Endesa establishes a customer service channel for the hard of hearing

Published on Tuesday, 4 June 2019

With the launch of Pedius, Endesa has become the first electricity provider to set up a telephone customer service channel that is completely accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. The application lets customers make phone calls using voice recognition and text-to-speech, with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This been made possible by Endesa’s active commitment to inclusive policies and promoting diversity.

Pedius, which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and the App Store, helps the deaf and hard of hearing to communicate, and encourages our employees to fully integrate into the company, making the telephone service available to them, providing them with access to the company’s call centre to talk to an agent and resolve any issues they have, any procedures they need to complete, quickly and efficiently.

Endesa’s diversity and inclusion policy, which is shared by the whole of the Enel Group, is based on recognising the specific characteristics of each individual; this is key to establishing a deeper relationship with other people and heightening the energy within the teams, thus improving quality of life. In concrete terms, Enel's Diversity & Inclusion Policy focuses on attention to people: recognising each individual’s specific characteristics is key in establishing a deeper relationship with them, strengthening the sense of planning and motivation, heightening the energy within the teams, and improving both the quality of life and the atmosphere within the company.

How it works

The technological solution is a mobile app that can convert speech to text, and text to speech. It does this in real time, using VoIP. The user initiates a call through the app, and can decide whether they want to use their own voice or, as an alternative, type a message which the app will transcribe in real time and read out to the operator on the other end. The platform converts voice to text and vice versa, reading out all written messages with a computerised voice. From the customers’ point of view, the process is as follows:

  1. Call: the user dials the freephone number 930 158 002. A specialist adviser is waiting on the other end of the line to deal with whatever queries the user has.
  2. Ask: the user can type in their question, using the keyboard on their mobile phone. The text will be converted into artificial speech (text-to-speech function), which the adviser will hear. If they prefer, users can also speak using their own voice.
  3. Chat: the adviser will answer orally, with the speech being transcribed into text (speech-to-text function) and immediately read by the user.

Once again, Endesa is making people the central element in our strategy. This way, the deaf and hard of hearing can carry on an agile, efficient conversation with the Endesa advisers.

Pedius began as a startup, thanks to the support of Working Capital – a project accelerator. As part of the Open Innovation strategy (Innovación Abierta), Endesa is constantly on the lookout for startups with high potential with whom we can work to develop innovative solutions.

The idea for Pedius came to its founder when he saw an interview with a deaf man who, after suffering a car accident, had been unable to call the emergency services or the tow truck. It took five months of development and two thousand test calls to get the app off the ground, in 2013, but it was an immediate success, and today, it is being rolled out across the whole of the Enel Group.

Besides winning the Tim WCap 2013, Pedius took first place at the Global Social Venture Competition – the international competition organised by Berkeley University to promote business ideas with significant social relevance and environmental impact. The Alta Scuola Impresa e Società (Altis), at the Università Cattólica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, organised this groundbreaking competition in Italy, helping the startup to become known in other markets.