Amazon has launched a new voice assistant command in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Echo users can now say “Alexa, call RNIB helpline” to speak to an RNIB advisor during the helpline’s opening hours.
The helpline offers people with sight loss – and those who support them – advice on employment, education and technology, as well as peer support and counselling services and practical assistance when it comes to accessing information, adapting your home and getting around.
“This is the next step in our collaboration with the RNIB, as part of our ongoing commitment to developing Alexa’s accessibility features”, said Alexa UK country manager Dennis Stansbury.
“The new ‘Alexa Call RNIB Helpline’ calling feature is another great way of helping our blind and partially sighted customers to feel more independent and connected by simply using voice commands”.
Amazon recently launched the Accessibility Hub to highlight more of its accessibility features, with categories including hearing, mobility, speech and vision.
Key features include Show & Tell, which lets Echo Show users hold common objects up to their smart speaker’s camera to identify them, and Speak Slower/Faster, which allows hearing impaired users to adjust the speed of Alexa’s speech to match that of their other devices.
The Accessibility Hub also includes the Screen Magnifier feature to zoom in and out for improved visibility, Alexa App Theming to adjust colour contrast and text scaling in different light environments, and the VoiceView Screen Reader which enables gestures such as swiping on Echos with displays.
“Having Alexa in the home allows me to go about my day without facing as many barriers as I usually do”, said disability rights campaigner and motivational speaker Dr Amit Patel.
“The Accessibility Hub hosts information on a range of features on Alexa such as Show & Tell and the new RNIB Helpline service which let me live more independently. I can control my home, connect with loves ones and identify hard to recognise objects all through my Echo device using my voice”.
To try out the new feature, you can call the RNIB helpline Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 8pm or Saturday from 9am to 1pm.
For more on Amazon’s smart speakers, make sure to check out our reviews of the Amazon Echo (4th Generation), the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Generation), as well as our guides to the best Amazon Echo speaker and Google Home vs Amazon Echo.