What is Aselo?
The Aselo software is an open-source modern contact center platform that unifies the communications work of global child helplines, based on Twilio Flex technology. Aselo will allow children and youth to reach out to helplines using their preferred communications channel rather than just traditional toll-free helpline numbers. Children will have far more access points to reach the help they need including voice, webchat, SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Counselors will have a single-pane interface for all contacts, regardless of channel, including integrated data entry.
What is the connection between Aselo and Child Helpline International?
Aselo is being created in partnership with Child Helpline International (CHI) and its more than 160 members in nearly 140 countries. The project was instigated by Jeroo Billimoria, the founder of CHI and CEO of the One Family Foundation. As part of our partnership, Aselo implements the new CHI Data Framework, which is designed to make it easier to aggregate data on the global experience of children for advocacy by helplines and CHI to influence policy and funding.
Does Aselo provide counseling services?
No. We provide the software and tools necessary for helplines to be successful, while the helplines themselves handle all conversations and counseling services.
How do helpline staff access Aselo?
Aselo is a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud-based platform, which means counselors only need an internet connection and a computer to log in. Counselors can use Aselo from the office and can also access Aselo from their home or other remote locations as long as they can access the internet. Counselors will have the same interface at home as they do in the office.
In what countries is Aselo available?
Aselo can operate anywhere in the world if the technical requirements are met (see below). Text-based social media channels are widely available for Aselo in the great majority of countries. Providing voice and SMS channels will involve working with local telecom providers.
How does Aselo handle varying operating requirements of different helplines?
Aselo is designed to be highly customizable to address the varying needs and operating procedures of the different helplines adopting the platform. Organizations will be able to customize the data entry fields they are capturing, dropdown values and validation requirements, the channels they choose to operate, any automated messages that are sent to children, as well as set up custom queuing and skills-based routing specific to their needs. Aselo has also been architected to accommodate easy localization so that counselors have a user interface in their native language.
What are the technical requirements for using Aselo?
Aselo has the following minimum computer hardware and software requirements:
- CPU: 1Ghz
- RAM: 1024Mb
- Screen resolution: 1024×768
- Operating system: Windows 7 and 10, MacOS, or Linux Ubuntu/Mint 64bit
- Up-to-date version of Google Chrome browser
- Minimum recommended internet bandwidth of 200 kb/s
What will Aselo cost?
The Aselo software is available at no charge under an open-source license. However, Aselo is a cloud solution built on top of the Twilio Flex and Amazon Web Services platforms, which do have costs associated with them. A helpline’s cloud costs depend on the number of users they have as well as the volume of contacts they are handling.
We are expecting child helplines in high-income countries to pay these costs in full, and to subsidize the costs of child helplines in lower-income countries mainly with donor funding.
Who is testing Aselo right now?
Aselo was co-created in partnership with ten child helplines, who volunteered their time to test Aselo as it was developed from late 2019 through early 2021. Two of those child helplines have already committed to adopting Aselo as their contact center in the first half of 2021.
How can I get a demo of Aselo?
If you are with a helpline and would like a demonstration of Aselo, please contact us at email@example.com.
What channels are available?
Aselo is an omnichannel contact center platform that integrates contacts from voice, SMS, webchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and shortly Twitter, into one single interface.
What types of call center capabilities are included?
Aselo includes sophisticated call center capabilities including:
- Extensive queuing controls
- Skills/attribute-based routing
- Transferring of both voice and text-based contacts
- Ability to handle multiple text-based contacts at once
- Interactive voice and text response
- Real-time queue monitoring
- Real-time supervisory monitoring of live voice calls and text-based contacts
- Voice recording and text transcripts
Does Aselo include any data reporting capabilities?
Aselo provides a suite of reports to help manage your call center, including evaluating your performance and program trends. As part of the solution, helplines have the option to create their own custom metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs), reports, and dashboards. Aselo also provides the ability to export data so that it can be used in the data analysis program of your choice. Aselo defaults to using Child Helpline International’s new data framework, although helplines can customize categories to meet their programmatic needs or donor requirements.
Does Aselo provide case management capabilities?
Aselo provides basic case management capabilities for helplines that want to use this optional module. It allows helplines to group together all information about a particular child including their contacts to the helpline, information about their household, perpetrators, incidents, referrals, and summary information. Aselo provides the ability to track cases through different status phases and specify follow-up dates so that children do not fall through the cracks.
Are contacts to the helpline anonymous in Aselo?
Aselo can be customized so that contacts can be anonymous or not. It is at the discretion of the helpline.
Does Aselo operate with any chatbots?
Aselo currently offers an optional and customizable “pre-survey” chatbot to capture information before connecting a child with a counselor. We anticipate implementing a post-survey sometime in the future that could be used for measuring customer satisfaction.
What happens in cases of internet and/or power outages?
When there are power or internet outages, counselors will not be able to take conversations through Aselo. However, Aselo supports inbound telephone call routing with failover solutions (for example, automatically rerouting to a regular desk phone, automatic messaging, voicemail, routing calls to a second call center, and/or to mobile phones).
Aselo also has a manual mode so that any data captured during a power outage can be entered when power or an internet connection is restored. Because Aselo is cloud-based, it is also possible to use it from other locations which have data connections when the main contact center is offline.
