Top Spot of the Week: Cox Communications, 180LA Team On "Project Convey," Harness Video Chat Power of Emojis For People On The Autism Spectrum

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Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Apr. 7, 2022

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Telecom company Cox Communications (Cox) has unveiled “Project Convey,” an awareness initiative showcasing a video chat prototype that helps people on the autism spectrum make more meaningful connections. The initiative debuts as a tribute to Autism Awareness Month and was developed by180LA for Cox.. 

Using speech and facial recognition technology, the prototype analyzes facial expressions, words, and tone of voice to interpret and assign meaning to video chat interactions, translating them instantly into a single emoji that can be more readily understood by individuals on the spectrum. Like traditional emojis, the prototype uses color and animation to convey emotion. Only this time, the emojis reflect the emotions of the other chat user in real time--conveying intent and meaning that facilitate understanding and appropriate response. In essence, they are a visual closed caption--captions that convey.

“1 in 44 people is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum and with shows such Netflix’s Atypical and more recently, Amazon’s As We See It, autism is very much more in the public consciousness and getting the attention it deserves,” stated Al Moseley, global chairman and CCO, 180LA. “The time has come for initiatives such as Project Convey.”

“Over the last two years, video chat has become a part of our everyday lives. It’s how we stay connected,” stated Mike Bokman, executive creative director, 180LA. “But the truth is, the technology leaves out so many people on the spectrum who have a harder time reading non-verbal cues. That’s why we set out to create technology that makes video chat more inclusive; something that can help people on the autism spectrum process, interpret, and connect.” 

The video prototype and research featured in Project Convey are available in the hope that one day every video chat platform will implement these tools. Cox’s New Growth and Development organization is exploring ways to integrate this technology into Cox Edge to deliver on the commitment to service customers of diverse abilities.

Directed by Paul Hairston via production company Sanctuary, this Project Convey film introduces the prototype.

Credits

Client Cox Communications Agency 180LA Al Moseley, chief creative officer; Mike Bokman, executive creative director; Jason Rappaport, group creative director; Guiga Cunha, Juan Arboleda, associate creative directors; Nick Cade, Akos Papp, creatives; Natalie Parish, executive producer; JP Van Wert, photographer. Production Company Sanctuary Paul Hairston, director; Nic Neary, producer. Tech Production Company Unit 9 Simon Conlin, tech sr. producer. Editorial Cartel Chris Catanach, editor; Gail Butler, editorial producer. Color The Mill Paul Yacono, colorist. Audio Record & Mix Lime Studios Jeff Malen, Loren Silber, mixers.

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