JOHANNESBURG – VODACOM has announced the launch of arguably Africa’s first short message service (SMS) Emergency Service for Deaf, hearing and speech impaired customers.
The SMS service is free and exclusively provided for Vodacom Prepaid,
Contract and Top Up customers who are disadvantaged.
It now provides deaf and hearing impaired customers with the option to
request emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance services by
sending an SMS to 082 112.
Karen Smit, Vodacom Principal Specialist for Specific Needs, said the
development, a first for South Africa and the continent, was a
continuation of Vodacom’s promise to provide peace of mind for deaf and
hearing impaired people.
“We are confident that this initiative will assist in promoting the ability to communicate for Deaf and hearing impaired customers through digital inclusion as they can now request help should they experience an emergency situation.”
Vodacom has been providing accessible products and services to customers
with disabilities since 2004.
The Specific Needs division has received a number of accolades including
the Change Agents and Disability Champion amongst South Africans Award at the Human Rights Summit from the Disability Alliance (SADA).
The award recognises Vodacom for being fully engaged and innovative in the
process of accessible and affordable ICT in South Africa.
Another innovation is the HearZA app, which was developed in partnership
with the University of Pretoria. HearZA is a smartphone-based national
hearing test app enabling early detection of hearing problems.
– CAJ News