French banking group BNP Paribas has contracted with US ATM manufacturer Diebold for the supply of 265 voice-enabled Opteva cash machines.
The ATMs feature Nuance Communications' text-to-speech technology, RealSpeak, which simulates a natural voice and guides users through transactions such as cash withdrawals, deposits and account balances and alerts users when a transaction error has occurred. The service is available in six languages.
The units, which run on Diebold's multi-vendor ATM software Agilis, include a standard headphone jack and hardware to enable audio capability.
Other accessibility features include a pronounced bezel for card readers and a single-style keypad that provides consistency across the entire line of ATMs and grouping of primary and secondary transaction functions
Diebold says the Opteva ATMs underwent vigorous testing and have been endorsed by the National Federation of the Blind in the US.
"The use of standardised audio messages is the simplest and most discreet way to facilitate access to ATMs for the visually impaired," says Xavier Bianne, MD, Diebold France.
"Nuance's text-to-speech technology offers the flexibility required for translating on-screen messages into audio messages," he adds.
BNP Paribas plans to deploy the units across bank branches in Q2 2006.
French bank Société Générale said earlier this week that it had begun rolling out voice-enabled ATMs to help visually-impaired customers use cash machines.