Friday, 30 April 2010

Interacting with the electorate using technology

It may have escaped your notice, but the 51st state of the Union, that's Britain (or England as most Americans like to call it) by the way, is holding its elections six months ahead of the usual mid-term elections. Like the other distant states, Alaska and Hawaii, Britain maintains the habit of 'doing its own thing'. There are regional governments here too, however, the upcoming elections are neither for the Welsh Assembly nor the Scottish Parliament; they are purely for the Westminster Parliament.

One thing that's created a stir over here, this time around, is the presidential style television debates between the party leaders. These have been entertaining or boring, depending on to whom you talk. I think, though, that the organisers have missed a trick. Or, they've not had the courage of their convictions - or the party leaders have 'chickened out'. I mean, come on, they could surely have gone for a bit more audience participation. How much of a risk would that really have been?

Some or other enterprising customer from Aculab's developer community would willingly provide state-of-the-art call centre technology in order to liven up the debates.

The kinds of technology I mean are things such as:Call Centre Lady LR.png
  • Outbound call centre dialling to canvas voters 
  • Inbound mass calling platform to register voters' opinion of the participants immediately post debate, such as the poll conducted by SKY News after the debate it hosted
  • Conferencing platforms to enable voters to participate directly in the live TV event, posing questions to the leaders in real time

For Aculab, these platforms use media resources that can be considered our core competence, such as active speaker detection, support for multiple voice codec types (fixed, mobile, narrowband, wideband), TDM and IP connectivity, highly effective call progress analysis (CPA) and automatic call distribution (ACD).
These technologies have been used numerous times to build systems by our developer partners such as Dolphin Systems, Future Technologies and Noble Systems.

Perhaps the use of some of these technologies might be a turn off for the typically reserved British nation, or perhaps it was thought that just having the three main contenders on screen for 90 minutes would be enticing enough in its own right - but I for one did not persevere to the end, and went channel hopping in search of the World Championship snooker instead!

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