FRASIL: CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH THE DIGITAL LIFE
Technology is the platform that uplifts people’s lives to the next level. To stay competitive, organizations have used contemporary measures to proffer solutions that meet the demand of the consumer. In addition to uplifting the mainstream people, many notable organizations focus on enhancing the life of the people living with disabilities. These companies focus on crafting gadgets and solutions for PLWDs, so that they can outshine and live life like everyone else.
Unlike the other entities, who have devised measures to help these people to a specific extent, Fran Killoway, a very intellectual and comprehensive leader has devised a groundbreaking solution of the PLWDs: A bridge to the digital world “Frasil”. The merchandise is the outcome of a dream of its Founder Fran. Empowered by a Machine Empathy engine, the product is a browser-based solution crafted with AI and ML that helps a disabled person interact with the world at his/her ease.
“Whoever you are, whatever your ability, Frasil allows you to be you.” – Fran Killoway
Frasil is a digital application constructed with all the IT advancements, which helps people with disabilities to interact with the global community. Through an intuitive interface, apps and operational system, Frasil gives everyone the ability to access the digital world and online tools.
Frasil brought forth a very innovative product, which helps to connect with the online world and allows PLWD to make their own choices. These choices include whom they want to connect with, the way they wish to express and eventually, more contributing members of their community. The bottom line is Frasil enables these people to utilize the digital platform to communicate and interact just like the rest of the world.
THE STORY THAT MADE IT HAPPEN
Fran’s unique academic background and diverse professional experience resulted in coming to database design. Before conceiving Frasil, Fran incorporated a decade of experience and knowledge on AI theories by associating herself with BCG, a US-based large defence company, Oracle, and many other Multi-National Conglomerates. After treasuring such enormous knowledge and experience, she aimed at conceiving something productive. During this time, she had to take a break for 3 years owing to some personal reasons. However, after returning to the platform in 2010, she focused on building a practical solution for the PLWDs – by implementing her AI knowledge she garnered over the years.
Fran believes that “It’s not just about showing people living with disabilities what the world has to offer, It’s about showing the world what people living with disabilities have to offer.”
Fran has spent the last decade towards listening and learning from people living with disabilities and discovering their needs and wants. Existing IT platforms had previously been and continue to be point solutions solving very focused problems. Looking at the solutions, Fran wasn’t able to understand the traditional ways of programming, where PLWD had to comply with strict and unnatural ways of relating to devices.
To break this stereotype, Fran intended on building a system that could collaborate with its user and react to their needs rather than requiring the user to change to satisfy the device. This made her the devise Frasil, in 2014. Her product contains 13 trending digital apps that most PLWD can use in day-to-day-life including communication tools and access to products that we all take for granted like Netflix, sport, news, TV shows and movies, music, books, Amazon, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and a lot more on their terms. In short, Frasil gives most PLWD, regardless of their disability, a bridge to connect with the world, reducing social isolation.
FACTORS THAT DIFFERENTIATE THE PRODUCT
The product has a ‘Humanoid’ that builds rapport with the user at a personal level by generating conversation. This creates a trustworthy relationship between the duo eventually, making the product their “companion” and “friend”. Instead of the usual “one size fits all” assistive tools and analytics, Frasil uses AI and ML to understand each user. By connecting on an emotional level, Frasil understands the needs and wants of each user and provides specified solutions accordingly. The framework further ensures that each user engages more with the device and content.
Frasil’s AI and ML uses a very simply structured black and white navigation system supported by a very sophisticated database and back end. The AI’s simple navigation coupled with emotional and engaging conversations personalized for each user allows the system to become an appropriate digital friend of each user. Apart from this, Frasil enables every user to learn and understand their environment and become more contributing members to their communities. While the humanoid protects each user’s privacy, the AI and ML combine to learn each user’s nuances. Being completely premised on the needs of the users, the product understands their grammar, intelligence to suitably suffice the emotional needs of the user. Through her product, Fran has synthesized a highly innovative world-class technology that highlights people living with disabilities.
