The call center that also listens to those who can’t hear

A beautiful story of inclusion and technology at the service of people, which links ancient Rome to an innovative startup.
Monica is in her seventh month of pregnancy and is relaxing while reading a book when she feels a pain. Anyone’s first instinct would be to pick up the telephone and call for help. Anyone but Monica’s. Because Monica is deaf. 
“In that period I was participating in the test for the development of a new app, designed precisely to help deaf people use the telephone. So I used it, and it was my saving grace: I called the emergency services and in a few minutes a doctor arrived on my doorstep”.

The app is called Pedius and it was developed by a young Italian startup.

The idea was conceived almost by chance.” Lorenzo Di Ciaccio, founder di Pedius, explains. “I watched a TV program about a deaf boy who was unable to call the emergency services after a road accident. I couldn’t believe that, despite all the technology available today, a tool that allowed deaf people make telephone calls still didn’t exist. So, being an IT consultant, I began thinking about how I could invent one.

Lorenzo Di Ciaccio, founder of Pedius

Using voice synthesis technology, the Pedius app allows deaf people to make phone calls in a simple way: by writing. All the user has to do is send a message using the Pedius chat function: the text is sent to the recipient and read by an artificial voice. Vice versa, when the other party talks on the phone at the other end, their words are instantly transformed into written text which is displayed on the deaf person’s device. Today the Pedius app can be downloaded free of charge from Play Store and App Store. Thanks to the tens of companies who use the app at special rates, its users can also access the services of many call centers.

“Monica sent our team a beautiful email to thank us. We framed it and years later it still hangs in our office to remind us of the value of the work we are doing and how we can change people’s lives.” continues Lorenzo.

Their first meeting with Acea was with the Innovation team. “Here at Acea we strongly believe in the value of inclusion. And we strive to put it into practice in the services we offer our customers”. explains Antonio Scarnera of the Innovation team. “The first step in this direction was when we decided to send our bills in Braille to blind customers: a new idea which met with such widespread approval that we decided to push forward with these initiatives and strive to offer each one of our customers the right to access our customer care services."

All deaf people who are customers of Acea for the free market can contact the call center using Pedius to request assistance, also benefiting from a priority line with a dedicated queue.

Acea and the world of startups

With a view to possible future collaborations, Acea is active in the world of startups.
Additionally, the Group’s scouting channel for new partnerships is alway active, thanks to the continuous collaborations with various entities of the ecosystem such as Open Italy, Startup Europe Partnership, Talent Garden and Milan Polytechnic University.
To date, the Acea Group has already activated various projects and experimentations.

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