Vodacom has launched three new Vodacom Speaking Phones as part of its drive to make cellular communication accessible to people with specific needs, specifically those who are blind or partially sighted.
“Vodacom is proud to be the first operator in South Africa to increase accessibility to cellular communication products and services in line with our Specific Needs Initiative launched in 2004,” says Dot Field, chief communications officer of the Vodacom Group.
Text-to-speech software is loaded onto the Vodacom Speaking Phones that converts the information displayed on the cellphone screen to speech, including text messages and contacts. This software also enables the user to check other information, including battery life and signal strength.
Speaking phones are available on Vodacom Contract, Top Up and Prepaid packages and are available at participating Vodacom approved outlets.
“Vodacom Speaking Phone users will not pay extra for the text-to-speech software as Vodacom has subsidised this cost,” says Field.
The focus of the Specific Needs Initiative is accessibility: access to the company, access to information and access to Vodacom’s products and services for all.
Karen Smit, senior specialist for specific needs and employment equity at Vodacom Group, and a disabled Vodacom employee herself, highlights the need for such products and services within the cellular industry.
“We are proud to be the pioneers of this service in South Africa, and on the continent as a whole."