Cisco Accessibility Initiative identifies global accessibility and usability requirements and establishes strategies and processes to integrate accessibility throughout Cisco operations.

Cisco launches the first desk phone with built-in text-to-speech

Cisco is the first company to offer the first enterprise-grade desk phone that includes built-in text-to-speech functionality. Developed with collaborative input from the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the software update for the Cisco‚Äôs IP Phone 8800 Series is a huge step toward making the digital workplace more accessible for the blind and visually impaired.

Basically, there is a new feature that allows the user to turn on a voice feedback without requiring any special configuration.  This feature provides: Voice readout of caller IDs, voice readout for menu navigation, voice readout of hard keys and soft keys.

No need to update the Cisco Unified Communication Manager (CUCM) other than to install the firmware update available on Download the latest firmware free of charge: 12-1-1-12 or later. The firmware update is a simple process and has to be installed by the IT/telecom staff on the Cisco Unified Communication Manager. Once installed on CUCM, the new software features will be available on all 8800 Series IP Phones on the network. If support is needed, Cisco TAC can help. The customer can contact their local Cisco TAC: (

More articles on Cisco 8800 Series IP Phones text-to-speech: 

Please reach out to the accessibility team ( if you have any questions or need more information.

Routers and Switches

Cisco IOS Software-based routers and switches offer remote configuration and monitoring by use of command-line interface (CLI*), which is fully compatible with assistive technology such as a screen reader, and also provide context-sensitive online help for users.

*Note: These CLI-based applications meet the U.S. American Disability Act and conform to Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.

Security and VPN

Users of the Cisco ASA 5500 Adaptive Security Appliances and Cisco VPN Client can choose from CLI or a graphical interface to configure and monitor the products, depending on their needs. CLI-based applications are fully accessible to screen reader technology and keyboard use without a mouse.

*Note: These CLI-based applications meet the U.S. American Disability Act and conform to Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.

Cisco Unified IP Phones

Cisco Unified IP Phones provide many easy-to-use accessibility features:

  • Audio and visual alerts of phone states, including dial tone, ringing, mute status, and more.
  • Visual alerts that are displayed on a large liquid crystal display (LCD) screen integrated into the phone.
  • For people with low vision, an optional color LCD screen with high contrast and backlighting.
  • Hearing-aid compatibility.
  • Tactile discernible buttons and touch-screen for nonbiometric pointing devices.
  • Cisco Unified IP Phones also support TTY (telephone typewriter), which is a telephone device for the deaf and hearing impaired. The TTY over IP requires quality of service (QoS) for reliable delivery, and enables users:
    • To make or place a TTY call by either acoustically coupling a TTY to the Cisco Unified IP Phone or directly connecting it to the IP telephony network through an analog telephone adapter (ATA).
    • Equal access to the mobility features of Cisco Unified IP Communications, which enables users to make and receive calls from different locations in the organization while retaining the same phone number by bringing only your TTY and an ATA.
  • Cisco Unity Connection gives users the option to retrieve TTY messages as e-mail messages. The Cisco Unity Connection voice messaging system offers adjustable playback speed for messages and adjustable response times for people who need more time to respond to system prompts.
  • People who have difficulty pressing keys can take full advantage of the productivity-enhancing features of Cisco Unified IP Phones by using voice commands with Cisco Personal Assistant.

To learn more, review the documentation on the accessibility features of the following Cisco Unified IP Phones models: