Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) Endorses ScanSoft SpeechPAK TALKS

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - ScanSoft, Inc. and the RNIB announced that the RNIB has signed an extended agreement to offer ScanSoft® SpeechPAK TALKS™ to individuals who are blind or visually impaired throughout the United Kingdom.

There are nearly 2 million people in the UK with sight problems and every day in the UK another 100 people start to lose their sight. SpeechPAK TALKS directly addresses the growing concern by providing a "talking phone" that enables individuals to have full access to features and information on their mobile phones - from short text messages to caller ID read aloud to them. Service providers, including Cingular, Vodafone, Orange and Telecom Italia, and a global network of assistive technology dealers currently market and offer SpeechPAK TALKS to customers across the globe.

SpeechPAK TALKS provides users with the information they need, alerting them to messages such as email, text messages and incoming calls, and provides a unique caller ID function that enables users to learn who is calling without picking up the phone. Typical caller ID features are visually based, and force the blind or low-vision caller to answer the phone to learn who is calling. With SpeechPAK TALKS, the caller's identity is read aloud to the user. In addition, speech-enabled access to practical features, such as battery and signal strength, ensures that users can maintain the basic functions of the telephone.

"ScanSoft is addressing a crucial need with SpeechPAK TALKS, as most mobile phones are not designed to be entirely inclusive to the blind and low-vision community," said Steve Tyler, strategic manager digital technology, RNIB. "We are extremely impressed with the quality, performance and features provided with the SpeechPAK TALKS application, and see this as an important application for every blind and low-vision mobile phone user."

SpeechPAK TALKS provides a host of features designed to make mobile phones more accessible, and to directly meet the needs of the blind and low-vision community or provide accessibility to those who simply wish to become more productive through hands-free access to important information. With SpeechPAK TALKS, users can:

  • Hear caller ID information and check logs of incoming and outgoing calls 
  • Write and listen to emails, text messages and notes
  • Manage contact information and dial phone numbers from the directory
  • Use the appointment calendar
  • Edit and add contacts, settings and profiles according to their personal preferences
  • Use the calculator, alarm clock and other important tools
  • Hear practical information about the battery level, network and signal strength

RNIB's objective is to ensure that mainstream distribution channels are utilized to deliver mobile technology to visually impaired and blind users. It will concentrate on business to business relationships with the mobile industry in order to ensure customers get good service, a good price and the product they want when they want it. Over the next two months agreements are being put in place alongside ones that already exist such as RNIB's partnership with Vodafone.


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