Making every day better with In Your Pocket
Andy Lang, O2’s public sector support manager, talks about O2’s longstanding partnership with the RNIB and the launch of In Your Pocket
We recently hosted our ‘Making Every Day Better’ event at our O2 store at Westfield Shopping Centre in London. The event was about accessibility, and the focus was on new technology designed specifically for blind and partially sighted people. We heard from a range of technology experts demonstrating innovative new products, including the Zone V simplified Smartphone, and EyeWare, a virtual reality app designed to simulate a number of visual impairments including cataracts and glaucoma.
In recent years O2 has been working with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and software developer RealThing Australia to develop In Your Pocket, an intelligent mobile device specifically designed for people who are blind, have low vision or a print disability. My team and I were very proud to join Robin Spinks, Principle Digital Accessibility Manager at RNIB, to launch In Your Pocket at the event.
Almost two million people in the UK are affected by sight loss and for many, the simple pleasure of reading books or accessing newspapers has involved recorded readings or obtaining customised print runs that use large font sizes. Spontaneous reading on the go, especially for real-time content such as newspapers, was difficult and often not an option. In Your Pocket is the game changer. It comprises a voice-controlled smartphone, digital assistant and a comprehensive media device, pre-loaded with daily newspapers, popular magazines, audiobooks and podcasts.
At first glance, In Your Pocket may look like a Smartphone with a simple interface, and large easy-to-access buttons, and you could be forgiven for assuming that this is a basic, pared back device. In fact, its voice-controlled technology is based on an artificial intelligence platform that goes well beyond the capabilities of personal assistants.
Unlike most digital assistants, In Your Pocket is able to handle multiple tasks, as well as tasks interrupted by phone calls, text messages or other notifications and alerts. For example, if the user receives a call whilst listening to a newspaper article, In Your Pocket bookmarks their location, and asks them whether they would like to return to the article once the call is concluded.
“You can pick back up on the conversation as you would with a friend who is reading you the newspaper.”
O2’s principle role in its partnership with RNIB and RealThing is to provide In Your Pocket with secure, reliable, wireless connectivity at all times. But O2’s Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) capability has also been key, with updates and new functionality installed seamlessly and securely, over the O2 network, with no effort on the part of the user.
We think it’s a fantastic device that makes a real contribution, helping to enhance people’s lives, improve their independence and combat isolation. At O2, we are both excited and honoured to be a part of making it available.
“While on the sight loss journey, many blind and partially sighted people have told us that they struggle with technology. In Your Pocket offers a mobile solution which is both sophisticated and incredibly simple to use. There’s almost no learning curve and within minutes of opening the box, users can immerse themselves in an ever-expanding range of engaging content.”
Senior Innovation and Technology Relationships Manager
In Your Pocket is one element of RNIB’s strategy of adopting a ‘digital by default’ approach throughout the organisation, which will enable them to look beyond face to face interactions, and to help and support anyone with sight loss regardless of location.
Do you know someone who would benefit from In Your Pocket? You can find out more, and place an order online at RealSAM. In Your Pocket is available with 3GB of monthly data, a subscription to RNIB Newsagent, access to RNIB Talking Books, as well as podcasts, weather, and location information, for £20 per month.
As O2’s public sector account manager, I collaborate with O2’s biggest charity customers to understand strategy and shared goals, developing modern business partnerships. You can contact me via LinkedIn.