TECHSTYLE CLIENT NEWSLETTER.

 

Welcome to the Spring edition of our HumanWare client newsletter, "TechStyle".

 

This is Issue 53 dated May 2008.

In this edition we feature news on the following:

New CEO - Gilles Pepin

Reorganization of business

Victor Reader Stream 

myReader special offer        

ZoomText award winner

Window-Eyes Screen Reader                 

BrailleNote Trade-In offer   

ClassMate - for LD

Deaf Blind Communicator

Breeze GPS

ScannaR Report

Ramona Turns 7

Special Offers

Australian Distribution

 

Web link:

For your convenience, this newsletter is also on our web site.

We plan to make this the easiest option for everyone and will replace the large print, audio cassette, computer disc and Braille copies with an email announcement and web link.

You might like to check it out at:

http://www.humanware.ca/web/en/Newsletter/techstyle_may08.html 

Please send us your email address to take advantage of this.

 

About Us

HumanWare is about empowering people.

About innovative solutions.

About empowering our customers to compete effectively in today's world.

HumanWare products are designed to last, to grow (and in many cases, to go) with the user.

Giving them the independence to compete effectively with peers, to feel connected - to be a vital part of the global information age in which we live.

Visit our web site at: www.humanware.com

 

New CEO for HumanWare Group - Gilles Pepin

We are pleased to announce Gilles Pepin has been appointed Chief Executive Officer for the HumanWare Group.

The HumanWare Board has made the decision that a number of key decision making roles, including that of Chief Executive Officer will be based in North America, ensuring HumanWare is close to market trends and new developments.

Gilles is based in Montreal at HumanWare Canada and has been the driving force behind the design and manufacture of the Victor Reader range of digital talking books, including the latest inspirational Victor Reader Stream and Trekker GPS system.

Working in this area of business for over twenty years, Gilles is well known and respected by customers, organisations and indeed other manufacturers.

At HumanWare Australia, we welcome his drive, passion and business acumen.

 

HumanWare Reorganizes its Operations

            HumanWare is integrating its Finance, Marketing, Research, Development and Production operations under a single line of responsibility for each department.  Sales activities are also integrated under three new geographical regions: Americas, Europe (including Middle East and Africa) and Australasia (including Asia and NZ).

            Three new Vice-Presidents for Marketing, Research and Development, and Operations respectively have been appointed and will be responsible for international activities.  The business managers for the United States, Europe and Australia business divisions will see their responsibilities extended into new geographical markets.

            The objective is to build a strong management structure to support HumanWare's growth in its activities beyond the vision impaired segment to new markets. 

            "We are creating a stronger and more dynamic operational structure to better support our existing customers and products and also introduce new initiatives such as enhanced customer focus, superior product quality and a wider range of product solutions," said Gilles.  "To achieve this, we need to streamline our operations and better integrate our activities - some of which are over extended across the globe."

            While closing our Christchurch manufacturing base, we will expand our sales presence in New Zealand with the opening of a new office in Auckland to better serve our customers in the North Island.

            HumanWare will continue to offer the same range of products as before and expects to reap major benefits for our customers as a result of this reorganization. This includes reduced product development cycle, lower product cost and higher product quality.  HumanWare will keep introducing new exciting products in 2008 following several major product introductions in 2007: Victor Reader Stream, ClassMate Reader, myReader 2 and a Math tutorial for the BrailleNote mPower.

            Ron Hathaway, Managing Director of Australia and Asia will now add New Zealand Sales to his responsibilities.  Pedro Polson (MD Europe) and Phil Rance (MD USA) are keeping the same positions.

 

ZoomText Award Winner

            HumanWare Australia is the international winner of the inaugural ZoomText "The Big Finish" campaign.

            Anthony Kirkpatrick took the lead and built lots of extra sales around an emphasis on "customer service" and extending outstanding service and responsiveness to our many Low Vision customers.

            And it paid off.

