Be My Eyes: My Handy Dandy iPhone App
The last three pages I wrote were about my new iPhone. Now I want to tell you about one of the other apps I have on it: Be My Eyes.
What is the Be My Eyes app?
If you live or travel alone and don’t have a handy pair of good eyes to do some of the seeing for you, Be My Eyes is your App. According to their literature, the main goal of Be My Eyes is to make the world more accessible to blind people.
Hans Jorgensen Wiberg is a visually-impaired Dane who in 2012 took an idea from a blind friend and turned it into an international phenomenon... or at least I think it is pretty dang phenomenal. The friend told Wiberg he would video chat with friends or family when he needed a little help of the visual persuasion.
Volunteers help the visually-impaired through video calls
Wiberg thought big. What if he took his friend’s idea and had it go, well, viral? What would happen if he set up a network of volunteers to take video calls from strangers in need? Would he get 100 interested people? How many people out there would be willing to take a call from a stranger and spend part of their day doing that stranger a good turn?
The answer to that question proved to be not hundreds but millions! According to bemyeyes.com, the two million volunteer mark was passed in March 2019.
Free, easy, and available wherever you are
And remember what I said about it being an international phenomenon? Be My Eyes operates in 150+ countries with clients and volunteers speaking over 180 different languages! Pretty much wherever you are and whatever language you speak, there will be volunteers to help you.
Be My Eyes is free and easy. The app is available in both the App Store for Apple products and in Google Play for Android system products. Download onto a tablet or a phone and get started. After you set up your account, all you do is push the big, blue button.
And I do mean BIG! On my iPad, it takes up 90% of the screen. Not exactly easy to miss.
Not only can you get a volunteer to read a thermometer or a street sign, you can also get some specialized supports for free. Be My Eyes has partnered with Microsoft to offer us VIP folks support for all sorts of Microsoft issues. How to get them? That is the Specialized Help button. It takes up the bottom 10% of the screen.
Be My Eyes has also partnered with other corporations as well. In the spring of 2019, Google partnered with Be My Eyes to bring Google product support to the blind and visually impaired. If you are a customer of Lloyd’s Bank, Halifax Bank or the Bank of Scotland, they have you covered. Need help with a Proctor and Gamble product? Be My Eyes specialized help can help. The people at Clearblue even read your pregnancy test over the phone. How do you like that for service?
The help of technology and two million caring strangers
Have I used Be My Eyes? Yes, but primarily to demonstrate it to other VIPs. I have fair vision, plenty of toys and people around to help so I don’t really need it that much. Would I use it if I needed it? Absolutely. The people are kind and the answers are fairly prompt. If no one geographically nearby is available to take your call, they will route you to another, in my case English-speaking, volunteer somewhere else. I once was answered by a woman in South Africa!
Like I said, international phenomenon. Ain’t technology, and over two million caring people, just grand?
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