2019 Brand Experience & Activation

SIGNS

Bronze eurobest Award

Case Film

Presentation Image

ClientGERMAN YOUTH ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE WITH HEARING LOSS
Category D01. Touchpoint Technology & Tech-led Brand Experience
TitleSIGNS
Product/ServiceSIGNS SMART TOOL
Entrant MRM//McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Idea Creation MRM//McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Idea Creation 2 McCANN FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Production DROPOUT-FILMS Mainz, GERMANY
Additional Company DAS WERK Frankfurt, GERMANY
Additional Company 2 STUDIO FUNK Frankfurt, GERMANY
Credits
Name Company Position
Sebastian Hardieck McCANN Worldgroup Germany Chief Creative Officer
Martin Biela MRM//McCANN Executive Creative Director, Head of LAB13 EMEA
Dushan Drakalski McCANN Frankfurt Executive Creative Director
Dominik Heinrich MRM//McCANN New York Vice President Global, Product Innovation & LAB13
Mark Hollering MRM//McCANN Director Creative Technology & LAB13, Germany
Chris Endecott MRM//McCANN Senior Copywriter / Concept & LAB13
Jan Portz MRM//McCANN Group Creative Director UX
Sebastian Klein MRM//McCANN IT Project Manager
Jawad Saleem McCANN Frankfurt Senior Art Director
Michael Klaiber MRM//McCANN Senior Motion Designer
Jerome Cholet McCANN Woprldgroup Germany PR & Communications Director
Nico Koehler MRM//McCANN Art Director
Sofia Paz-Vivo MRM//McCANN Trainee LAB13
Irini Sidira MRM//McCANN Junior Art Director
Klaus Flemmer McCANN Worldgroup Germany Head of Production
Michelle Mohring German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss Chairwoman
Lucas Garthe German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss Clerk

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

SIGNS is the first smart voice assistant solution for people with hearing loss worldwide. It’s an innovative smart tool that recognizes and translates sign language in real-time and then communicates directly with a selected voice assistant service (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana). SIGNS is reinventing voice – one gesture at a time. Many people with hearing loss use their hands to speak. And that’s all they need to talk to SIGNS. How's the weather tomorrow? Change lights to blue. Find an Italian restaurant. Just speak, and SIGNS will answer.

background

There are over 2 billion voice-enabled devices across the globe. Voice assistants are changing the way we shop, search, communicate or even live. At least for most people. But what about those without a voice? What about those who cannot hear? According to the World Health Organization around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. Project SIGNS was developed to create awareness for inclusion in the digital age as well as to facilitate access to new technologies.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Voice assistants are changing the way we shop, search, communicate or even live. At least for most people. But what about those without a voice? What about those who cannot hear? Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. With the SIGNS Project, we are creating awareness for digital accessibility and inclusion. SIGNS is the first smart voice assistant solution for people with hearing loss worldwide. It’s an innovative smart tool that recognizes and translates sign language in real-time and then communicates directly with a selected voice assistant service (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Microsoft Cortana). SIGNS is reinventing voice – one gesture at a time. Many people with hearing loss use their hands to speak. And that’s all they need to talk to SIGNS. How's the weather tomorrow? Change lights to blue. Find an Italian restaurant. Just speak, and SIGNS will answer.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Many people with hearing loss use their hands to speak. This is their natural language. Their hands are their voice. However, voice assistants use natural language processing to decipher and react only to audible commands. No sound means no reaction. SIGNS bridges the gap between deaf people and voice assistants, by recognizing gestures to communicate directly with existing voice assistant services (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Microsoft Cortana).

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

SIGNS uses an integrated camera to recognize sign language in real-time and communicates directly with a voice assistant. The system is based on the machine learning framework Google Tensorflow. The result of the pre-trained MobileNet is used to train several KNN classifiers on gestures. The recognition calculates the likelihood of the webcam's recorded gestures and converts into text. The resulting sentences are translated into conventional grammar and sent to a cloud-based service that generates language from it. In other words, the gestures are converted into a data format (text to speech) that the selected voice assistant understands. In this case, shown Amazon Voice Service (AVS). AVS responds with meta and audio data, which in turn is converted from a cloud service to text (text to speech). The result is displayed. SIGNS works on any browser-based operating system that has an integrated camera and can be connected to a voice assistant.

List the results (30% of vote)

Project SIGNS created awareness for inclusion in the digital age as well as facilitated access to new technologies. The response of the deaf community was overwhelming. Just like voice, gestures are an intuitive way of communicating, making it extremely relevant for the industry. Not just for the hearing impaired, but for everyone. People think it is awkward to speak to the invisible in public, that’s why we believe that invisible conversational interactions with the digital world are not limited to voice itself. Further we started a cooperation with the German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss as a partner and extended the usability. Never before a sign language assistant was launched in that quality and with the prospect of becoming a worldwide platform, that can easily be accessible from all over the world, learning new signs and sign languages.