With the launch of Pedius, our energy world moves increasingly closer to the deaf: the app means it’s possible to make phone calls using speech recognition and synthesis technology. In so doing, Enel breaks through another barrier to inclusion: we are the first company in our sector to adopt this type of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.
Pedius, which is available for download free from Play Store and App Store, fulfils two aims: to facilitate communication with the deaf and to support the full integration of company employees who are deaf or hard of hearing. By making the phone service entirely accessible, it facilitates access to the company’s information call centre and participation in Skype conferences. The telephone service for Enel Energia, the Enel Group company operating on the free market, also becomes fully accessible with the introduction of Pedius, and intermediaries are no longer required.
How does it work? When calling through the application, users can decide whether to use their own voice or, alternatively, to 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 contest 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. In Italy, an agreement was signed with the Protezione Civile in Rome (the National Service of Civic Protection) so that deaf people can connect with their central operations centre and communicate situations at risk.
Thanks to the introduction of this app into Enel, the world of electrical and gas energy is now closer to everyone.
More information is available at the Enel Energia toll-free number 800 900 860, Mondays to Sundays, from 7 am to 10 pm (including days before holidays). Customer service is not available on national holidays.