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Introducing WayAround for Home and Office

Photograph of kitchen shelves with various metal cannisters. Someone is holding a phone in front of the shelf. The WayAround app is on the screen with text that reads "Grapefruit tea. Use 1 tsp per cup."

Hello, Darwin here to share some significant and exciting updates about WayAround.

If you’ve been following our journey, you probably know that we have been laser-focused on making public spaces and places totally natural and welcoming for people with vision loss. We’ve tested and refined our smart signage system, and it is getting close to being ready for launch. Today’s update is about our expanding direction and our upcoming launch, this Fall 2017.

I’ve started many businesses, and I’ve made a habit of periodically checking in to be sure my team is headed in the right direction. Are we spending our time on things that matter? How can we minimize distractions? What else might impact our current direction?

When Apple announced in June that the iOS 11 release would include opening up the NFC reader to apps outside of Apple Pay, I paused to reflect. Bringing NFC technology to iOS users had been one of our chief challenges. Having this technology available through the native iOS platform really opens doors for bringing WayAround to people with vision impairment. This would be a game changer!

I knew we had to get WayAround into the hands of people who would benefit from it as soon after the iOS 11 release as possible.

We’ve been focused on public spaces, yet WayAround could also completely change the way people with vision loss interact with more personal environments: their home and office. With that background, let me tell you why I am thrilled to announce WayAround for Home and Office.

Introducing WayAround for Home and Office

Those with vision impairment use all sorts of systems to store information about the products and places in their homes: braille or tactile labels, rubber bands, sticky dots, talking labels, and other creative systems. These systems don’t only provide information; they also provide independence. And yet, there continues to be a huge amount of information that people with blindness simply cannot access.

One of the things that sets WayAround apart is our commitment to providing the right level of information, just when you need it.

WayAround can label anything with a description, plus other details. For example, you could use WayAround to label your “red, white and blue plaid collared shirt” and include the laundering instructions. Label the half-gallons of milk and orange juice in your refrigerator and include expiration dates. Those are kind of details that open a whole new world of independence for people with vision loss.

Advantages to Starting with WayAround in the Home and Office

Not only can WayAround work really well in the home and office, but there are also some distinct advantages to starting there:

  1. Starting in the home and office lets people quickly start to experience the power of NFC (the technology behind WayAround), while also providing useful, everyday benefits.
  2. Getting NFC technology into people’s hands now lets you get familiar with how the technology works. You’ll be an NFC pro when we release WayAround for public spaces.
  3. WayAround raises the bar for what kind of information can be available to people with vision loss, in a really affordable way.

With that, we’ve shifted gears to bring WayAround to your home or office this fall, in 2017. If you’re intrigued, be sure to sign up for WayAround emails to receive updates about our progress. We’ll also send you information about how you can be among the first to try out WayAround. We’ll send you information about:

  • Beta testing
  • Pre-orders, starting in October. To use WayAround, you will need the free app, an NFC reader, and some WayTags. WayTags are about the size of a postage stamp. They come as stickers, magnets, buttons, or clips, so you can attach them to just about anything in your home.
  • Training materials

Armand once said that he wants WayAround to go anywhere that it can bless anyone with vision loss. We are now going lots of places, much sooner than we expected. Thank you for being part of the journey.

Darwin

P.S. If you’re curious about WayAround for wayfinding, we expect to release our smart signage for public spaces in 2018.

About the Author

Darwin Belt
Darwin is the co-founder and manager of WayAround. After a thirty-year career as an architect, software developer, and entrepreneur, he now uses his expertise to change how people with blindness or low vision get information about the world around them.

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