Indianapolis-based Bosma Enterprises recently opened its new $6.6 million headquarters in Indianapolis and says one-of-a-kind technology to help create more job opportunities for Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired. The nonprofit is one of the first organizations in the country to use BlindSquare, an iOS app that uses wayfinding technology to help blind and visually impaired employees navigate its new headquarters.
BlindSquare connects with a Beacon Positioning System (BPS), consisting of iBeacons that are located throughout the building. Bosma has deployed over 70 iBeacons, which are small, low energy Bluetooth devices that provide data on specific navigation markers, like dining areas, meeting rooms and restrooms, while guiding the user with audio directions about their surroundings.
"Within the last decade, advancements in mobile technology have made it easier for someone who is blind or visually impaired to navigate the world," said Mendi Evans, assistive technology specialist at Bosma.
Evans, who is completely blind, was introduced to the technology four years ago and has been instrumental in implementing BlindSquare at Bosma. She says the app allows her to remain independent in the workplace.
"I think technology has definitely leveled the playing field," said Evans. "It allows for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to not only be hired, but be equally as successful in jobs."
Bosma says it invested a total of $12,500 to install the BlindSquare technology. The organization says it hopes this small investment in a simple technology will serve as a model for other companies nationwide to make their workplaces more accessible for blind and visually impaired employees.