Blind Entrepreneur wins coveted Digital Inclusion award at the Birmingham Made Me Expo…

From left to right: Beverley Nielsen, Director of Corporate Affairs Birmingham City University, Stuart Ballinger, Head Midlands and North East JCDecaux Roger Wilson-Hind, Director GeorgiePhone and Abhi Naha, Founder Conigital GroupRoger Wilson-Hind, Director of GeorgiePhone part of the Conigital Group was awarded the prestigious ‘Digital Inclusion’ Birmingham Made Me award at the Birmingham Made Me Expo June 17th 2015. The award was presented by Stuart Ballinger of JCDecaux.

GeorgiePhone is a family of apps for blind or low vision people and people looking for a simple, no nonsense phone. With its big talking buttons, clear print, simple layout and choice of colour themes, it is far more than a screenreader for smartphones.

During the expo a demonstration of GeorgiePhone was provided for attendees who were astonished how Roger as a blind person was able to navigate (himself) throughout the city by using his app. This is now advancing to include an integrated indoor navigation resulting in End to end travel, this is being developed in partnership with Birmingham City University.

Head of Engineering, Parmjit Chima commented on this emerging technology:

“the days of paper based maps are long gone with GPS navigation becoming ubiquitous for outdoor navigation. However, this technology does not operate indoors and the use of bluetooth and wi-fi beacons can enable a person such as Roger to make his way from any place in the UK, to a building and then into a room and to within a few centimeters of the destination without having to rely on any assitance. This will enable the creation of inclusive smart cities for all of our citizens.”

Bluetooth beacons were installed throughout Millennium Point during the exhibition and as visitors approached a point of interest specific user content was displayed on their smartphones. At their core, beacons are a proximity technology that trigger the right action within specific apps. This enables apps to be smarter and work in the context of their surroundings, vastly reducing the number of steps it requires to complete a process or task.

Abhi Naha Founder of Conigital Group with a beacon and smartphone in the Indoor Beacon Navigation Zone.

The implications of bluetooth low energy for indoor navigation is far reaching and is not only for the visually impaired. This technology connects a user visually impaired or not to the IoT (Internet of Things) by giving a physical presence for objects.

Giving people the right information, at the right time in the right place can be extended to retail, tourist attractions, museums, campuses, cities, schools, healthcare, gaming and opens up a series of different contextual business applications and is set to change the world as we know it.

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