To enhance accessibility of branch services, Visions Federal Credit Union is planning to pilot a device titled “Badger” at select locations.
Developed by Satellite Displays, Inc., Badger is a smart device that can provide closed captions for conversations in real time. The size of a traditional name badge – and functioning as such when not in use – the device receives audio and converts it to text in real-time on the screen’s display.
For Mike Williston, Cofounder & CEO of Satellite Displays, developing Badger was personal. “My grandmother was deaf, my dad has severe hearing loss, and my sister and I have moderate hearing loss,” says Williston. “It wasn’t until my father was in the hospital and having trouble communicating with the nurses and doctors that we realized what a need there was for a device like Badger. Having a Badger would have made it easier for caregivers to communicate with my father by providing real time closed captions.”
The breakthrough led to Williston speaking and exhibiting Badger at an accessibility and inclusion conference in upstate New York, catching the eye of Visions’ Culture and Inclusion Officer, LaToya Pryce.
“Members who are hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss should receive the same exceptional member service that we offer everyone else,” says Pryce. “This technology could help us extend an equitable experience to all.”
The first financial institution to test this technology, Visions began partnering with Satellite Displays earlier this year to strategize on how best to deliver the device to their teller lines. Within the coming months, Visions will be testing Badger at branches in Endicott, NY, Mahwah, NJ, and Muhlenberg, PA.
As a financial institution, Visions understands that it has a particular responsibility not only to accessibility through technology, but also its members’ security. “Badger is a real time-only unit,” explains Pryce. “Our members will benefit from the increased accessibility without the worry that their conversations or sensitive information will be saved.”
After piloting the smart badge with speech-to-text in English, Visions plans to test the Badger’s capabilities with real time translation to support their growing membership in other languages.
Pryce says, “Just imagine, eliminating all language barriers from our branch services. That’s the direction we’re going!”
About Satellite Displays
Satellite Displays’ purpose is to improve communication through innovation. We created Badger, the world’s first closed captioning smart badge to convert speech to text in real time. Badger also translates speech to many languages. We are inspired to help all people overcome communication barriers. Whether you are deaf, have hearing loss, speak a different language or are wearing a mask, Badger can help.