NCBI raises the bar as we reveal, for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, new features coming soon to myNCBI Smart Hub Version 2

A young woman with dark hair is wearing a white top with black stripes. She is holding a smart speaker in front of the myVision Ireland Smart Hub logo, which is inside a blue circle.

Press Release

NCBI raises the bar as we reveal, for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, new features coming soon to myNCBI Smart Hub Version 2

Thursday, May 18, 2023, NCBI Labs is once again raising the digital accessibility bar as we proudly release on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) a host of new features which will be arriving to Version 2 of the myNCBI Smart Hub very soon!

NCBI’s technology department, NCBI Labs, first launched the myNCBI Smart Hub on Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices on GAAD 2022 to a huge response from people who are blind or vision right across Ireland. The Smart Hub currently allows users to access information about sight loss, access audio books, podcasts, newspapers and magazines, access NCBI Live, Ireland’s first dedicated online radio station for listeners with sight loss and much more through simple voice commands to a user’s smart speaker.

The new and improved Version 2 will include new features and improvements to some familiar features, including:

  • New information about fundraising: Users can say “tell me about fundraising” and will hear a list of the different content they can access, including: Eye Can Lottery, Legacy donations, community events, corporate partnerships, and volunteering.
  • Video Series: Users can now access two video series in the skill, the first being the Vision Series, and the second is the Adult Services Assessment Procedure. Users can simply say “play a video series” and they will get the choice between the two.
  • Contact NCBI: If a user would like to know what the phone number is for NCBI, they can say “I want to call NCBI”. They will be told the number and also asked if they would like an SMS or email sent to them with the phone number in it.
  • Visit NCBI website: If a user would like to know what the website URL is for NCBI, they can say “What is the NCBI website”. They will be told the URL and also asked if they would like an SMS or email sent to them with the URL on it.
  • Voice recording of articles: A voice recording of articles from the NCBI inSight magazine, NCBI Labs Technology Newsletter, and NCBI blog posts will be available. Users can say “I want to listen to a newsletter” and choose from the options given.
  • Choosing Talking Newspaper by title: The current Smart Hub skill has voice recorded articles from 19 different newspapers and magazines. Up until now, users were asked to choose a genre, and would hear articles from a mixture of the newspapers in that genre. Now, users will be able to choose by title instead, so if they only want to listen to articles from a specific media outlet, they can choose to.

The NCBI Labs team will be discussing these new features on the newest episode of Talking Technology with NCBI Labs which will be streamed live from 2.30pm on GAAD. The podcast will subsequently be available on The NCBI Labs YouTube channel and on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Amazon.

myNCBI Smart Hub has, and with these improvements, will continue to have a positive impact on NCBI’s services users as it removes barriers to accessing information and material that may have previously only been provided in inaccessible formats.

The applications of this technology are endless and can help so many people with various disabilities. Such is the popularity and quality of the new improvements and features to the Smart Hub, NCBI is actively providing it to other charities around the world at a fraction of development cost.

Kyran O’Mahony, NCBI Chief Technology Officer and CEO of IA Labs said: “With the myNCBI Smart Hub Version 2, NCBI will once again push the boundaries to demonstrate that technology is the biggest enabler for people who are blind or vision impaired. The Smart Hub has quickly become a staple in the lives of many of our service users and with Version 2, we are hopeful that more people will learn what is possible with this technology.

“With such buy-in already from our service users and from external partners who wish to use the Smart Hub technology around the world, the future is bright for NCBI, the sight loss community, people pan disability and future versions of the Smart Hub. While we prepare to release our new and improved features, why not download the current version of the Smart Hub on your smart speaker and give it a try? You won’t be disappointed!’