Smartphones, Bluetooth beacons: The pairing that could help the blind catch the right bus

Details of the next bus are given in real time based on the detection range of the BLE beacon approaching the person’s smartphone at the bus stop.

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Contactless mobile-services firm Connecthings and CTS (Compagnie de Transports Strasbourgeois) the operator managing the city’s public-transport network, have designed a system that could transform travel for blind and visually-impaired people.

With the European Blind Union estimating that about 30 million visually-impaired and blind people live in Europe, and the World Health Organization putting the number at 285 million worldwide, making transport systems accessible to all is a global issue.

Back in 2012, Connecthings linked up with Strasbourg Eurométropole to launch StrasPlus, the first connected-city mobile service in France.

By integrating the Connecthings Mobile SDK platform with more than 1,400 stickers on points of interest, such as libraries, tourist spots and bus stops, the public have been able to interact with city locations on their smartphones via NFC, QR codes or Wi-Fi technology.

“StrasPlus makes the link between the physical and digital worlds by providing inhabitants with innovative, cross-universe, real-time information services,” Connecthings CEO and founder Laetitia Gazel Anthoine says.

With the platform in place, CTS has been able to improve the public’s experience of its transport services. StrasPlus stickers have been placed across the network advising passengers that a quick tap of their smartphone will, for example, give the current waiting time for the next bus.

Overall the system has been successful. However, through its work with local associations for the disabled, CTS discovered that changes needed to be made if it was to also improve city travel for the blind and visually-impaired.

Lina Tremisi, innovation manager at CTS, says: “We wanted to support the several thousand visually-impaired passengers who use our services each year.”

As the Connecthings platform was already in place, the solution was related to software rather than hardware. This fact meant they could avoid too many technical and interoperability issues.

Connecthings’ CEO Gazel Anthoine says: “To allow access for visually-impaired travellers,

› Author: News Dog
› Published: 22/07/2016
› Original article

› Source: News Dog




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