Asda trials new tech for blind and partially sighted customers

Asda is trialling new technology in its Stevenage store which the supermarket said will make it easier for blind and partially sighted customers to navigate their way around.

From 3rd December, Asda’s flagship technology store in Stevenage will be integrated into the GoodMaps smartphone app, which it said is specifically built for use amongst the blind and partially sighted.

The supermarket said the app can pinpoint the user’s location to within a meter of accuracy and then communicate directions to an object or area via audio, enlarged visual, and touch commands.

Shoppers using the app will be able to search for key landmarks within the store such as the pharmacy, bathrooms, and tills.

In addition, the supermarket said the app can also be used to search for specific goods on the shelves with the aim of guiding the customer as close as possible to the item they are looking for.

‘’We strive to be an inclusive business and that includes making it easier for all of our customers to carry out a shop in one of our stores,” said Kane Stephenson, inclusion manager at Asda. “We hope that by working with GoodMaps we can understand how we can make the in-store experience better for our blind and partially sighted customers.”

He added: “Our Stevenage store is the ideal testing ground for this tool with it already being home to a number of tech trials including electronic shelf labels and holograms, and this trial will teach us how we can make shopping in Asda easier for customers with additional needs.’’

GoodMaps is a US based company which aims to improve the quality and scale of accessible navigation in indoor spaces.

The company creates and maintains accurate digital maps and indoor positioning technology.

Neil Barnfather, vice president Europe at GoodMaps, said: "It has been a real delight to work with ASDA on this project. Recognising not only the commercial value in providing an enhanced retail experience to shoppers, but, equally the ethical stance taken by ASDA in this regard has been both humbling and demonstrative of a corporate culture determined to make their offering not only inclusive but truly outstanding for all."

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