HumanWare Australia won the Dell 3007WFP-HC 30" LCD Monitor - which will be used to show other product solutions to customers at best advantage.

            Congratulations to Anthony and the other HumanWare staff for this great recognition.

 

Join our email Update List.

From time to time we hear of new products, special offers, etc that (because of the limited frequency of publication) we often don't get to tell you about in TechStyle.

We have started an email only News Update list for conveying these offers to clients.

If you would like to receive this, please send your email address to Phil and he will arrange it for you. His address is: phil.hazell@humanware.com   

 

VICTOR READER STREAM

         Victor Reader Stream, the pocket-sized portable MP3 player designed for blind and low-vision people now has the capability to play the popular Audible.com books. In addition to the variety of audio formats (MP3, DAISY, and NISO books and music) supported by Victor Reader Stream, the Audible format will provide a huge additional choice of content to the users.

Audible is the leading provider of spoken audio on the internet, providing over 140,000 hours of digital audio editions of newspapers, books and magazines. (Please note that costs of approx $9.00 per month apply for subscription to Audible.)

The Stream has extensive navigation features for moving through audio books and text files, including functions that allow you to move to the next chapter, section or page, or to set bookmarks.

For Audible books, the user will be able to navigate from one Audible heading to the next, move by increments of one-, five-, or ten-minute time jumps, and move with an accelerated fast forward feature that announces the amount of time lapsed. Blind and low-vision people who listen to talking books on a regular basis often prefer to speed up the playback. For all audio book formats that Stream plays, including Audible, variable speed control with digital pitch correction allows the reader to accurately listen at higher than normal playback speed.

The player is completely accessible by blind and low-vision users. All keys and messages are provided through audio feedback. The player has a built-in User Guide and a Key Describer mode to remind the user of keypad functions. It comes with integrated text-to-speech voice, allowing it to play text-only files and announce the track names of music files. It uses an SD memory card to store books and music transferred from a computer.

Current Victor Reader Stream users will need to upgrade their player to software version 1.1 in order to play Audible books.

The latest version 1.2 upgrade is now available online at www.humanware.com/en-australia/support/vr_stream_software.

 

WINDOW-EYES ..... designed with the blind in mind!

         What makes WindowEyes the preferred screen-reading package by thousands of students and employees?

It's responsive, reliable and rock-solid!

WindowEyes means better internet support.

         Many web pages consist of links which have not been "tagged" correctly, and some screenreaders currently on the market have difficulty reading the graphical links. WindowEyes has a system whereby it reads the embedded tag and communicates the contents as coherently as possible to the user, whilst opposing screenreaders currently lack this ability by default.

Better Browse Mode support allows you to keep track of places on a web page that you visit. So, if you enjoy a specific part of a web page at www.humanware.com, you can mark that spot and jump to it quickly each time you visit.  And, if the page ever changes, you have the ability to easily find that same spot if it still exists.

Other screen readers are not capable of this.

The new version also gives you the ability to jump to specific controls, like buttons, check boxes, radio buttons, and more.  Not only can you jump to a specific type of control, but you can jump directly to the controls you use the most.  For example, if you need to go to the third edit box on a web page each time you visit, you can jump directly to the third edit box on the page without having to go through every edit box on the page. 

         WindowEyes means easier installation.

One user license of WindowEyes means that the user can install it on several computers he/she intends to operate. The program requires a serial number, but no authorization keys need to be moved between work stations and/or a central server, saving everybody time, stress and confusion.

         Available for only $1,100 WindowEyes gives you more features at a significantly lower price than other screenreaders on the market.

WindowEyes works well with a range of third party applications commonly used by TAFEs and businesses including EA3000, MYOB and Quickbooks. Of course, it has extended support for Office 2007 and Adobe acrobat, making excel spreadsheets and PDF files so easy to read.

WindowEyes is easy for former JAWS users to grasp. In fact, there is a JAWS keyboard layout for those who prefer the JAWS keystrokes with which they have become familiar.

