Today I hopped on my bike and went to meet Jo Wright, scheme manager at Beacon Court. The scheme specializes in housing those with visual impairments and is linked by glass walkway to the Beacons charity center for the blind. Between the two building there's an amazing array of activities (from pottery to Xbox) and plenty of area to relax and 'bumping spaces' to meet neighbors. It was an impressive set up. 

I was there exploring whether wifi access at the scheme was an issue - though I didn't want to fire a loaded gun, so asked about any potential issues or aspirations they might have. Speaking to a couple of customers, it seemed that getting off site more was a top priority - trips to the countryside were mentioned. While Wifi wouldn't help you get out more, it could be used to transport you to far off lands with a smartphone and a google cardboard headset. I've been testing this out in the lab with some pics from Peru! Everyone likes getting together - so why not have this as a group session - VR storytelling?

Next door, the Beacon center provides free wifi hotspot - though this doesn't extend far into our scheme. They've been having some success using QR codes to provide more information on notice boards. Specialist phones are on sale that are set up to have big, easy to read displays. Its a sign that access is a crucial first step, but good ideas and a motivation to implement them are as vital. 

In summary - it doesn't seem like wifi is solving any problems there, the great utilities and tireless work from Jo does that. But it does open doors to new and exciting activities - group Youtube binge anyone?  

Tom

Click here for more info on Beacon Court

Click here for more info on Beacon Center for the Blind

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