How does Aselo deal with reports of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)?
Our goal is to support helplines who adopt Aselo with tools to assist with the reporting of CSAM in compliance with local practice and applicable regulation. For example, we can integrate CSAM reporting directly into the Aselo counselor interface to streamline case reporting to national portals and local law enforcement, or run a chatbot that is integrated with national reporting portals to enable the user to automatically report CSAM.
What other features are planned for Aselo?
We have built Aselo in active conversations with our child helpline partners who are the main force behind our tech roadmap. We have an extensive list of new features we would like to build into Aselo, all focused on assisting helplines to do a better job for the world’s children. Donors who would like to fund these new features are encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Onboarding, Training, and Support
What level of operational and technical commitment is needed to adopt Aselo?
There is no technical development required from the helpline to use Aselo, as the Tech Matters’ team will handle configuration and set up. Our team will work closely with the helpline to understand and define any customization requirements as well as migrate any existing services to Aselo.
Can Aselo support short codes and migrating our existing number(s)?
In general, we expect Aselo to implement short codes for voice numbers, and SMS when possible, in each country where short codes are in use (such as 116 in Africa or 116111 in Europe). We also expect to route the relevant inbound numbers for each helpline. These routing efforts require cooperation with the relevant telecommunication companies in each adopting country.
What type of training is available for Aselo?
Counselor training materials are available on how to use Aselo. These materials provide step-by-step instructions on how to navigate Aselo and perform the tasks counselors need to do as part of assisting children and collecting the right data about these interactions. We additionally provide supervisor documentation that covers the features to help supervisors monitor helpline operations, such as queue monitoring and real-time counselor conversation monitoring.
What level of support is provided?
Technical support is currently available Monday-Friday 15 hours a day at email@example.com, thanks to our current team based in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. We also run 24/7 monitoring and alerts systems that notify our team in case of any major incidents or system outages that occur outside of our covered hours.
Data Privacy and Security
How do you secure children’s data?
Tech Matters has implemented security and privacy according to industry best practices, which include such items as:
- Data encrypted at rest and in transit
- Multi-factor authentication required for our staff
- External audits by third-party firms to test Aselo for vulnerabilities
- Access to caller data by Aselo staff restricted and logged
- Modern ‘defense-in-depth’ architecture to provide multiple layers of security to protect caller data
Is Aselo GDPR compliant?
Tech Matters is currently testing Aselo with four European child helplines, using simulated data. We have designed Aselo for GDPR compliance, and have already engaged the Brussels office of a prominent international law firm, to advise us on compliance. We expect that we will deploy Aselo with a European helpline and reach GDPR compliance by early 2022.
Does Child Helpline International, donors, NGOs, companies and/or governments have access to our data without our permission?
Data stored in the Aselo platform is maintained by Tech Matters solely for the benefit of each child helpline and will not be released to anyone without their consent. Notwithstanding this commitment, Tech Matters may be required to comply with valid government legal demands for access.
If we choose to share data with Child Helpline International, does Aselo provide the means to do that?
Tech Matters has designed Aselo to make it very easy for helplines using Aselo to export the reports they need to provide the data requested by CHI. We are happy to help with this process, which should be driven by each helpline.
Where is my data hosted?
Aselo is built on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for both the Twilio Flex technology and data storage. All data is currently hosted in AWS data centers in the United States.
Is my data backed up?
Yes. Automatic backup is part of the benefits of using a cloud solution like Aselo.
Management and Direction Questions
Who owns Aselo?
The Aselo software is provided under an open-source license, which means that the rights of ownership are generally available to everybody, and every organization, in the world. Tech Matters does not charge for access to the Aselo source code, however, Aselo is built on the Twilio Flex and AWS platforms which do have costs associated with them. The source code of Aselo is published on GitHub, and anyone is free to download and modify Aselo for their own use without the need to get permission or pay a license fee.
Who funds Aselo?
The start-up phase of the Aselo project has been supported by philanthropic donors, including Child Helpline International, the End Violence Fund, Twilio.org, Facebook, the Jenesis Group, and Schmidt Futures.
Who operates Aselo?
The Aselo platform will be operated for multiple child helplines by Tech Matters, the Aselo developer. That model will spread the effort of 24/7 technical support across multiple countries. However, since all of the Aselo software is provided under an open-source license and is free to all, anyone else is also able to operate an online platform using the Aselo software.
What is your contingency plan if Aselo loses funding?
The Aselo software would continue to be available under the open-source license, and any other group (or groups) could continue to maintain the software without interruption. Tech Matters has also committed to a smooth transition, including reasonable notice to all users and transferal of the operation of each Aselo platform to a vendor specified by our helpline users, if they have identified a group willing to operate the cloud-based service. However, Tech Matters intends to be operating Aselo over a very long time period (at least ten years) and has an excellent track record of operating nonprofit software projects over the long term.
Aselo Software Licensing
What open source license will be used for Aselo?
The license for the portions of the Aselo software created by Tech Matters will be the Affero General Public License, version 3. Aselo may take advantage of software created by other groups, and these components are covered by the licenses chosen by their developers, which may be different.
How do I get access to the Aselo software to do my own software development?
The Aselo software is maintained in a publicly available repository on GitHub.