Traditionally, technology was only beneficial if it was accessible to the user. However, companies over the years have worked hard to ensure that anyone can use their products. In the past, the elderly and disabled have had the reason to believe that technology is out of their reach. For some, it was because there were not features to assist them. For others, there was a lack of understanding as to how the use of technology can benefit them.
Today, companies have introduced some commendable technologies for disabled people that are easier to use than ever. These technologies can lower the barriers that people with disabilities encounter in their daily lives—such as speaking, traveling, reading, and writing. They have allowed the disabled to participate and enjoy the benefits of the digital society, with the same access to information as everyone else. More importantly, technologies have allowed them to act more independently from others if they wish while at the same time connecting them with people around the world.
Fran Killoway is one of the few leaders who have been an integral part of this technological revolution for disabled people. In 2014, she introduced Frasil—an end-to-end intuitive solution to reduce isolation and dramatically improve communication, allowing total control of choice for people living with a disability.
A Prolific Career
Fran has a strong sales background encompassing extensive training around the psychology of a sale. She has been involved with creating, developing, and delivering technology for over 10 years. She has previously taken a startup technology from Australia to the United States and licensed that technology to a US Fortune 500 company in the defense industry.
Besides this, she has studied in other areas such as anthropology, philosophy, psychology, sociology & linguistics, research methodology, political behaviors & strategies, strategy & market direction, and building & commercialization of businesses, products, and services. For her prolific career, she has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions over the years.
Improving Connectivity and Engagement
Fran established Frasil in 2014, when she was comfortable she had enough knowledge to enter the market. Frasil is a technology for people living with disabilities. It is a downloadable program for all devices, allowing people to connect without the need for a voice, keyboard, or mouse. The technology allows its users easy access through all mobile and tablet devices to ensure they can become more engaged with family, friends, and their community.
Frasil helps people living with disabilities communicate and interact with today’s modern digital world by engaging them with a sense of fulfillment and belonging, promoting a more inclusive and less-isolated world. The app is designed to modify and customize to suit the specific needs of each user, placing them into an environment that is safe and familiar so they feel in control.
Talking about factors that distinguish Frasil from its competitors, Fran states that the company’s competitors are each valuable in their way and are focused on specific types of disabilities—whereas Frasil delivers all these capabilities in one application. “Frasil’s focus is always to offer each user choice on their terms, improve communication, and reduce isolation,” she adds.
Staying at the Forefront
Fran is the Executive Chairman and Head of Global Technology at Frasil. In her role as the Chairman, she is focused on the vision of the company and the delivery of the technology. She believes each Frasil user—who is very demanding in their individual needs—will determine the continued success of the company. “This means Frasil’s technology delivery will always be cutting-edge and setting the benchmarks for the industry,” she adds.
Alike numerous organizations across the world, Frasil is also facing the challenges around the uncertainty of the future. Fran believes that financial management is the key along with monitoring all functions & processes and customer service. She adds that regulations and compliance are paramount which then ties into competency and recruiting the right talent. According to her, technology is the solution going forward due to the huge amounts of exploding data.
Coping with the Disruptions
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the landscape disrupting everyone’s lives in a way no one would have thought possible so must leadership,” affirms Fran. Heeding the pandemic, companies have to combine humans and technology to create extraordinary capabilities in a much shorter time frame than it may have existed before the pandemic. During these uncertain times, the toughest decisions for Fran were to develop ways that allowed Frasil to continue to trade throughout the pandemic, as well as employ people.
Frasil has its barrister and chef who were charged with a huge health operation. Once the employees arrived at the office, they went through a disinfectant routine and were not allowed to bring any food or drink onto the premises and through mutual consent. Moreover, the employees had to remain in the office until the end of the day.
A New Wave of Innovation
According to psychology, today, it takes 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. Fran adds, “The pandemic has changed businesses forever and one train of thought, around the 66 days, will allow companies to make strategic decisions about how they work and engage with their new COVID-19 employees’ mind set.”
For instance, research suggests that a large percentage of employees like the notion of working 3 and ½ days of the week in the office and the remainder at home. Fran thinks that the fundamental question is whether this kind of change is unleashing a new wave of innovation at new and giddy heights.
In the near future, Fran expects a large percentage of people living with disabilities to adopt Frasil. The company will focus on leveraging technologies such as AI and ML to ensure every user receives their Frasil app the way they want it to work. In the coming years, Frasil strives to have at least 100,000 disabled people using Frasil in 100,000 different ways.