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Home > India > Business > Budget 2008-09 > Business Headline > Report

BPO: New tech to ferry staff safely

BS Reporter in Chennai/ Bangalore | February 22, 2008 12:28 IST

The brickbats received by the BPO industry during the last three years for poor employee-safety has seen a positive spin: It has triggered technological innovations.

Chennai-based LatticeBridge Infotech (LBIT), a company which is into developing automatic speech recognition applications, has developed 'Webtra XTend' - a technology geared to scaling up collaborative technology for IT/ITeSPO sector. 

"Unlike the GPS technology which tracks the vehicles that ferry BPO employees, Webtra XTend tracks the employees. It uses SMS, voice and hybrid messaging to create a near real-time information system that monitors the employee transit events between workplace and residence without any human intervention," said S S Rajan, chief sales and strategy officer, LatticeBridge. 

The technology is being tried on a pilot basis in three BPOs, two in Chennai and one in Bangalore. On the working of the technology, Rajan explained: "When a BPO vehicle leaves office, the Webtra server sends an automated message to each of the employees who will be picked up. The message contains the vehicle number, the colour of the vehicle, the driver's name and the pick-up time.

When the vehicle reaches the pick-up point, the driver receives a confirmation call from the central server to inquire if he has reached. The employee who boards the vehicle also receives a message asking if she has boarded the vehicle. This routine continues at all pickup points.

If the server fails to receive a boarding confirmation from an employee, it triggers an alert to the travel desk head in the company. Then the company's policies are activated at that point." According to Rajan, Webtra XTend project was conceived in the backdrop of the brickbats the BPO sector received following the rape and murder of HP Global Soft employee Pratibha Srikantamurthy by a taxi driver in Bangalore on December 13, 2005.

Many untoward incidents happen everyday in the BPO sector and they go unreported for various reasons. Recently, a Wipro [Get Quote] BPO staffer was murdered in Pune by her car driver and his friend.

"These incidents can be minimised by Webtra as the focus is on the employees during the transit time," Rajan maintained. Webtra's cost per employee per month is around Rs 300 to Rs 500. On an average, a BPO company spends Rs 3,500 per month on each of its employee's travel logistics. Webtra will minimise costs," Rajan added.

Moreover, the technology also clocks the travel and waiting time of the vehicle, checking speeding by the BPO cabs, he maintained.

 BPO rape case: Maximum fine, Rs 1,000

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