Just in: Product labelling Gets a Facelift as WayAround and Aira Join Forces
By: Jack Falejczyk
Article Summary: There could be no better time to label your entire inventory at an affordable cost. Take the wheel with WayAround’s digital tags, and have Aira ride shotgun!
Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes
How did we Get Here?
Anyone who has been blind throughout most if not all of their life has no doubt used braille or tactile labels for their home inventory. They obviously have the advantage of being around the longest, being relatively affordable, and aging well over time. However, one particular disadvantage lies within the food and clothing department; braille labels for these items allow little to no room for customization, so you are stuck with whatever information you can fit, or the predefined label text. This issue is most apparent with clothing labels as they only have enough space for extremely short abbreviations.
Labels have evolved significantly over the years. Several iterations of digital labels have been created that use a bar code scanner or a specific labelling device that knows how to communicate with them. These introduce a number of problems, however. Bar codes on store products are not tactile at all, and even with the wide laser beam in products such as the IDMate, scanning can be a challenge. Additionally these devices tend to come at a high price, and are running on outdated hardware and software (the IDMates are still running Windows CE, for example). Finally, color recognition hardware and software will never be full-proof. So, do we have a viable solution that is future-proof, or is labelling stuck in the past? Do we have news for you!
A Tale of Two Services with Similar Objectives
Aira, discussed in greater detail in various articles and courses on our site, is a well-known remote visual assistance service for the blind. WayAround is a brand new, innovative, future-proof labelling system. Through the help of a smartphone and affordable digital labels of many different kinds, one can label practically any item that needs labelling! Rather than using the camera or a bar code, these labels utilize NFC (near field communication) technology, the same technology that powers various tap-and-pay terminals at various retailers. The labels come in many different configurations, from strong-adhesive stickers to laundry-safe sewable buttons. A user can input several fields of information into the WayAround app, and write that information to a way tag affixed to an item by simply tapping the phone to the tag! From then on, when you tap your phone to the item, the description for the item will be read out by your phone’s screen reader. Where does Aira play into this, you might ask? Why, for identifying the object to be labelled, of course! Aira knows this, thus has partnered with WayAround to allow WayAround users ten minutes a day to obtain assistance from an agent in identifying the items that are to be labelled. The agent can describe various details about the item (food ingredients, laundry instructions, etc.). The agent can then email you the information obtained so that it can be pasted into the WayAround app while creating the label. It doesn’t get more streamlined than that!
It should certainly be said that the Aira and WayAround partnership is a winning combination. It provides the most affordable, most future-proof method to label your inventory. For Aira specifically, it once again shifts more of the cost away from the end-user so that financial barriers will not always stand in the way of remote visual assistance.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction that will lead to greater independence.