Opportunity: Serotek’s RIM Makes Real-Time One-on-One Accessible

Presented by:
Ricky Enger
Remote Incident Manager (RIM)Product Manager

Serotek Corporation
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Office 612.246.4818, ext 104
Ricky.enger (at) serotek.com

The following was presented at the 28th Annual CSUN International Technology and Disabilities Conference on February 27, 2013.

GoToMyPC, pcAnywhere and other peer to peer pc connection software options expand the universe with virtual educational and remote service capability for everyone - unless, of course, a person happens to be blind. Serotek’s Remote Incident Manager (RIM) opens these capabilities to everyone including the blind.

One of the biggest challenges facing blind IT trainers and tech support professionals is the ability to successfully assist clients regardless of the assistive technology being used on the remote computer. For many years, there were no accessible remote training and support options for the blind technical professional. Serotek’s Remote Incident Manager was the first technology to break down this barrier. Later, other assistive technology options followed suit by introducing remote access capabilities, but with each of these options, the assistive technology on the technician’s PC had to match the assistive technology on the remote computer.

The Serotek Difference

With Serotek’s Remote Incident Manager, blind IT professionals can support remote computers regardless of which, if any, assistive technology is installed on the remote computer. This means that the blind technician can easily support their sighted colleagues, friends and family, as well as providing support and training to other blind and visually impaired users of assistive technology. With built-in Voice over IP communication and the ability to transfer files from one computer to another, a technician can support the end user just as if he were in the same room, without costly and time-consuming travel.

How does it work?

There are three components to the Remote Incident Manager. The client component is installed on a technician’s computer. The RIM host is installed on the remote computer, and can easily be downloaded by the end user when a technician emails a link to download it. Alternatively, the technician can install the host on an end user’s computer himself if he initially has physical access to the computer. The RIM host need only be installed once. When it is installed, it runs quietly in the background until it is needed. The third component of RIM is Serotek’s RIM server, which manages the connection between the client and host computers.

To establish a connection, the technician and remote user agree on a keyword to use for the session. This keyword doesn’t have to mimic a strong password, since the only thing that matters is that client and host enter the same keyword. In fact, the keyword can be something as simple as the space bar, which works well for an end user with minimal keyboarding skills. The technician opens a remote incident in the RIM client, enters the desired keyword, and then prompts the user to enter that same keyword. The remote user presses a hot key to initiate the incident, and then enters the keyword. If the keywords match on both ends, the computers are connected.

Once connected, the technician hears audio from the remote user’s computer, including output from the user’s screen reader if one is running. Since the connection is a shared session, a technician may perform a task on the end user’s computer, and the end user can observe in real-time how the task is performed. Similarly, a trainer can ask the end user to perform a task, and then observe to see if the task is performed correctly.

In cases where there is no screen reader present on the remote computer, Serotek’s System Access screen reader will read the screen for the technician. However, the screen reader will not begin speaking on the remote computer. This means that if the end user has no need for screen-reading technology, she will not be inconvenienced by listening to the computer talk as the technician performs tasks. In this way, blind technicians are able to provide full support to their clients, and the clients need not even know that the technician is blind.

For many organizations, there are both blind and sighted technicians. The Remote Incident Manager is a tool that can be used successfully in either case. A sighted technician can turn off text-to-speech options in the program, and can rely solely on the visual representation of the remote computer. This means that there is no need to purchase one tool for the sighted technicians and another accessible tool for the blind technicians in an organization.

Serotek’s Remote Incident Manager gives any person, sighted or blind, the tools to tutor remotely, sharing the student’s PC and helping the student navigate the intricacies of learning screen readers and other applications. The same tool lets blind technicians provide real-time help to frustrated computer users (sighted or blind). Tech support, tutoring, one-on-one guided distance learning - it’s all easy and inexpensive with RIM.