         Contact Sam Taylor on (02) 9686 2600 for more info.

 

myReader Helps Students Improve Typing Speed

Bill Bielawski, manager of the Office Skills Training Program at The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, has discovered a unique way to use the myReader. One of the courses we teach is keyboarding. Can you imagine taking a typing test using a traditional CCTV video magnifier? You type the few words displayed on the monitor, then move the printed material, then type the next few words, then move the material, and so on. The myReader completely eliminates this problem. We capture the page and then set the scroll rate in column mode to match our student's typing speed.

The typing speed of all students has improved. Similarly, when we know a client is going for a job interview that will involve a typing test, we send them with the portable myReader.

 

myReader Special offer

For a limited period .... HumanWare Australia is now offering myReader at just $6,950 a saving of $300.

 

ClassMate Reading System.

New from HumanWare ........ the ClassMate Reader, is a revolutionary aid for students with dyslexia and reading difficulties.

         The ClassMate Reader is a unique, portable and lightweight system about the size of portable gaming console with a large LCD screen. It is designed specifically to assist students with reading difficulties. Students can listen to the audio version of their text-books and study materials whilst following the highlighted text on screen

simultaneously.

         The ClassMate Reader has several features found only on expansive PC based solutions, such as text to speech, highlighting, dictionary, text and voice recordings and audio book navigation. It offers all of the most advanced DAISY functions as well as navigation capabilities for any book or textbook.

         The ClassMate Reader uses a removable SD flash card or USB memory stick to store books and electronic text. It can easily transfer files from a PC with its standard USB connection.  The system promotes phonetic recognition, fluency and will significantly boost the support of teachers who work with students who are dyslexic. The system's design was carefully crafted to engage students and dispel the notion that assistance devices are unappealing.

         Contact Phil on (02) 9686 2600 for more info.

 

Deaf Blind Communicator

You would probably know by now that HumanWare is working with Washington State ODHH to develop a new DeafBlind Communicator (DBC). One aspect of the development process that becomes particularly exciting is when the product faces the real world for the first time. Will the concept work? Does the product do what it's supposed to do? Is it usable? What needs to be improved? This is a scary time, but it's also a fun time. We call it "field testing."

Our first field test involved analyzing the DBC's face-to-face communication capability. (The DBC consists of a BrailleNote mPower with the addition of special DB software connected wirelessly, via Bluetooth, to a cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard and visual display that also contains special DB software).

We asked a blind BrailleNote user to help us out. Her job was to assume the role of a deafblind person and to try to communicate with sighted people in numerous settings using a DBC prototype. A third party, who remained totally uninvolved in the process, observed the interaction to assess any problems that might arise.

This gave us an extremely accurate look at the strengths and weaknesses of the simulated DeafBlind Communicator.

With each new venue, Marlaina would activate the special DB-Phone from her DB BrailleNote. The DB-Phone would show on its visual display and also speak "Hi, I'm deafblind. Please use this device to communicate with me." Marlaina would then hold the unit out and wait for the sighted person to take the unit.

She was able to successfully communicate in every situation. Some venues took longer than others, but each test ended with smiles and a sense of accomplishment on all sides. Even in its semi-prototype state, the DeafBlind Communicator did its job with the added benefit of revealing the inherent goodness in people.

         Contact Ramona on (03) 9686 2601 for more info.

 

Breeze - Talking GPS excitement.

At the CSUN conference this year, HumanWare unveiled a new hand-held, talking GPS unit. The product is designed for people who are blind, for use when travelling in familiar surroundings. The product will also be appealing to people not comfortable with computers and screen readers. The new model is an addition to the popular Trekker and BrailleNote GPS systems, which have thousands of users worldwide. With this innovation, HumanWare will make GPS technology even more accessible to a greater number of people.

