts, video content is taking over. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, video will generate 80% of worldwide internet consumption by 2019, up from 67% in 2014. This astounding mass of footage originates from social media, news, education, and entertainment.

One thing is clear: video content has never been more popular. With this massive amount of content growing larger by the minute, a powerful captioning solution makes all the difference in reaching all viewers without limitations.

 

Ensure content is mobile-friendly

As of November 2018, 48.2% of all global web traffic is being generated through mobile devices, with no signs of slowing down. The implications here are clear. Creating content that is not optimized for mobile is not an option.

Captions allow viewers in noise-prohibitive environments to easily consume video content. If listening is impossible due to ambient surroundings, people can still follow along, thereby removing a potential barrier and making it easy for people to interact with the media.  

 

Provide accessibility for all

Over 350 million people worldwide are affected by a hearing impairment. Adding video captions ensures that millions of potential viewers don’t miss out on valuable content. They allow content creators to cast a wide net and catch anyone who may be interested, by making information available to non-native speakers as well as those with hearing impairments. It’s a simple and highly effective way to make sure that anyone who wants to consume content can do so with no barriers.

Captions provide the opportunity to appeal to as many people as possible and attract new audiences. Everyone absorbs information differently. While some prefer visual or auditory methods, for others there’s nothing quite like the written word.

It’s also the law. A number of federal bodies and regulations, such as the FCC, ADA, and CVAA, require media producers to meet certain accessibility standards, making captions a must-have for many organizations.

 

Increase SEO

Video captions provide great SEO benefits. Search engines can’t crawl audio or video files, they work exclusively through text. That’s why captioning is necessary for increasing visibility and strengthening an active online presence. Including text-based content increases rank and visibility on search engines and allows audiences to locate content that interests them.

 

Repurpose compelling content

If a particular topic or theme is resonant with audiences, why not capitalize on the opportunity to create other forms of engaging content on that subject? Adding video captions makes it possible to transform videos into blog posts, SlideShare presentations, infographics and more. It simplifies the process of creating new content and breathes new life into popular, SEO-friendly pieces, transforming them into other engaging collateral.

 

The solution: AI technology

AI-driven technology represents the ideal solution for organizations looking to profit from the many benefits of video captions. Incorporating sophisticated machine learning algorithms into automated speech recognition technology results in higher accuracy, as the solution can be trained for a specific domain and properly convert spoken terms or vocabulary that may be uncommon into text. Automating the majority of the captioning process also drastically reduces costs and boosts turnaround times.  

 

The fusion of AI and HI

Although technology has reached the point of achieving high accuracy without the need for intervention, there is no substitute for human intelligence. The two go hand in hand. Highly skilled individuals are critical for monitoring and editing technical outputs. This process completes the technology’s learning cycle, as corrections are then fed back to the speech-to-text engine, allowing the technology to improve over time, boosting accuracy, lowering costs and reducing turnaround time.

 

Given the ever-increasing popularity and prevalence of AI technology, organizations must begin to view these developments as a key element of their strategies going forward. The future of content creation is intertwined with the advancement of AI and represents a new frontier in the cooperation of man and machine.

 

Verbit at the NAB Show

Interested in learning more about AI-driven captioning technology? Verbit’s smart solution harnesses the power of artificial and human intelligence to generate the most detailed speech-to-text files, providing over 99% accuracy and the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Stop by booth SU8906 to learn how organizations can provide equal access to content and increase user engagement.

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From College to the Workforce: The Many Benefits of Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

The 1998 United States Assistive Technology Act defines assistive technology, or, adaptive technology, as any “product, device, or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

Like all technology, these products have evolved over time, both in their capabilities and in adoption and use. Advances such as speech to text, predictive text, and spell checkers are just a few examples of tools initially developed to assist people with a disability. Today, these features often come standard in all personal computers and mobile devices, due to the incredible benefits that impact all users.

 

From College to the Workforce

One of the most successful applications of assistive technology is in the domain of higher education. For example, transcription and captioning tools help students with hearing impairments as well as those who are not native speakers of the language of instruction fully participate in class and be more engaged with course materials. These technologies augment the learning experience for all students and enable new possibilities for better instruction and engagement.

Entering the workforce post-college is a stressful time for anyone, but even more so for individuals with disabilities. The use of assistive technologies in the workplace can help ease this transition. Although assistive technology does not completely eliminate the challenges, it can level the playing field so that individuals with disabilities can participate more fully in the same activities as their nondisabled peers.

Unfortunately, the use of assistive technology in the workplace is nowhere near as prevalent as in academia. One reason for this is that legislation governing accommodations in the workplace is not as clear as those that pertain to higher education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to assist employees that self-identify as having a disability in performing the essential functions of their job. However, the definition of what exactly is considered a “reasonable accommodation” is unclear. In addition, putting the onus on the employee to disclose their disability and request assistive technology as an accommodation can lead to lower levels of reporting, due to fear of being stigmatized as a result of their condition.

 

Innovation Benefits All

The benefits of offering assistive technologies in the workplace are clear. But, beyond the benefits to individuals with disabilities themselves, incorporating assistive technology into the workplace offers advantages for or companies and organizations in many ways.

Nearly one in five Americans have some kind of disability. Incorporating assistive technology in the workplace gives companies a competitive advantage by being able to hire from a larger pool of qualified people by not excluding any candidates. By removing barriers, organizations can be sure to hire the best and most talented person for the job.

There are approximately 18.6 million people with disabilities currently working. Given this vast number of people, the potential for assistive technology (AT) to increase productivity is great. Furthermore, employees may acquire or develop disabilities over time. Companies that want to support their employees as they age to retain their skills, talent and experience must invest in state of the art assistive technology to do so.

When technology is developed to address the most complex of needs, it ends up benefiting everyone. Many of the technologies that were initially developed for people with disabilities have gone on to become widely used by the general population. AI innovations such as image recognition, speech-to-text, chatbots, and self-driving vehicles are technologies that benefit all individuals, as well as society as a whole.

This principle makes sense from a product engineering perspective as well. Designing with accessibility in mind means creating a product that is more intuitive, feature-rich and, ultimately, able to reach and impact more people. By enhancing capabilities and leveling the playing field, assistive technologies, particularly those that are AI-enhanced, help individuals with disabilities to not only successfully transition from college to the workplace, but thrive in their working environments.

 

Verbit at the CUNY Accessibility Conference

Interested in learning more about AI-driven transcription and captioning technology? Verbit’s smart solution harnesses the power of artificial and human intelligence to generate the most detailed speech-to-text files, providing over 99% accuracy and the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Stop by to learn how organizations can provide equal access to course content, increase engagement, and boost academic success for all students.

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