Egypt’s Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) has joined forces with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Avaya to extend the capabilities of WASEL — its dedicated contact centre service for people of determination — with the addition of automated testing for COVID-19 symptoms for the deaf and hard of hearing.
A world first, this chatbot utilises AI to enable sign-language based interaction, providing users intuitive access to critical COVID-19 related information and support. The service is conveniently available via the Tamkeen website or WASEL smartphone application.
This initiative aligns with the efforts of the MCIT to support the Egyptian government’s plan to effectively mitigate COVID-19 challenges, and the State’s vision of deepening social integration by utilising smart technologies that foster inclusivity through all segments of society.
Amr Talaat, The Minister of Communications and Information Technology in Egypt explained that this first of its kind service in the Arab World and Africa represents the Ministry’s latest effort to “reach all segments of society, provide technical support to face the current crisis and keep citizens safe.”
UNDP’s Resident Representative in Egypt, Randa Aboul-Hosn, stressed the importance of using ICT solutions and smart technologies to combat the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its negative effects, especially for people with special needs. She highlighted that her organisation’s partnership with MCIT Egypt and Avaya has successfully materialised into an easy-to-use solution that is carefully designed to help deaf and hearing-impaired people cope with the challenges imposed by the ongoing pandemic.
One of the key benefits of advanced AI-based solutions such as the one employed by MCIT is that they reduce the workload on call center agents in critical sectors such as healthcare, banking, education and government, that are experiencing a surge in service requests from concerned customers and citizens.
“We are proud to extend our partnership with MCIT Egypt to find innovative ways in which we can leverage technology to enable the delivery equality of experience for every citizen, and thus help to build a more inclusive society,” said Ahmed Fayed, Country Manager – Egypt & Libya, Avaya.
“In these unprecedented times, we are witnessing how technology is playing a fundamental role aiding businesses and communities stay connected and safe. We hope that this incredible initiative by the Egyptian government may serve to inspire other nations to consider launching similar programmes.”