R&D THAT HELPS THEM TO STAY PUT
“The R & D program managed by Innovation and Science Australia has been an integral part of the development of Frasil” acknowledges Fran. In addition to this, Frasil innovates with enhancements to each of the 13 Apps, giving them a continuing edge over their peers. After the release of each App, Frasil’s AI and ML keeps keen attention on the feedback given by every individual user. Based on this feedbacks, Frasil additionally releases enhancements that are cutting edge and remain relevant to every individual user.
Building something that does not exist and forecasted by many as impossible, requires constant analysis of the product and implementation of suggestions by users. This is an approach, which has kept Frasil consistent for the last 10 years. Incorporation of these upgradations also portrays the hurdles that Fran has had to overcome in getting Frasil to the market.
BUILT ON A CUTTING-EDGE ARCHITECTURE
To provide a personalized experience for every user, Frasil has blended traditional architecture with an innovative design of databases. The product is built on a ‘Microsoft Azure’ enabled solution, which proffers a centric and unique search engine. The software has a track record in providing a scalable, robust and secure platform for global deployment for hosting leading AI and ML technologies.
The Frasil search engine puts forth a series of questions for each user. After receiving the answers, the operating system reciprocates the specific needs of each user. A factor that distinguishes this product from its predecessors is that the product can accommodate up to 100 million simultaneous users, but still each of its solutions differ from person to person.
MOTIVATION THAT FUELS THE ORGANISATION
“Since I enjoy my work and the people on every level, I never think of it as a personal and professional life balance.” – Fran.
Equalizing between personal and professional life is an essential requirement. However, if one is passionate about the work he/she does, the line separating the two hemispheres disappears. Fran is very passionate about ensuring people with disabilities have the same opportunities, like the rest of the world. Henceforth, her passion fuels her motivation to build and implement solutions for the PLWDs.
This identical motivation is also instilled inside the other employees of the organization. Frasil operates a small dedicated team. Throughout its professional journey, this team has shown great passion, persistence and perseverance. Everyone in the team shows the same zeal as their leader to achieve one single purpose: highlighting people living with disabilities. “The driving motivation has always been towards the users; their willingness not to judge and give life a go even after living with disabilities”. Says Fran. This unbroken posture of the users is what makes Frasil deliver the best product for each person with a disability.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS PORTRAYING THE LENGTH OF SUCCESS
Fran Killoway’s background in AI and ML is not traditional and it strikes people to believe that a 68-year-old female (with a granddaughter) can bring such huge technological transition for the PLWDs. However, Fran’s target towards illuminating the PLWDs has made her the heir of numerous accolades. A few of them are mentioned below:-
- In 2013 she was recognized as“Who’s Who Executive of the Year for Consumer Services”.
- APAC CIO Outlook portrayed Frasil as “Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Consulting/Services Companies 2018” and “Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Solution Providers 2019”
- Frasil also won the “2020 Global Excellence Awards” in the “Customised Browser Solutions for the Disabled” category.
Along with this, Frasil is highly commended by the populace for its contribution towards the society. In addition to Frasil, Fran has established the ‘Aspirante Foundation’, an Australian based charitable foundation, aimed to provide direct assistance to those in need, including people living with disabilities. The Foundation also initiates programs that provide financial support to people living with a disability and access to online tools.
OUTLOOK OF THE FUTURE
The size of the disability market is enormous and a major growing issue for governments around the world. Frasil has a long pipeline of developments in its trove to provide greater functionality of its App (enhancements in their humanoid). Moreover, Frasil is developing a ‘Management Software’ for organizations concerned with PLWDs. The software is aimed to provide management with greater insights into the needs of their clients and the effectiveness of their services.
Over time, the data Frasil will collect from this organisations will be extremely valuable to the government and other decision-makers; regarding the effectiveness of funding and the solutions to be offered; to allow people with disabilities to show what they have to offer. This data can save billions of dollars in the cost of programs while resulting in procuring better services for each person living with disabilities.