Audience Award winner played an important role during the epidemic

16.12.2020

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Do you remember the 2020 SozialMarie Audience Award winning project? Do you wonder how the award helped strengthen the project’s visibility further? And do you know how blind and partially sighted people are affected by the epidemic? Get to know the Remote Eye project and their successes!

The Remote Assistance for Visually Impaired People – Remote Eye service of the Hungarian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted started in July 2019 in a test version. The service was launched in 2020: operators with vision are available 24/7 and provide instant assistance using their sight, via the image transmitted by the smartphone-camera of the blind and partially sighted clients and the voice connection between them. The app is currently used by more than a thousand people.

The COVID 19 emergency that started in March gave a new meaning to the service and increased its importance. The lockdown made it difficult for many blind and partially sighted people to organise personal assistance, and with the appreciation of online services generally, Remote Eye received a lot of attention.

The €1,000 Audience Award prize was used by Remote Eye primarily to develop and promote their service.

In response to the special conditions of the current epidemic and the openness of visually impaired people to info communication innovations, in May 2020 the project team created a closed Facebook group called iBlind, to which the beneficiaries of the Remote Eye project were invited. The iBlind group membership now exceeds 320 members, with a daily increasing interest. 

As part of the project, visually impaired people are also provided with smart devices (800 iPhones). In the FB group, one of the Remote Eye mentors regularly shares his own instructional videos to help in using and maintaining the iPhones and learning about the device’s new features. So far, 14 such videos have been created, each viewed hundreds of times. The practical topics featured in the videos include emergency calls on iPhone, updating software, backing up iCloud, controlling VoiceOver with the rotor, and more.

Tutorial videos are also accessible for visually impaired users as an addition to the speaker’s voice. The screen reader software called iPhone VoiceOver demonstrates how to use the current settings or apply new developments. At the same time, the screen shows the phone's display, which can be enlarged as required or transferred to a larger monitor if preferred by the visually impaired user.

As a SozialMarie Audience Award winner, recognition of the Remote Eye project continues to grow. Their service has been a "big favourite" of the media so far, and the award has given new impetus to public and media interest. The visibility of Remote Eye's Facebook page, with 1,200 followers, was also significantly increased by audience voting and the project’s continuous presence in the press.