Waymap

Waymap's mission is to improve the independent movement of visually impaired and other vulnerable people in public spaces.

RSBC and Waymap Logos

One of the greatest sources of exclusion for disabled people is the restricted social engagement that comes from limited travel. The key barrier to overcome is the fear of not being able to complete their journey or suddenly being dependent upon strangers for assistance. RSBC estimate that half of visually impaired people simply do not go out alone, and most of the rest limit themselves to just the 2 or 3 routes that they know well.

“What if vision impaired people were empowered to navigate independently using the smartphone they already have in their pockets?” This was the challenge investigated by the Royal London Society for Blind People's Youth Forum (RLSB, then the name of the RSBC) and ustwo in 2014.

RSBC soon discovered that yes, this was very possible. There and then they knew this was going to be life changing for the visually impaired community and Wayfindr was formed to make it happen.

Wayfindr is now a multi-award-winning not-for-profit organisation that has developed the world's first internationally approved standard for accessible audio navigation (read more here, Wayfindr.net). Wayfindr also leads the development of an open source smartphone application utilising beacon technology which has been widely trialled in rail stations, theatres and shopping centres around the world. The trials have confirmed the life changing impact that audio navigation can indeed have on people's freedom of travel and personal independence.

The trials also made very clear, however, the limitations of beacon technology and show that significant barriers prevent the sustainable delivery of the life-changing promise at scale. What is required is a breakthrough in location technology and the commercial implementation of a digital platform to support it. Waymap was formed to seek out and to create the technology and operational knowhow to make this happen.

Waymap has secured its core technology and is in the process of enhancing, testing and trialling it in real world scenarios with partners in the UK and USA in preparation for commercial operation.

RSBC Chief Executive and Waymap Chairman, Dr Tom Pey said “It's fabulous that my earliest experimentation with the late Prof Peter Barker using RFID and laptops to guide blind people along Oxford Street in the noughties has come to fruition in smartphone technology from Waymap that everyone can use. I am truly excited by the prospect of making this available to visually impaired people everywhere”.

Waymap co-founder and CEO, Dr Tim Murdoch said "My own experience in creating M-PESA, mobile money for the unbanked in Africa, showed me the massive impact that digital technology can have on social inclusion and the platform that it can deliver for innovation. I am both thrilled and humbled to have another opportunity to make a real difference to peoples' quality of life and, hopefully, to build another platform for social innovation at scale".

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Waymap news and opinion

RSBC and Waymap Logos

Waymap; a new initiative from RSBC

Waymap is a new initiative from the Royal Society for Blind Children. Waymap's mission is to improve the independent movement of visually impaired and other vulnerable people in public spaces.

One of the greatest sources of exclusion for disabled people is the restricted social engagement that comes from limited travel. The key barrier to overcome is the fear of not being able to complete their journey or suddenly being dependent upon strangers for assistance. RSBC estimate that half of visually impaired people simply do not go out alone, and most of the rest limit themselves to just the 2 or 3 routes that they know well.

“What if vision impaired people were empowered to navigate independently using the smartphone they already have in their pockets?” This was the challenge investigated by the Royal London Society for Blind People's Youth Forum (RSLB, then the name of the RSBC) and ustwo in 2014.

RSBC soon discovered that yes, this was very possible. There and then they knew this was going to be life changing for the visually impaired community and Wayfindr was formed to make it happen.

Wayfindr is now a multi-award-winning not-for-profit organisation that has developed the world's first internationally approved standard for accessible audio navigation (read more here, Wayfindr.net). Wayfindr also leads the development of an open source smartphone application utilising beacon technology which has been widely trialled in rail stations, theatres and shopping centres around the world. The trials have confirmed the life changing impact that audio navigation can indeed have on people’s freedom of travel and personal independence.

The trials also made very clear, however, the limitations of beacon technology and show that significant barriers prevent the sustainable delivery of the life-changing promise at scale. What is required is a breakthrough in location technology and the commercial implementation of a digital platform to support it. Waymap was formed to seek out and to create the technology and operational knowhow to make this happen.

Waymap has secured its core technology and is in the process of enhancing, testing and trialling it in real world scenarios with partners in the UK and USA in preparation for commercial operation.

RSBC Chief Executive and Waymap Chairman, Dr Tom Pey said “It's fabulous that my earliest experimentation with the late Prof Peter Barker using RFID and laptops to guide blind people along Oxford Street in the noughties has come to fruition in smartphone technology from Waymap that everyone can use. I am truly excited by the prospect of making this available to visually impaired people everywhere”.

Waymap co-founder and CEO, Dr Tim Murdoch said “My own experience in creating M-PESA, mobile money for the unbanked in Africa, showed me the massive impact that digital technology can have on social inclusion and the platform that it can deliver for innovation. I am both thrilled and humbled to have another opportunity to make a real difference to peoples' quality of life and, hopefully, to build another platform for social innovation at scale”.

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