Think back to the first day at your first job. If you’re like me, you woke up early, gave yourself extra time to get to the office in case of traffic, and arrived ready to hit the ground running. You spent your first day getting your badge, meeting new colleagues, and setting up your computer.

Sometimes the first day doesn’t go exactly as planned. Maybe you spill coffee on your shirt (it happens to the best of us). Maybe your computer isn’t working and you need to call IT support for help.

But what do you do if you can’t see the phone?

Workplaces provide extra challenges for the 3.4 million visually impaired and blind Americans. Visual impairment affects a person’s ability to read, drive, communicate, and in many cases, maintain steady employment. The number of affected Americans is expected to double over the next 30 years.

That’s why Cisco is proud to serve as a platinum sponsor of the American Council of the Blind’s Annual Conference, in St. Louis, Missouri this week. The conference showcases technology, products, and services designed to improve accessibility in everyday work and living.

Cisco will exhibit the first enterprise-grade desk phone that includes built-in text-to-speech functionality as a standard feature without additional software. With a touch of a button, visually impaired users can now operate an IP phone with ease. We believe the 8800 Series phones are game changers for accessibility in the workplace.


Cisco is designing new versions of our TelePresence Proximity app. Proximity allows you to control your video system, interact with shared content and share wirelessly. The app will be fully accessible, and help visually impaired users start and end TelePresence calls.

Cisco is committed to helping teams get work done through the power of collaboration. By enabling seamless collaboration across teams, borders, platforms, and barriers – we can help everyone be their best at work.

The Phone Accessibility Project is a collaboration of Cisco engineers and the American Council of the Blind, a grassroots advocacy organization. Our work with ACB to co-develop accessibility features is just the beginning. We continue to drive accessibility improvements for our entire collaboration portfolio.

Attending the ACB Conference? Stop by the Cisco booth to get a live demo of the Cisco 8800 Series IP Phone.



Tom Puorro

Vice President & General Manager

Unified Communications Technology Group