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The Braille Monitor – December, 2000 Edition


Late-Breaking News Diebold and NFB Partner to Develop Next Generation Voice-Guided ATMs

November 1, 2000

BALTIMORE--Diebold, Incorporated, the nation's leading manufacturer of automated teller machines (ATMs), and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today announced plans to develop a cost-effective voice-guided ATM that can be readily accessed by the blind without assistance from sighted persons.

Marc Maurer and Walden O'Dell hold the contract they have just signed.
Marc Maurer and Walden O'Dell hold the
contract they have just signed.
James Gashel and Mary Ellen Jernigan
stand behind them.

Walden W. O'Dell, chairman, president, and CEO at Diebold, and NFB President Marc Maurer said the two organizations will work together to develop a cost-effective and easy way to upgrade and simplify Diebold's existing voice-guidance capabilities. Initial plans call for improving Diebold's widely used CSP 200, designed specifically for retail use. The improved model will incorporate an affordable design that permits easy, non-visual access and requires no additional computer programming by the retail customer or the ATM network.

"While many ATMs have Braille instructions on keypads and labels, not all blind people can read Braille," noted Maurer.  "Moreover, Braille keypads and labels are static. They don't provide accessible and independently usable, sequential computer screen instructions to guide a blind customer through a complex bank transaction. As a result, blind customers currently have little choice but to rely on others to bank for them." He continued, "We applaud Diebold for working with NFB to develop affordable voice-guidance systems for its ATMs that make them easier to operate and fully accessible to the blind community."

Diebold's voice-guided ATMs work with a standard headset--owned by many people within the visually impaired community-- that can be plugged into the ATM to receive voice instructions in complete privacy. The CSP 200 will offer blind customers total access to the same banking functions available to sighted customers, including cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, and account transfers. NFB and Diebold will promote the improved ATMs to NFB members via postal mailings. Diebold will also introduce NFB to industry associations in which Diebold is actively involved. Further, the two organizations will develop a new Web site promoting the locations of voice-guided ATMs and the technologies used to upgrade them.

"NFB has long been actively involved in promoting adaptive technologies which allow the blind to live and work independently in today's technology-driven world," O'Dell said. "Diebold is proud to be a part of that effort and trust that we can make a meaningful contribution to NFB's work."

Over the next five years Diebold will contribute one million dollars toward the construction of NFB's National Research and Training Institute for the Blind. Diebold also will install and operate a voice-guided ATM at the organization's national headquarters. "This contribution recognizes the outstanding work of NFB on behalf of the blind community and reflects our commitment to work with them to assure our ATMs are easily accessible to the visually impaired," said O'Dell. Diebold will replace the current generation CSP 200 units, located in Rite Aid stores in Washington, D.C., with another model ATM equipped with currently available voice-guidance capabilities. The Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington will evaluate these District of Columbia-based machines and provide input regarding performance. Once testing on the CSP 200 is complete, Diebold and NFB will cooperate to adapt that voice-guidance technology to Diebold's entire family of ATM models distributed in the United States.

Every improved ATM manufactured and sold by Diebold will receive NFB's seal of approval. As the only ATM manufacturer authorized to use the NFB Seal of Approval on its voice-guided units, Diebold will proudly display the seal in its promotional materials. Diebold will promote and market this effort to create broad public awareness and understanding of the advantages of its ATM voice-guidance capabilities. The company has also established certain sales targets for the newly designed features and will implement its ATM voice-guidance technology wherever it owns and operates ATMs.

NFB's national headquarters is home to the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. The center, which houses more than two million dollars worth of hardware and software designed specifically for the blind, is the world's most extensive demonstration and evaluation center for computer-related technology serving the needs of the blind. For more information, visit the organization's Web site at <www.nfb.org>.

The Disability Rights Council of Greater Washington (DRC) is the pre-eminent advocacy organization for people with disabilities in the Washington community. The organization addresses systemic discrimination against people with disabilities in every aspect of society. For more information call the DRC at (202) 234-7550. Diebold, Incorporated, is a global leader in providing integrated self-service delivery systems and services. Diebold employs more than 11,000 associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of 1.3 billion dollars in 1999 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "DBD." For more information visit the company's Web site at <www.diebold.com>.

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