It may seem hard to believe, but in today’s technological world there are currently no off-the-shelf landline phones available with voice-activated dialing capability. This makes it difficult for some blind people to call from a regular phone.
Back in the early 2000’s, Mike came up with the idea of dialing from a home phone by using your voice, and in 2007 the Voice Activated Telephone Dialler was on the market. Jump forward to today, and the dialler is in use in English speaking countries all over the world.
The dialler is a small box that plugs between home phones and the BT wall socket. It comes with sophisticated voice recognition technology, and once installed, all functions are voiced, including the initial storing of contact names.
“That’s the beauty of it, the simplicity. Just pick up the handset and when you hear “name to dial, please”, say the person’s name and the number rings. There’s nothing to it.”
It can be used in conjunction with emergency call systems and works with hands-free speaker phones as well.
“I have a customer with no arms who is able to use the dialler by just nudging the ‘off hook’ button on his speakerphone with his shoulder,” says Mike.
And it’s particularly useful for people living with dexterity issues, as Mike explains.
“Once the dialler is loaded with the names and numbers of the people you phone frequently (up to 60 of them), you never need to thumb through your address-book to look up their number nor press the keys on your telephone keypad to call them again.”
The user guide comes with very detailed instructions (and pictures) but for any problems, Mike’s team are on hand to help. In fact, customers can contact Mike to try out the dialler before buying to make sure it’s a good fit.
The freedom of being able to dial a telephone without having to see and press the buttons has given the elderly and people with vision impairment, memory or mobility issues more independence and confidence. And crucially, the ability to easily stay in touch with loved ones.
But Mike’s not done working on new innovations, the first, fully voice activated landline telephone.