Like other GPS products from HumanWare, the Trekker Breeze provides talking GPS directions that help users know where they are and where they are going - whether on foot or in a vehicle.

Users can record routes as they walk them with sighted assistance. Routes can then be previewed and activated for future use. As they walk by, users receive audible information such as street names, intersections and reference landmarks. In case they are lost, they can retrace their steps. They can also reach favourite destinations with turn by turn instructions from their current position. The Breeze makes it easier to travel alone and enables people to discover and enjoy their surroundings.

We expect "Breeze" to be available for sale around September.

 

BrailleNote Trade-In Offer

Trade in any brand of personal data assistant such as BrailleNote Classic, VoiceNote Classic or PAC Mate regardless if it has refreshable braille or not, and purchase one of the following -

1 x BrailleNote mPower BT or QT with 32 cells of refreshable braille (normally $9,390) for $7,500. That's $1,890 off!

or

1 x BrailleNote mPower BT or QT with 18 cells of refreshable braille (normally $6,390) for $5,100. That's $1,290 off!

or

1 x VoiceNote mPower BT or QT (normally $3,450) for $2,900

That's $550 off!

Notes:

Trade in device doesn't have to be functioning, but must be complete.

HumanWare must receive the trade in before supply of new product

Offer ends 30th September 2008

 

Ex demo stock

We now have a limited quantity of SmartView Xtends and myReaders which are ex demo stock.

This is a great chance to save some big bucks. First in first served:

SmartView Xtend bandw complete with monitor arm, remote control and 17" LCD monitor, full warranty for $3,200

SmartView Xtend colour complete with monitor arm, remote control and 17" LCD monitor, full warranty for $4,500

PocketViewer colour portable magnifiers with 4" screen, x7 magnification, full colour for just $950

myReader2 portable auto-reader for $6,650

 

SMARTVIEW SPECIAL OFFER

Upgrade your black and white SmartView to a colour version for only $1,100.

One of the great features of the very advanced new SmartView Xtend is that you can get a software upgrade without having the expense of changing your whole platform.

This is a limited offer.

Phone Luke, Phil or Linda now on (02) 9686 2600

 

ScannaR User Report

By David Aveyard.

Hello my name is David Aveyard. I live on the central coast of NSW at Gosford. For the past 15 years I have bought a lot of HumanWare's products like the BrailleNote and many more. The best product I have just purchased is the ScannaR. What a machine! For the first time I have been able to scan manual instructions for electronic products, with out relying on a sighted person to read it out to me and with its voice saving voice activation you can save it in the machine for later use or save it on a memory stick. It is so easy to use and what I like about it is there is not many buttons you have to press about 7 and scanning is a breeze. This product will make it easy to sort out my mail and read it, not only that it will help with my work at NRMA Road Service. Now with the ScannaR I don't have to rely on my team leader to read out the papers that she hands out at team meetings. Well done HumanWare for bringing this product out.  

Note the voices that come with ScannaR are so clear to understand and with the help of the voice speed control and the different reading voices you do have total control over the machine so for a visually impaired person who is thinking about purchasing the ScannaR I certainly recommend this product.  

 

Maestro PDA

HumanWare is proud to announce the release of the new version of Maestro, expanding the capabilities of the first off-the-shelf accessible PDA.  Visually impaired can now surf the Web from the palm of their hands and in a 100% accessible environment.

Maestro consists of a standard handheld computer with a tactile overlay allowing people to use commands and enter data intuitively by touch. Maestro users can organize their appointments and address books, consult and edit text documents, record voice notes, read books, organize e-mail, listen to music and even get GPS guidance with the Trekker option... all in the palm of their hand.

As with other Maestro applications, the Web browser offers a set of features maximized for an efficient navigation experience while on the go. Through a robust engine, our clients can quickly navigate links, headings, frames, and fill out forms on web pages.  They can enjoy using familiar screen reader commands and read pages as if they were on a desktop computer. The Maestro built-in Wi-Fi with simple wizard makes it easier to find and connect to preferred networks.

