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Rapid City, SD, USA

Context Clues for Konnie

Konnie is seated on a wicker chair in a garden. She wears a blue sweater and jeans, draping her arms alongside the armrests.

Rapid City, South Dakota local, Konnie, is the mother of two teenagers whom she homeschools. She doubles as a transcriptionist, working with a range of material from podcasts, sermons and interviews to focus group discussions, college lectures and medical scripts -- even trials! Konnie is also completely blind.

“I never know what I’m gonna get from day to day”, Konnie shares. Her latest endeavor is working with a company that transcribes videos, mainly for YouTube. Konnie says the “neat” thing about it, is that she gets to help people, who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who are new English-speakers, in her own way. She empathizes with the nature of the work as well as its cause, “I get to help others with their disabilities or other challenges, even though I have a challenge of my own”. And when she faces a challenge with her vision, she pops open Be My Eyes.

The use Konnie makes of Be My Eyes spotlights a few advantages it holds over other visually assistive apps. Chief among them is the human factor. The volunteers, who are only a phone call away, are able to understand context that artificial intelligence, for example, can’t read. When Konnie is sent a video, she wants to have the exact context of the footage in order to transcribe it accurately.

The volunteers tell me where to position my phone, and I ask them whatever it is that I’m wondering about or need to know. They are always very helpful, very friendly and more than willing to lend a hand, or a pair of eyes so to speak.

Whether it’s a picture displaying some kind of scenario, a name she wants spelled correctly, or anything she can’t reference in the audio, Konnie simply makes a Be My Eyes call to get a fitting description. And because she is also a mother and teacher, her demanding schedule sometimes means she works late at night. The 24-hour, anywhere in the world availability that Be My Eyes ensures, gives Konnie an upper hand.

Be My Eyes suits people like Konnie who lead busy lives because it functions like a tool in their back pocket that’s there when they need something reliable and flexible. And Konnie isn’t partial to using the app in her professional life.

The uses for it are pretty much unlimited, I think - whatever you can imagine.