One of our core values at Salesforce is, that we believe in giving back to the community. We also believe that technology should be leveraged for the best purpose – for helping people, every day.
At our recent Salesforce World Tour in London we organized a CoderDojo to teach visually impaired kids how to code (kudos to the BBC for joining us). Have you ever thought about or experienced what challenges are the visually impaired facing day to day in environments they don’t know? Like:
- Where is the entrance at the building?
- Can I take the elevator to reach my target destination?
- What is the best – and safest – route?
- Where am I in this building right now?
These and other questions are raised every and every day. And they often can’t overcome these challenges without the help of others.
In 2015, the Royal London Society for Blind People and digital product studio ustwo formed Wayfindr, a non-profit organisation committed to improving independent travel for vision impaired people, using emerging mobile technology. The goal of Wayfindr is to create an open standard – as an organizational and technical guideline – for building assistive applications for visually impaired people. With this standard organizations, building owners, companies, everyone can also learn about “What is important when I want to help visually impaired for navigating in property A?”. Like what technology is available, how it should be setup and more.
Dr Tom Pey, Chief Executive at the RLSB, said: “Technology plays a central part in all our lives and is even more important to those who are visually impaired. I am so proud of the young vision impaired people who came together through the RLSB’s Youth Forum to use their knowledge to harness the power of the digital age to help blind and partially sighted people across the entire world to get around safely and like everyone else. Publication of the working draft of the Open Standard is a significant first step in making their dream a reality.”
Using technology can give back. In this specific case it gives back a feeling of self-confidence. A feeling of not having to rely on other peoples help. It gives back independency.
Accessibility in the Trailhead Zone
I built an app, based on the Wayfindr standard, to showcase you at Dreamforce how to apply the standard in real life (with “only” 100 Bluetooth beacons). Get a first-hand experience in the Trailhead Zone at Moscone West and see what it means to need help for your own navigation in an unknown areal. Your feedback will be very much appreciated as it’s probably the first time ever that this has been done in such a complex setup. This pioneering effort will help to improve the future implementations of the Wayfindr open-standard in other areas.
I am looking forward to see you and our Accessibility Ambassadors in our IoT zone. And to show you how to use technology for the best – for helping people.