Below are the highlights of the conversation between Swiftnlift Business Magazine and Frasil Group. The company was founded in the year 2014 by Fran Killoway. We are glad to share this exclusive interview with all the readers.
Tell us about your company. Its vision and mission.
Frasil is the technology that makes the world more accessible. Through an intuitive interface, apps and operational system Frasil gives everyone and anyone the ability to access a world of digital and online tools.
When we’re connected we have the opportunity to make more choices about who we connect with, the way we express ourselves, and who we want to be. Simply put, whoever you are, whatever your ability, Frasil allows you to be more you.
“It’s not just about showing PLWD what the world has to offer, It’s about showing the world what PLWD have to offer” Fran believes that building a Frasil workplace with people who believe in the Frasil technology and who want to work together on a common vision of purpose and value to PLWD.
Fran has shaped Frasil by building a culture that unites all stakeholders, including PLWD, around a common cause. Fran believes a great culture should provide continuous alignment to the vision, purpose, and goals of Frasil.
What were the constraints you faced at the time of inception?
Challenges and or constraints always remind Fran of the famous Einstein quote “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” By continually engaging with PLWD, over the 10 years, we learnt how to better connect theories and knowledge and our miscommunications became less.
Fran has faced four main challenges :
1.People accepting a woman her age could have the knowledge of these sophisticated neural networks and AI and ML capabilities. There has been large disbelief that Fran has been able to develop the technology she has. And yet Frasil exists today.
2.Dealing with the 10 years of the unparalleled level of disbelief, disrespect and rudeness from people, as Fran presented each step of the technology has been challenging. Fran was forced to be respectful in circumstances when Frasil still needed assistance in investment needed to do that or risk not getting Frasil to market. Fran was never able to challenge the existing industries expertise because people simply refused to accept that this different presentation of intelligence could be achieved. This scenario was further exacerbated by Fran’s complete lack of front-end knowledge of computers, software and Apps. While it is true that she can look at a screen, and ensure that it has the right message, it did not follow, she knew how to turn the screen on or navigate it properly.
3.Fran became known for doing things back to front and upside down. This talent allowed her to understand that people living with disabilities have a need to have their individual messages delivered in many different ways.
4.The final hurdle was then realizing that all or most technology professionals are educated, in a very similar way and in the same school of thought, presenting beautifully designed screens that look pretty with lots of colours.
What services do you provide?
The Frasil technology is designed to allow any person with any disability to access the internet on their individual terms. Frasil offers all People Living with Disability (PLWD) choice and a voice to allow their personal choices, around most aspects of their lives, to be heard.
What are the main challenges you face with the recent trends in the industry?
Fran is 69, politically incorrect, has a great sense of humour and doesn’t really worry too much about the mindless conversation. So for Fran, it would be very difficult trying to worry about some of the more extreme examples of how we should live and what we can say that is deemed to be politically correct. Fran believes that for some of her clients, just navigating each day are difficult enough without the added pressure of “what is politically correct.”
How Artificial Intelligence can help the disabled?
Frasil’s Artificial intelligence is focused on the use of visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making, translation understanding emotions, and tailoring every user’s version of Frasil completely to their individual needs. Frasil is built on feedback from PLWD and for those PLWD; the Frasil AI technology opens up a world of accessibility.
AI generally has already made huge strides in the realm of communication, accessibility, and independent living for people with disabilities. Frasil is all about offering the ability for choice ensuring that any PLWD using Frasil can be heard whether they can speak or not. Frasil can connect to Alexa or Echo through Frasil to relay each PLWD choices. In addition to that, Frasil’s has speech-to-text, text-to-speech, speech-to-speech and text to text capabilities allowing more communication for those recovering from brain injuries, dealing with MS or Parkinson’s or stroke-related issues. Frasil will be implementing closed-captioning programs for those with difficulty hearing that is also being perfected with AI algorithms.
In your opinion, can AI be a bridging the gap for the visually impaired?
For those with visual impairments, Frasil technology is paramount in how they communicate with their smart devices. In the coming apps, Frasil will release a version of it using brail. It’s AI, ML, NN systems are on a stage three project which reads menus, and describes images for people with visual impairments.
Is AI powerful enough to foster inclusions?
Fran thinks that AI is powerful enough to foster inclusions because of the speed that AI drives decisions, one can begin to appreciate how important it is to get AI right. The importance of AI will only become more involved as both AI and ML take over key decisions in everything depending on how it’s developed and deployed.
AI and ML can and is starting to support a future that is inclusive and it is imperative that this new technology is used for the most disadvantaged in society today.
How do you stand different from those who are already into these technologies?
Fran supports the notion that disruptive technologies are the key enablers for disruptive innovation because they act as a driving force behind the innovation of technologies like Frasil. She adds that artificial intelligence has the potential to greatly increase the efficiency of the existing economy. But companies like Frasil, leading the way in the use of disruptive technologies, may have an even larger impact on innovation. Fran believes that innovative companies see the likes of disruptive technologies as a new way of doing things that can reshape the nature of innovation, process, and the future organization of research and development.
Tell us about your team and its strength.
Frasil operates with a very lean team. Frasil has a COO, two technical people and one administration person. Frasil was created to deliver her technology for the lowest possible monthly cost to allow all PLWD to be able to afford Frail’s technology.
Which of your projects are you proud of and why? Also, tell us about your future ventures.
Fran is extremely proud of all her projects because they all solve large global problems. The technology that is close to release is, Meka. It is a technology that protects children and young adults from bad behaviour online including paedophiles, abuse, staking and so on. The primary objective of Meka is to protect each user’s privacy while keeping them safe.
The release of the first iteration of the intelligent humanoid to train volunteers 24/7 for organisations that deal with PTSD, suicide, loneliness etc. This technology will then move to the intelligent humanoid providing online counselling.
People lose their lives at the pedestrian crossing at an alarming rate and Fran has developed her technology to be able to communicate with traffic lights to indicate how the lights should behave in accordance with whom or what is approaching the traffic lights.
Details of the company :
Year of Founding: 2014
Founding Members: Fran Killoway
Office Locations : Sydney and New York New York
Website : www.frasil.com
*This interview is covered by Swiftnlift Business Magazine