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bmobile and PAVI promote smartphone accessibility for persons with visual impairment

Thursday, July 6 2017

Most people today cannot comprehend life without their devices as more and more daily routines depend on the connection to the world of digital information while “on the go” by way of smartphones and other mobile devices.

For persons with visual impairment, many of whom were not born blind, this is an inconvenient reality. Unknown to many however, this does not need to be the case. Smartphone technology is universally recognised as modern tools which improve efficiency and effectiveness in the day-to-day lives of persons of all walks of life. The same is true for all users with visual disability. As a matter of fact, the average smartphone off ers accessibility options which can make a visually impaired individual a lot more efficient when using a smartphone than someone who can see just fi ne.

To ensure that such valuable information does not remain unknown, as well as to enable greater inclusion for persons with visual impairment, Bmobile partnered with Persons Associated with Visual Impairment (PAVI), to educate the public on the many available functions that most smartphones have built in and which enable greater accessibility for persons with disabilities.

This was the fi rst ti me that a local corporate entity took a proactive approach to helping visually-impaired persons gain access to knowledge and opportunities that were previously limited and that have such far reaching benefits for the community. In fact, bmobile was awarded “Best Social Investment Project” for the implementation by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking on the launch of the education drive, Camille Campbell, Vice President, Marketing at Bmobile informed that, “We decided to embark on a project that involved PAVI because we believed it was a unique opportunity to engage persons with disabilities in a partnership that would use technology, which is our business and benefit persons with disabilities throughout Trinidad and Tobago, which is everybody’s business. We are always seeking new ways to improve on our customers’ experiences and visually impaired persons are a very important part of our community.” Bmobile also undertook a migration of all its customers from its older 2G network to its newer and more advanced 3G and 4G networks. The knowledge gained from the education drive will facilitate and ease the migration of the visually impaired.

The partnership between bmobile and PAVI rolled out in multiple phases. In the fi rst phase, the Company launched a campaign called ‘Show and Tell’, in which PAVI representative Marlon Parieaho and associate Mikkel Trestrail visited several TSTT Retail Stores and Dealers around the country and held a series of workshops for bmobile customer services representatives, demonstrating the assistive technology available via various Mobile Applications and built into Smartphone Devices, including the iOS and Android platforms.

The workshop facilitators were two blind persons who hold leadership positions and are advocates for the blind community. They use assistive technology to help them be self sufficient in their jobs, volunteer work and personal lives. The presenters conducted live demos demonstrating the built-in features on the Smartphones, as well as some useful Apps for persons with visual impairment.

The objective of the workshops was to enable the Company’s Customer Service Representatives and Channel Dealers across TT to better support the needs of customers with visual impairment.

In order to ensure that customers with visual impairment have full access to these life-enhancing tools, bmobile now embarks on another phase of the education drive, hosting of seminars on “Smartphone Features and Apps for Persons with Visual Impairment.” The introductory session is targeted for visually impaired persons who have limited knowledge and experience with using smartphones, and the second session, the advanced session is geared towards visually impaired persons familiar with smartphones, who wish to learn about some of the specialized technology, including apps used by persons with visual impairment.

Persons attending these seminars will be exposed to smartphone technology, features and productivity apps which can help visually impaired persons to do a lot more beyond making and receiving calls, including scanning and using audio technology to ‘read’ books, navigation to move around, to check the weather, to use email and to read and create documents such as blogs, word processing and spreadsheets.

Additionally, a common issue is that many of the visually impaired live alone, may have difficulty moving about and may be isolated from the rest of society. Attendees will be taught how the possession of smartphones is suitable for them.

The training to use the assistive technology features will provide access to opportunities, connections, support and social networks that would otherwise be unavailable.

Examples include access to free movies for entertainment, while social media, Skype, blogs and other online support networks connect them with other blind persons all over the world.

The fi rst in the series of seminars will be hosted on Monday July 17th, 2017 at UTT John Donaldson Campus, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

The introductory session will take place from 10 am – 12 noon and the advanced session will take place from 1 pm – 3 pm. Individuals wishing to register a loved one can dial 333 from a bmobile cell or dial 0 from a bmobile landline. For more information persons can also visit bmobile’s Facebook page.

The world becomes a much smaller and connected one for blind persons armed and equipped with knowledge

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