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Panasonic's VIERA TVs with Voice Guidance, which facilitates equipment operation by the visually impaired and elderly people, has been honored with the Inclusive Design Award by Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the UK.
Voice Guidance is a text-to-speech feature to facilitate equipment operation by the blind or visually impaired and elderly people. It provides information, such as volume level, channel switching, TV program listing, and programmed recording information, by voice.
In Japan, Panasonic commercialized TVs with Voice Guidance in the spring of 2010. In addition to all VIERA models, this feature has also been incorporated in all of the DIGA Blu-ray Disc recorders and CATV digital set-top box models since the spring of 2011.
This spring, for the first time outside Japan, VIERA TVs with Voice Guidance (30 models from 32- to 65-inch) were introduced into the British and Irish markets. In the process of product development, as well as utilizing the know-how acquired in Japan, Panasonic had the test model examined by RNIB and received detailed advice regarding usability. After market introduction, they have been attracting great deal of attention as "Talking TVs."
Recently, in recognition of this feature that facilitates TV operation by the blind or visually impaired people, Panasonic received a special Inclusive Design Award from RNIB. The award ceremony was held at RNIB headquarters in London on July 12, 2012 with Keith Evans, Managing Director of Panasonic UK (PUK) representing Panasonic Corporation.
From RNIB, a commemorative gift created by blind or visually impaired people was presented, together with a comment, "Voice Guidance is a wonderful feature that greatly facilitates TV operation for the approximately 1.2 million people in the UK with visual impairment. We, at RNIB, feel privileged to have played a part in the development of this feature. We expect that Panasonic will further expand functions and services in the future."
Evans expressed his joy in receiving the award by saying, "We are so honored to receive this award which is a recognition from RNIB of Panasonic's contribution to society " and paid his respects to the people concerned.
Panasonic will continue to promote product development "from a customer's viewpoint" and actively work on creation of universal designs as well.
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