Assistive technology service will help Beyond Vision offer even greater opportunities for people with vision loss in the workplace.
Beyond Vision, a non-profit providing employment options for people who are blind, is partnering with the country’s fastest-growing assistive technology service, Aira. Beyond Vision is the latest to join the Aira Employer Network: a program aimed at increasing both productivity and career opportunities for people who are blind or low vision.
For over 100 years, Beyond Vision has been providing various forms of employment for people who are blind. Half the employees at Beyond Vision, from production to senior leadership, are people with vision loss. When Aira’s assistive technology was introduced to Beyond Vision in 2017, they immediately knew this would be invaluable.
Jim Kerlin, President and CEO of Beyond Vision explains, “People with vision loss don’t want a handout, they want a hand up. They want an opportunity to show that they can do it. We believe this amazing accessibility technology can redefine how people with vision loss ‘can do it’ on the job.”
Aira uses smart glasses equipped with a camera that streams live video to a remote, human agent. Using the video stream, GPS, and web data, agents offer live, on-demand assistance to people who are blind or visually impaired. Today, people use Aira to a huge variety of tasks, including reading, shopping, social interactions, navigation, home management, experiencing art, travel, taking in sporting events as well as employment assistance.
“Beyond Vision has been a major leader in employment initiatives for people who are blind or low vision for more than a century,” said Suman Kanuganti, Founder and CEO of Aira. “Together, we can help modernize the workplace, and offer greater opportunities and efficiencies for these employees through AI and AR technology.”
Via the Aira Employer Network, Beyond Vision will offer free Aira service to its employees to enhance independence and efficiency in the workplace. Beyond vision employees who subscribe to Aira will now be able to use unlimited service in the workplace, without deducting minutes from their regular plan.
The Beyond Vision Board of Directors is in full support. Chairman of the Board, Bill Hughes commented, “Beyond Vision is proud to partner with Aira in enriching the lives of people who are blind. Aira’s transformative assistive technology provides a valuable tool to assist Beyond Vision’s employees with visual impairments in providing high quality service to customers and will further enhance Beyond Vision’s ability to provide sustainable employment opportunities for people who are blind.”
Beyond Vision intends to provide Aira’s assistive technology in every division of the organization. This includes their machine shop, customer care center, assembly and packaging department and administrative offices. Aira will also be made available at one of the Base Supply Centers that Beyond Vision operates at federal government installations. Beyond Vision is one of 101 nonprofit partner agencies of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB), which focuses on enhancing the opportunities for economic and personal independence of people who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment.
”It’s a win-win for employment any way you look at it.” Sarah Zellmer, Beyond Vision’s Talent Recruiter, has been using the technology personally for several months. “We can use Aira to get things done that we would sometimes have to interrupt a sighted colleague to assist with. This way, we get the sighted assistance we need once in a while on the job, and in the process, we’re working with an Aira agent across the country to get the job done rather than interrupting a coworker here in the middle of theirs.”
About Beyond Vision
Beyond Vision, a 501(c)3 social enterprise, was founded in 1903 with the mission of providing employment opportunities to people who are legally blind. Beyond Vision continues to enrich the lives of Americans who are blind through the dignity of work valued by customers and the community with services that include machining, customer care, assembly, packaging, 508 compliance assessment and business supplies. Visit www.beyondvision.com to learn more.
Aira is AI + AR for the blind. Powered by the AT&T network, Aira combines the power of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality with wearable technologies, plus the interaction of its network of trained remote human assistants, to provide the 300 million blind and low vision people around the globe immediate access to information and assistance. Aira’s technology not only greatly enhances independence and mobility for those with vision loss, but also forms the basis of its endeavor to create smart cities that are accessible for all. Learn more at aira.io.