Techno-geeks may not realize it but there are a lot of people that are overwhelmed and intimidated by technology. Cellphones are particularly bewildering to neophytes, especially now that most phones can do email, IM and even play MP3 music files. To help ease these users into using the technology several Japanese companies have been working on systems that makes it very simple to access some of the more advanced features of cellphones.
NEC has developed a system that lets the inquiring user speak a question into the phone, such as "how can I send an email" or "how can I turn off the speakerphone". The user query goes to the phone carrier where a customer service system has thousands of problems and questions stored. The system will determine the correct answer and the proper instructions are displayed on the user’s phone screen. NEC says this system is almost ready for deployment. Fujitsu has produced a system for the Foma cellphone service that gives step by step instructions on the phone screen for common functions, like sending an email.
These systems are designed to remove the intimidation factor and entice timid users into taking full advantage of the advanced services offered by the phone carriers.