Dialog Axiata PLC
For a quarter century Dialog has been at the forefront of providing multi-sensory connectivity to empower and enrich Sri Lankan lives. Connectivity has played a key role in inclusivity by bridging the gap between the desired and the actual needs of all individuals, including those of people with different abilities. Stemming from our core services, we have focused on hearing, sight and speech, and have taken many strides toward digital inclusivity. The key to our success has been our 4A’s philosophy for digital inclusion namely, product or service Affordability, Availability, Applicability and Affinity.
We are signing up to the Principles for more than one reason. We have worked with the GSMA for many years on inclusion-oriented projects, and have great trust in its leadership and convening power; therefore we have confidence that the Principles themselves with the GSMA behind them, will guide us as an organisation and as an industry towards effective action for better inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
– Supun Weerasinghe, Director/Group Chief Executive Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC
The company strives to develop long-term interventions that serve communities across the island and range from providing access to quality education; services and assistive technologies to assist those with impairments in hearing, sight and speech, and services focused on disaster risk reduction and recovery.
Our partnership with the Ceylon School for Deaf created the Ratmalana Audiology Centre (RAC) as a centre of excellence to address the hearing issues of not only the school’s pupils but also the community. We take pride that this service not only provides free services to members of the public who cannot afford it, but is always referred the most challenging cases by the top ENT specialists.
Dialog, in partnership with Petralex, the global leader in smartphone-based hearing enhancement solutions, introduced to Sri Lanka the Petralex App, a revolutionary yet practical application for smartphones and tablets. Petralex enables the user to use his/her mobile device with a regular wired or Bluetooth headset, as a simple yet discreet hearing enhancement device. This revolutionary partnership saw Dialog localising the app into the two local languages and enabling carrier billing, and Petralex providing concessionary charging for customers considering the country’s low income per person.
The company has supported the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Vision 2020 initiative in 2015, for the elimination of preventable blindness. Dialog has since facilitated 28 eye clinics across 10 districts, where over 11,000 individuals from low-income communities have been screened, with 9,000 or more of the individuals screened being provided with custom prescription spectacles. More than LKR 14.5 million has been invested in the Vision 2020 initiative.
Another key project is ‘Athuru Mithuru’, a revolutionary digital alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) application aiming to give those without a voice, the ability and independence to communicate with the world around them was initiated by Dialog. The first of its kind in Sri Lanka, the app is available in English, Sinhala and Tamil, absolutely free, and gives children and adults affected by speech impediments the ability to communicate with others at the tap of a picture tile. The user-friendly app enables caregivers, therapists and educators to bring out the maximum potential in children while offering independence and their own voice, to its adult users.
We are also partnering with the GSMA on two pieces of research aimed at solving pressing problems faced by persons with disability in Sri Lanka. Research based on these solutions will also help us understand what the needs of people with disabilities in Sri Lanka are with respect to their experiences of mobile and beyond.
Where applicable and feasible, many of our services solving issues in many diverse areas are built around a fee-based, sustainable business model. We believe that addressing the needs of people with disabilities is not just social good, it’s also good business.