Life can change with an app. With the launch of Pedius, Enel becomes the first utility to adopt an app to make the telephone service more accessible to customers and employees with hearing impairment. The app makes it possible to engage in phone calls through speech recognition and synthesis technology using VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.
Pedius, which is available for download free from Play Store and App Store, facilitates communication with the deaf and supports the full integration of company employees by making the phone service entirely accessible. This makes it easier for users to access the company’s information call centre and to take part in Skype conferences.
Thanks to Pedius, Enel reaches another milestone in inclusion. Care for people is central to our Diversity & Inclusion policy: recognising each other’s specific characteristics is the key to creating stronger relationships, increasing a sense of motivation and purpose, activating team energy and improving the quality of our lives and the corporate atmosphere.
How does Pedius work? When calling through the application, the user can decide whether to use their own voice or, alternatively, write a message which Pedius will transcribe in real time and read to their interlocutor. The platform transforms sounds into text and, vice-versa, written messages are reproduced with an artificial voice.
Pedius began as a startup, with the support of Working Capital, a project accelerator based in Rome. Its founder, Lorenzo Di Ciaccio, developed the idea after watching a TV interview with a deaf boy who was unable to call for the emergency services or transport assistance after a road accident. After five months of development and 2,000 test calls, the app was launched in 2013 to immediate success.
After winning the Tim WCap 2013 award, Pedius came first in the Global Social Venture Competition, an international competition set up by the Haas School of Business (at UC Berkeley) to encourage entrepreneurial ideas with a strong social and environmental impact. The competition, which was hosted and coordinated in Italy by Altis - Alta Scuola Impresa e Società (Graduate School of Business and Society), part of the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Milan, brought the startup to the attention of other markets. Today it can be found in nine countries, including the UK and the Republic of Ireland.