#TechTuesdays: The Welcome App by Neatebox


The Welcome App by Neatebox: Transforming the customer experience

By Carolyn Scott | Tuesday 5 February 2019

Assistive technology has transformed the lives of those with vision impairments, and with advancements in smartphones and tablets these technologies are becoming more affordable and accessible than ever before.

This week, I want to look at technology from two perspectives. First you have technology which is for the individual, technology that is empowering or enabling. In the VI community this would include assistive technologies such as screenreaders or a braille display. These are things that are invented and then passed over to the individual to use.

Then you have technology that is for and by society. Take for example social media: it just wouldn’t work if it was only used by an individual; it relies on society in order to fulfil a purpose.

When society buys into new technologies they have a transformative power.

There’s one new technological innovation which could have a massive impact on the lives of people with vision impairments, and indeed any disability - The Welcome App by Neatebox.

What is the Welcome App?

Quite simply the Welcome App creates a link between a visitor or customer and a venue or organisation. It allows the venue to empower and educate their staff with the click of a button, ensuring they have the information they need to provide an excellent customer experience, and to provide it with confidence.

This app allows any user to create a profile, detail their disability or access requirements and any assistance they may need. They then select the business they wish to visit - after that the responsibility is handed over to the business.

The business will receive a message stating “Carolyn wants to visit, she has a vision impairment” - or similar. The business will then be given information on what that means and on how best to support that person when they arrive. It uses wireless technology, little beacons that are placed in the entrance to the business which the users smartphone will trigger when nearby, allowing the business to know that person has arrived.

In Neatebox’s launch video, one vision impaired user, Matthew, said: “It’s not the technology trying to do the job, it’s the technology empowering people”. This provides a glimpse of how technology can change lives: how people can be empowered, to be given the confidence to go to shops, banks, hotels, knowing that the staff there know what they should do to enable that person to have a good experience, rather than what the individuals themselves have to do.

We still need better standards for accessibility. Construction firms can no longer build offices without considering accessibility for those with physical disabilities. So, how can organisations still develop technologies and services without at the very beginning having to consider standards for accessibility for those with vision impairments?

Technology can be the tool that enables accessibility. With the unbelievable power that is available to us today - usually in our pockets in our smartphones - breaking down societal barriers should be easier than ever.

It can be overwhelming. It can be confusing. Things change quickly. But it could also be exciting. It could be a huge opportunity. It could deliver real change. We need to ensure that it does.

Find out more about The Welcome App on the Neatebox website. 

If you have a suggestion for a future #TechTuesday feature get in touch via info@scovi.org.uk

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