Smooth operator. Coast to coast LA to Chicago, western male. Across the north and south to Key Largo, love for sale.

A classic line from the 1984 hit by Sade. Some of you will wander down memory lane. Others should download and listen. I was shocked when I heard the album did not make the top 10 of the best from the 1980’s. It was definitely up there in the vanguard.

I recently went coast to coast when I met a whole bunch of new partners from across the States who are resellers or work for Smartbox. It was part of a series of get to know you events as Smartbox joined the CareTech family. Purple is part of the CareTech family. So technically Purple has a sister. Not just any sister but a creative, vibrant, warm and utterly caring sister. And a very successful one too in the field of assistive technology.

Let me introduce you. Smartbox is a market leading creator of software and hardware focused on supporting disabled people without speech, or where speech is challenging, to have a voice and to live independently. The technology is astonishing – it makes communication quick, simple and effective using a powerful specialist computer with fully accessible software and content for people using symbols or text.

It is estimated more than 50 million people globally could benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Smartbox’s flagship ‘Grid’ software supports more than 10,000 children and adults with the use of AAC every year and has already been translated into over 30 different languages.

Purple is deeply rooted in enabling disabled people to have a voice to change the disability conversation. Purple and Smartbox are now officially related but are kindred spirits with a very clear sense of purpose. Along with colleagues from the States I have also met the UK Smartbox staff, key stakeholders and a significant number of disabled customers from across the world.

I am genuinely excited by what we can do together. The opportunities are big. The need is even bigger. As I have repeated on numerous occasions Covid 19 has shone a very bright light on the inadequacies of accessible technology and the cause of disproportionate isolation throughout the pandemic. With disabled people unable to access basic information, buy goods and products and connect on social media with friends and colleagues.

Assistive technology is the enabler to unlock technology for millions of disabled people and for them to play a full part in an increasingly digital reliant world – 50 million people in the AAC community alone. And so many more disabled people who can benefit from the technology. What a powerful voice we can help to create.

This post cannot do justice to my new sister so take a look at this short video that describes who Smartbox are and what they do. It will redefine your perception of voice.

Although Sade didn’t make the top 10 albums of the 1980’s there was a chap called Prince who led the way on all things Purple. But even he can’t take the credit for Smartbox.

Mike Adams OBE
Purple CEO

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