Topic Empowering Visually Impaired Anywhere – Everywhere
Using technology, process, people & Innovation
Of the 37 million people across the globe who are blind (Visually Impaired), Majority reside in the developing world with over 15 million being from India alone. All of these countries face the challenge of empowering their visually impaired population to lead a decent and independent life.
We at IoStar realised that training and skill development were critical in making them self-sufficient. So for this purpose, it becomes important to create a technology agnostic platform along with appropriate business processes so as to enable quality trainers (globally/locally) share their expertise to the student’s location .
The key set of challenges we identified, when we started working on the solution were:
- The Need to quick start using “State of Art” technologies with development of visually impaired specific business processes.
- Building a scalable model which is simple and repeatable.
- Developing processes for discovering and making available quality resources at the point of delivery when needed.
- Making the solution cost effective: Normally blind programs are charity driven to ensure the program is sustainable in the long term and attractive to donor.
- Building ruggedized solution which can take beating from dust, power cuts, handling by visually impaired people etc. on an ongoing basis.
It is this need which spurred us to develop the concept of “Remote learning for visually impaired” using the BEST OF BREED cost effective technologies, resources and business processes.
Converting the Idea to Reality- A GLOBAL FIRST
We developed a solution which uses normal mobile internet, standard computing devices, some specialised software and appropriate business processes for smooth delivery of value.
The concept was appreciated and funded by an International Charity from USA .We ran the first Pilot in August 2014 and it has grown from 2 cities to 5 cities and from 1 course to 5 courses. It has trained 500+ students across 10+ cities in India and is currently running in a School for Visually Impaired in the City of Taj Mahal – Agra.
Some glimpses of our journey below:
We faced several challenges when the program expanded to small towns like trainers discomfort with technology, unstable power supply, internet issues, content enablement etc. for live learning. Hence the platform was reworked and an innovative component called “Experience Management “was incorporated which used technology and process creatively and it changed the entire learning paradigm by making it more efficient and effective on an ongoing basis by following Agile and Iterative technology development process.
Now the solution incorporates:
- Experience Management Centre (EMC) from Delhi for managing the live classes at both the ends of trainer and trainee which enables –
- Trainer to focus on teaching and students on learning leaving technology to EMC
- Classes being recorded and available for audit and review
- Simultaneous Multi location classes.
- Cost effective and enjoyable experience
- Managed Solar Power model
- Managed Internet with real time bandwidth management
- Complete overview of the process in real time.
- Employment support to visually impaired.
The model is now being duplicated with a dedicated team which can run these classes regularly. The platform was customised such that it is more user friendly for visually impaired people and now they are able to run it to 80-90% of the time, a great improvement from initial 15-20% .We are currently running “English speaking program” using this new platform and more courses are on the way.
We are planning on adding Facial Recognition using Machine learning and AI for better class management along with putting up an Internet Radio for students to repeat and revise the old classes..
We would be happy to work with like-minded people/organisations and share our best practises & platform as well. We hope to work with people who wish to apply the same to new requirements in a mutually beneficial manner.
We have recently evolved a new application of this solution for using it as Customer Care tool for our Online Islamic books portal (https://www.islamicbookbazar.com ) & in our upcoming Online Modest Fashion store (https://www.modest21.com ).These tools have helped us grow the Islamicbookbazar.com into SE Asia’s largest niche portal serving the customers from Australia to the MENA region.
Name: Hasan Kabeer
Company: IoStar Infotech (P) Ltd.
Location: Delhi NCR, India