Changes to Free Aira-sponsored Minutes – December 2022
Q: Why is Aira making these changes?
A: Our number one goal is to build a sustainable visual interpreting accommodation service to ensure that Aira remains on solid financial footing despite increasing costs, and economic uncertainty. Whether a company operates as a non-profit, or for-profit company all operational expenses require funding. As a result Aira has evaluated its investments in internal and external programs including our direct funding of “free” Aira-sponsored programs.
Q: What has changed about Job Seeker and why?
A: We are no longer supporting an unlimited number of daily calls. Job Seeker is now limited to one call per day of up to thirty minutes in length.
Q; What has changed about Guest 5MF and why?
A: As of December 5, 2022, Guests will be able to call an Aira Agent for five minutes, at no cost, once every 48 hours.
Q: What has changed about Subscriber 5MF and why?
A: As of December 5, 2022, Paid Subscribers will be able to call an Aira Agent for five minutes, at no cost, once every 12 hours.
Q: For paid subscriptions where there is a secondary user (shared plans), what with their 5MF benefit be?
A: Secondary Users will receive the same benefit as the Primary User, one 5-minute call every 12 hours.
Q: Why doesn’t Aira just hire more Agents to avoid this and support all calls?
A: Given the infrequent and unpredictable nature of these periods of high usage, it is impractical and not sustainable to staff at levels to meet all calls.
Q: What does this mean for Explorers without paid subscriptions who only use the Guest access, 5-minute free calls?
A: As an organization, Aira believes universal access to visual information is a right. We remain steadfastly committed to providing some form of Guest access as part of our business model. When demand for Agents is high, it will not be possible to make 5-minute free calls or Aira-sponsored program calls.
Q: How will I know when it is possible to make Guest calls or Aira-sponsored program calls again?
A: Aira uses historical data and predictive analytics to plan for call volume, the nature of our service is highly personal and therefore patterns of use constantly change. The only way to know is to attempt to make a call and then if you receive indication that agents are busy, we recommend waiting a few minutes before trying again.
Q: What, if anything, changes if I have a paid subscription?
A: With Priority Connect, during periods of peak demand, calls that may have previously gone unanswered are more likely to be answered.
Q: Is having a paid subscription a requirement to work with an Agent?
A: There are four ways for you to work with an Aira Agent – as a Guest, as a paid subscriber, through an Aira-sponsored program or through an Aira Access Partner. With Priority Connect, the only change is that during peak demand, Guest calls and Aira-sponsored program calls may be limited.
Q: I am a user on a shared account, how does this affect my calls?
A: Shared accounts are paid usage, all users on a shared account are considered paid subscribers and will be prioritized.
Q: As an Explorer with a paid subscription, I make use of my 5-minute free calls. Will those calls be prioritized?
A: Calls from paid subscribers are prioritized. If a paid subscriber has any 5-minute free available, it will be used first, followed immediately by your minutes, for calls in excess of 5 minutes.
Q: If I use a free Guest account and I am in a location that is part of the Aira Access Network such as Starbucks, will I need to use the Access Offers tab?
A: No, if you are in an Access location then the call will be prioritized even during periods of peak demand.
Q: I use Aira at a physical site that should automatically be identified by Aira as an Access location, but when I call I have to ask the Agent to apply the offer. Will I still be able to call during peak demand periods and get the offer?
A: We suggest you contact Aira Customer Care (North America 1-800-835-1934) and share the situation so they can adjust the physical border of the offer area to ensure you can make calls in this location even during peak demand.
Q: I am using credit minutes and not a plan, how will I be affected?
A: Credit minutes are prioritized similarly to a paid subscriber plan.
Q: I often call and ask the Agent to invoke an Access Partner offer? How will this be handled?
A: Today, Explorers have the choice to call an Aira Agent using the main call button in-app and after connecting, ask the Agent to invoke the desired offer. Going forward, we encourage Explorers to make use of the Access Tab in the app to find and invoke virtual offers such as Target Online. This small change in behavior will help ensure your call is prioritized.
Q: What message will an Explorer receive if they try to make a call and are deprioritized?
A: Explorers will receive the following message in-app: Unfortunately, Aira is experiencing unusually high call volume and Priority Connect conditions prevent us from answering your call. Please try again later.
Q: I am not in a position to pay. What are my options?
A: Aira believes universal access to visual information is a right. We remain steadfastly committed to providing some form of Guest access as part of our business model.
During times when demand for Agents is high, it will not be possible to make 5-minute free calls or Aira-sponsored program calls. Guest access continues to be one of four ways to connect with an Aira Agent, availability is influenced by overall demand.
Some Guest Explorers may want to consider upgrading to an entry level paid plan. We invite you to call our Customer Care team (North America 1-800-835-1934) to discuss options.
Q: What is Aira?
A: Aira provides on-demand, remote visual interpretation services for the blind and low vision community. Download the app, press a button and your phone’s camera streams a live video to one of our highly screened Aira Agents.
Q: How does Aira work on a campus?
A: Like an invisible fence around the perimeter of your campus, Aira creates a geofence that outlines the zones where you want to provide free Aira usage. Anyone with the Aira app can use the service for free once inside the campus. We don’t require anything from your campus IT organization to launch or run the service.
Q: Are students using Aira for social distancing on campus?
A: Yes, Agents undergo intensive training on giving directions to move through space. They can tell distances via the phone camera and relate them to the person with blindness/low vision. Please watch this video to learn more about how Aira Agents are being used by the blind and low vision community.
Q: Who are Aira Agents?
A: Aira Agents are certified and trained by Aira and provide immediate information to our users to accomplish any task as a team. They work from home, pass a background check, sign a non-disclosure agreement and go through extensive training on orientation and mobility. They are not a replacement for a guide dog or a white cane but rather an additional feed of visual information. From navigating around campus to finding an open seat in the classroom, there is no task too big or too small for calling an Aira Agent.
Q: What resources are required to manage?
A: To offer Aira on your campus or for your remote students as an accommodation, you simply complete our agreement and pay the subscription fee. Once the paperwork is filed, you send us a list of students and/or campus locations that you want covered. We create the accounts and geofences and that’s it. We’ll send you a monthly report of usage and handle everything else. Some schools create web pages to announce the availability.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Like most software, Aira is sold as a single university license where we provide unlimited use during a set time. Schools pay via a credit card or purchase order and can purchase in terms of up to three years. Some schools have used Cares Act dollars as they prepare for return to campus plans while others have this as a standard accommodation. Listen to this podcast about how an administrator and 2 different students discuss how they think about Aira on their campus.
Q: What are Aira’s Operation Hours?
A: Our Aira agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Visit these Office of Students with Disabilities Resource Pages to see how other colleges and universities are providing the Aira service for their blind and low vision students.
Talk with us
While our initial focus is the blind and low vision community, if you think you’d benefit from live human remote assistance, we’d love to talk with you.