Blind Veterans UK has unveiled a new ‘smart’ system at its centre in Llandudno, Wales which uses Alexa devices to give veterans more independence, and carers new ways to communicate.
The system, called Alexa Smart Properties, has been installed by Amazon and Vocala and enables the blind veterans to get assistance with orientation around the centre; access information, entertainment, and services such as lunch menus; and to call reception with Alexa-to-Alexa calling, using only their voice. It also benefits the care team by enabling them to make announcements, voice and video calls to other Alexa-enabled devices throughout the centre.
Blind Veterans UK is one of the first organisations in the UK to install Alexa Smart Properties and we are really excited about the benefits it will bring to the residents and the care team.
When someone loses their sight, their world shrinks and the things one might take for granted are no longer possible. Staying connected with friends and family, up-to-date with news and current affairs, stimulated by interaction and being part of the community within which they live, are all examples of the barriers which result in people living with sight loss feeling isolated and vulnerable.
“Our support to Blind Veterans UK allows us to demonstrate Amazon's commitment to all people with disabilities and our military communities around the globe,” said John Quintas, Director of Inclusive Communities at Amazon. “Our Alexa technology improves the quality of life for veterans by helping to make their lives more independent, accessible and fun. We are honoured to support Blind Veterans UK and to help transform their centre in Llandudno.”
Meryem Tom, Director Alexa Enterprise EU, added: “Blind Veterans UK is one of the first organisations in the UK to install Alexa Smart Properties and we are really excited about the benefits it will bring to the residents and the care team.”
Blind veterans UK provides rehabilitation, training and support in order to illustrate that everyday tasks are still possible, using technology despite having a disability, and being independent and living a rich and fulfilling life can once again be a reality.
“Having identified the need to make our centres truly centres of excellence, including in technological advancement, we reached out to Amazon Web Services to find solutions.,” said Kathy Boardman, Blind Veterans UK Llandudno Centre Manager. “We’re very excited to have Alexa as an integral part of the team at our Centres for Wellbeing.”
“Supporting our blind veterans with access to information, navigating their way around the site, making informed decisions, and interacting with others will be life-changing for everyone, especially the person adjusting to a vision impairment and, with our support, rebuilding their life after sight loss.”
Harnessing technology has always been part of the Blind Veterans UK ethos and the Blind Veterans Smart Centre, powered by Alexa Smart Properties, will further enhance blind veterans’ experiences and help them lead inclusive, independent, and fulfilling lives.
Blind Veterans UK and Alexa Smart Properties do this in three ways:
- Orientation – A blind veteran will be able to self-orientate within any area of the centre by asking Alexa. This includes getting from point A to point B and locating objects within a specific room.
- Access to information - A blind veteran will be able to find information such as what’s for lunch, fire safety procedures and access news on the charity and its history by asking Alexa.
- Access to services - A blind veteran will be able to find out what events are scheduled
All of these elements are connected by the principal of giving blind veterans the tools to do more themselves and is an example of the charity’s goal for them to live as independent lives as possible.