Wellington hotel installs app for visually impaired

CQ Hotels Wellington has become the first hotel in New Zealand to install an international GPS-app, Blindsquare, to help the visually impaired.

The app, developed for the blind and visually impaired, acts as a navigation system by providing information to guide the person as they travel. The app is free and works by broadcasting a Bluetooth signal that the app recognises and converts to a voice message on the user’s iPhone, providing a spoken description of the business, its goods and services and the shop layout.

The ‘Wellington Blindsquare Enabled’ project is a partnership between Wellington City Council, the Blind Foundation, Radiola Smart Transit and Blindsquare. CQ Hotels Wellington has been trialling the app for two months with 15 iBeacons already installed throughout the hotel. It’s now being rolled out to 200 retailers in the Wellington CBD.

“We are thrilled to be part of this partnership and have already had such a wonderful response from the visually impaired community and our guests throughout our trial. It’s just fantastic that Wellington is taking the lead and rolling out i-Beacons across the capital.  We have strived and continue to strive for an accessible hotel and inclusiveness so it’s just so encouraging to see so many businesses embracing the concept of the app,” says Olivier Lacoua, General Manager of CQ Hotels Wellington.

The iPhone navigation system also provides users with other information; such as the names of the roads they are walking along or where the bus stops are.

“It’s about giving people confidence and accessibility. Our visually impaired guests now have the opportunity to independently check in, get their key and make their way to their room. We are helping to break down that barrier and give our visually-impaired guests, both domestic and international, an experience they won’t forget,” says Lacoua.