From time to time (quite regularly actually!) we are approached by companies, both large and small and private individuals, with ideas for new products. We are always interested, but from experience, we know that many wont see production or they are a nice idea that has limited use or commercial viability. So, when we were approached by Adam at Speaksee, we adopted our usual approach of polite interest with a healthy dose of scepticism - we were then delighted to be introduced to an excellent extremely well designed product, one which is well thought through and we can see has the potential to make a really positive difference to many people in a variety of situations. This was the rare occasion when our expectations were certainly exceeded!!
The product we were introduced to is the Speaksee Microphone Kit: the first microphone system specifically designed to create live subtitles for group conversations. Speaksee converts speech to text in real time using speech recognition based on artificial intelligence (it's very clever!).
With Speaksee, deaf and hard of hearing people can participate effectively in group conversations. During an interaction, subtitles are displayed in different coloured speech bubbles for each participant via the Speaksee app, which can be used on various devices. The small & sophisticated microphones eliminate background noise ensuring speech recognition is very accurate.
Speaksee can also be used as a dynamic translation device allowing users to accurately translate live speech into more than 40 languages.
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel / Unsplash
At work, Speaksee can be used in meetings and presentations become much more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. It offers employers the chance to improve inclusivity throughout their organisation.
Photo by Rodeo Project Management Software / Unsplash
Speaksee offers a solution to university students to subtitle lectures or within smaller conversations such as tutor groups, study sessions or house meetings. All transcriptions can be saved into text files providing an accurate record of the interaction, ideal for note taking.
To make life a little easier, in the UK, Speaksee has been approved by both the DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance) and Access to Work funding bodies.
But - the unique situation with Speaksee, which made a big diference to our confidence with the product is the personal experience of their UK Business Development Manager, Adam Lee - this is what Adam had to say ....
"My wife lost her hearing just after graduating university. We have been together 25 years and I understand first-hand how incredibly difficult it can be for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to follow group conversations. Hearing loss can make you feel very isolated and disconnected, even with close friends and family, and can have a big impact on your mental wellbeing. I am immensely proud that we have officially launched the Speaksee Microphone Kit in the UK, a real solution that can be used to improve so many difficult situations faced by deaf people."
Five years ago, Jari Hazelebach, CEO, and partner Marcel van der Ven started developing Speaksee. In 2018, they launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop the product into what it is today. Hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing people across Europe are already benefitting from using the Speaksee in their everyday lives.
Photo by Ifeoluwa A. / Unsplash
Hazelebach states: "Drawing on years of experience, we have been able to further improve Speaksee into a product that is ready to make a big difference. Many moving stories, such as an elderly gentleman, who previously could only communicate with his family via writing on a whiteboard and can now be involved in everything again with Speaksee, inspire us to keep improving our products and innovations. I look forward to helping as many deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide to participate fully in conversations by helping them to see what they cannot hear."
Photo by Paul Hanaoka / Unsplash
As Connevans are renouned as the 'go to' supplier of equipment for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, we are approached often with new products and ideas, it takes a lot to impress us - Speaksee certainly has.
Speaksee isn't available from Connevans, yet, but in the meantime, click here to go to their web site, Adam will be very pleased to hear from you, perhaps tell him Connevans sent you !!