Maestro can be complemented with Trekker, the most popular GPS orientation tool for visually impaired and blind people. As both applications are compatible with each other, Trekker users can install Maestro on their system, and Maestro users install Trekker.

Maestro 2.1 is now available for free upgrade on our Web site.

www.humanware.ca/web/en/maestro-trekker-upgrade.html

 

PRODUCT SALE SPECIALS.

Here's some specially priced stock that you may be able to take advantage of. Check these:

1 x BrailleStar 40 (ex demonstration unit) - 40 cell braille display from Handy Tech. Normally sell for $10,450. Special at $7,600.

1 x ScannaR (ex demo unit without daisy player). Was $4,450. Sell at only $3,800 - still with full 12 month warranty.

 

SERVICE ANNIVERSARIES

Wednesday March 19th was the 7th anniversary of Ramona Mandy commencing service with PulseData / Humanware.

Not only did Ramona reflect on all the milestones in her career and all that she has achieved over the years, but fittingly on the day, she supplied a BrailleNote to a client as well!

Well done on all your successes Ramona and best wishes from all those that work with you and love to call you "friend".

 

Then just 13 months after Ramona, Phil Hazell joined us and on Tuesday April 8th he celebrated his 6 year anniversary of employment.

Phil started as a Low Vision sales consultant, was promoted to National LV Sales Manager and then National Sales Manager for all products. He is well known throughout Australia with his fun-loving nature and as a spokesperson for HumanWare.

 

FOR SALE by clients:

Smartview 3000 black and white CCTV complete with monitor.  Approx. 3 years old and in good condition. Asking price $1,000.00 o.n.o. Contact Robyn Burgess on (02) 9949 1673

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTION

 

HEAD OFFICE (NSW)                            QUEENSLAND OFFICE

Ron, Phil, Anthony, Luke,                          Linda Walker

Sam, and Suhardi                                      HumanWare Aust (Qld)

HumanWare Australia                               56 Sunnybay Drive               

Suite 2,   7-11 Railway St.              Birkdale  QLD  4159

Baulkham Hills  NSW  2153                      Phone:        (07) 3822 6812

Phone:       (02) 9686 2600                       Mobile Phone:    0422 453 123

Fax:                  (02) 9686 2855                 Fax:            (07) 3011 1089

Email:  au.sales@humanware.com          E: linda.walker@humanware.com

Internet: www.humanware.com

 

VIC. OFFICE - Blindness  Ramona Mandy                               

HumanWare Australia, 27 Palmer Street, South Melbourne VIC   3205       

Phone: (03) 9686 2601                   Mobile Phone: 0404 834 924                  

Email: ramona.mandy@humanware.com         

     

VIC. DISTRIBUTOR                               W.A. DISTRIBUTOR

Jim Pipczak                                              David Vosnacos

Vision Aust. Equipment Solutions          Assocn. for Blind of WA

201 High Street                                        61 Kitchener Ave.,

Prahran   VIC   3181                                Victoria Park  W.A.  6100

Phone: (03) 9520 5555                           Phone: (08) 6222 4999

Fax: (03) 9525 2065                                Fax: (08) 6222 4910

Email:  esprahran@visionaustralia.org Email: davidv@abwa.asn.au

 

TASMANIAN DISTRIBUTOR               SOUTH AUSTRALIAN OFFICE

Errol Ingram                                   David Savage                                 

Royal Guide Dogs Assn.                         Special Agent for HumanWare.

83 Elphin Road                                         180 Frederick Road

Launceston  TAS  7250                           Grange  S.A.  5022

Phone: (03) 6331 8100                  Phone: (08) 8356 1412

Email: errol@guidedogstas.com.au       Email: d.savage@optusnet.com.au

 

Thanks for joining us for this issue of HumanWare Australia's newsletter TechStyle.

We look forward to your company again for the Spring edition.