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Telecom Italia and the Italian Union Of The Blind And Visually Impaired present “Tim Mobile Speak”: communication via mobile phone accessible to the visually impaired, free of charge, from this week, nationwide in Italy

11/26/2008 - 12:00 PM

TIM Mobile Speak, an innovative piece of interactive software that makes communication via mobile phone accessible to the blind and visually impaired, is available starting this week at the Group’s “Il Telefonino” stores. Telecom Italia is offering this software free of charge to its customers, once again demonstrating the Group’s ongoing commitment to supporting disadvantaged members of society.

TIM Mobile Speak is a revolutionary new application that enables blind and visually-impaired TIM customers to use all of the functions on their mobile phones via an electronic voice that reads out the display, which users can tailor to their needs and preferences. TIM Mobile Speak is also available with TIM Mobile Magnifier, a virtual magnifying glass that makes it easier for visually-impaired people to access information on mobile phone displays.

This innovative piece of software, developed by the Spanish Code Factory company, leverages technology from Telecom Italia Group company Loquendo (Europe’s voice technology industry leader). It was developed to allow people with visual impairments to be more independent, especially those who cannot read or find it hard to read their mobile phone displays, and who are therefore excluded from using the most useful and most commonly-used mobile phone network services.

TIM Mobile Speak enables the blind and visually impaired to write and read text messages and e-mails, write and receive multimedia messages (MMS), call and modify numbers stored in memory, change the configuration of their cellphone, manage their calendars, write and read text documents, and surf the net. The programme also features clock and alarm functions.

Telecom Italia is offering TIM Mobile Speak and the TIM Mobile Magnifier free of charge to customers who buy a mobile phone that supports the new application – currently, many of the most popular Nokia models, including the E51, E61i, E65, E90, N73, N81 and N95. The Italian Union of the Blind is providing dedicated after-sales care to resolve any problems people may have learning their way around the new application.

Tommaso Daniele, National Chairman of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired, declared: “Until a few years ago, the mere idea of an accessible mobile phone was a pipe dream. Nowadays, not only do such products exist, they work well. Breaking through the inaccessibility barrier for mobile phones is a major step forward in the independence of the blind and visually impaired, and a step forward for equal opportunities too.”

The “Mobile Speak” application, written by the Spanish company Code Factory, uses Loquendo’s expressive synthesized Giulia, Paola and Luca voices.
“Loquendo TTS” is a voice synthesis technology known the world over for its natural-sounding voices and advanced features, such as the ability to convey emotions. Available in 61 voices for 26 languages, Loquendo TTS is widely used around the globe in a great many different environments: in technology that supports people with disabilities (including many of the PC screen reading programs popular with blind people), guiding voices in satnav devices, railway station announcements, and its traditional use, lending a voice to telephone services around the world.

Rome, November 26, 2008