HanPHONE leads the way in digital inclusion for visually impaired

(Hong Kong, 15 December 2008) KanHan Technologies Limited (KanHan) has begun supporting the cause of building a digital inclusive society for visually impaired person (VIP) by producing a screen reader - Chinese JAWS for the computer users since 2002. For VIP with limited access to computer or with little knowledge on computer, KanHan developed and has been maintaining for the Hong Kong Society for the Blind (HKSB) the world's first digital library system for over 5 years using telephone as the primary access medium. This year, developing on top of the existing system, KanHan has further enhanced the digital service by rolling out a brand new function: "Email-2-Voice" (Email2Voice). The new function enables HKSB members to listen to emails and reply by voice recording using only a telephone or mobile phone. No computer is needed.

Building on HanPHONE technology with PHP and JAVA programming, Email2Voice system is an extension to the existing telephone call-flow of HKSB Digital Library System. With single sign-on to send and receive email, HKSB's members can simply access the digital library system to enjoy the function.

HanPHONE snapshot

The stated system supports POP3 mail including file attachment with text content converted into Cantonese, Putonghua and English using Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology. User can reply to sender by simply recording a voice message as attachment, a most convenient way for VIP with limited computer knowledge in using email to communicate with outside world. The system also provides HKSB an administrative interface to manage user accounts, change service provider and import user address book.

The system has been thoroughly tested by HKSB and service will be launched in early 2009. The successful development of the Email2voice function moves one step further in building a digital inclusive society for visually impaired person. Email2Voice is the first operational service of this kind launched in Hong Kong which opens up possibility for users accessing to their commercially available mail box as if using voice mail in their mobile phones.