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Microsoft Teams accessibility bot used by 30,000 people at Imperial College London

Staff at Imperial College London are delighted with demand for its new accessibility bot, after 30,000 people started using the digital helper.

The bot can be accessed by all staff and students via a tab in Microsoft Teams and via individual chat windows. It recommends features in Microsoft 365, Edge and Windows 10 that help people change the look and feel of online meetings to meet their needs.

It can help with hearing, mental health, mobility, neurodiversity and vision needs.

The most popular requests include live captions for Teams meetings, reducing background distractions while on a call and help with turning on Focus Assist to support work that requires sustained concentration.

“We have around 43,000 active users on our system at Imperial College London, and that’s staff and students,” said Adrian Mannall from Information and Communication Technologies at Imperial. “We’ve made the accessibility bot available to them all, because it’s there to help everyone. Importantly, no one has to sign up to a course to learn how to use the bot or ask for it to be installed for them, they can just start using it. That’s critical for people who may not feel comfortable asking for help with accessibility needs.”

While most requests relate to accessibility, the bot can also answer other questions related to Microsoft’s programs. Other common queries include how to change the look and feel of Office, and how to work more efficiently by using My Analytics.

The bot, which was deployed in October, was developed by Future Worx, a Microsoft partner that specialises in digital workplace transformation.

“We wanted to make a helpful bot that would be used by as many people as possible,” said Steve Giles, Director of Sales at Future Worx. “So one thing we decided early on was that the bot would only collect anonymised data about the questions it is asked, so we can improve the responses. It really exists just to help people collaborate and communicate in a way that suits them.

“We’re delighted with how successful it’s been and we are eager to see more organisations deploy it for the benefit of their teams.”

For more information or to download the bot, click here.