Fast Company

Audiopoint: Hearing the Internet

Living without the Internet is a difficult task in this day and age. Accessibility to online media, however, has become easier for those with auditory and visual disabilities. Audiopoint, a voice data solutions enterprise, has been in the business of text-to-voice services since 1998. The reason it’s still around is simple: it listens to its clients and gives them what they want.

The D.C.-based company is gearing up to release version 1.5 of Voice Terminal Service (VTS), a system provides instant access to user-defined Internet content in real time over any phone. With access to multiple applications, including email clients and Google Calendar, company executives hope the service can net a wider-audience. “It’s not just for [the] blind, but also for [the] elderly who aren’t tech savvy and people who aren’t tied to a keyboard all day,” says Brian Lichorowic, CEO of Audiopoint. There is no software to install, subscribers need only to dial-in.

Included within VTS is Notifier, a proactive and reactive broadcast system that securely pushes important information to up to 5,000 individual recipients with single-point activation and delivery authentication. “Instead of just having a dumb alert coming to your phone saying you have an email, [the system] will ask you to login, and allows you to work the alert,” Lichorowic says, adding that a user can add the information to a calendar or forward the alert in an email to someone else.

Notifier messages can be based on keyword, weather or even medical alerts. In a partnership with Informedix, a medical adherence company, users can get reminder alerts to take medications or a phone call from the company asking how they feel that day. Should something be wrong, the call can immediately be forwarded to emergency services.

Audiopoint’s products are currently in English as well as some accessibility in French. VTS will soon come be available in Spanish, and possibly Greek. Lichorowic adds that he wants to make newspaper feeds involved as well. “It’s becoming voice-enabled OS, allowing the Internet to be available to anyone anywhere without a keyboard.”

While many other voice-to-text operations have been bought by larger companies or defaulted onto other products, Lichorowic says his company has survived because they continually evolve based on user feedback. In a partnership with Earthlink voice services, developers have brought easier access to email via phone, and more applications, after getting thousands of emails about what the clientele needed. He adds that when getting feedback, he finds that respondents “just hear better” on what needs to change. He says they often tell him, “We use that sense differently from you.”

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