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Deaf Smart Space

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DSS (Deaf Smart Space)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-07-01 do 2019-05-31

Deaf people encounter several major obstacles that prevent them from seamlessly integrating in society – and they are excluded from many of the ICT services that a hearing person simply takes for granted. This is especially true for the pre-lingual deaf with difficulties developing a spoken language, as well as reading and writing.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), partial hearing loss affects 466 million people worldwide and is likely to grow to one billion the next couple of decades due to the unsafe listening practices of the young generation (http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss).

Visualfy delivers ICT hardware, services, and a smartphone app that enables people with hearing deficiencies to interact more seamlessly with their environment. Specifically, Deaf Smart Space-Home (Visualfy Home) provides accessibility in private homes, while Deaf Smart Space-Places (Visualfy Places) provides accessibility in buildings such as hotels, museums, hospitals, train stations, and shopping centres.

Visualfy's mission is to sustainably improve the quality of life and the level of independence of deaf, enabling their inclusion in society, we received among others the support of the Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility at the United Nations (UN, http://unog.ch/). We, also, signed collaboration agreements with the Valencian Federation of Deaf (FESORD, www.fesord.org) the Spanish National Confederation of the Deaf (CNSE, www.cnse.es) the Spanish Confederation of Deaf Persons' Families (FIAPAS http://www.fiapas.es) and the Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel (SELA, www.sela.org.il).
In the first 11 month of the project, we turned our initial Visualfy Home prototype into a real product (https://youtu.be/fEoczA7sdKA). The official launch event took place on the 7th of March at the facilities of the Telefonica Foundation in Madrid (launch event video https://youtu.be/h3CEm4lKIdY) and Visualfy Home can now be bought through our web-shop (https://www.visualfy.com/es/tienda/visualfyhome/) and in GAES Valencia/Barón de Cárcer, with the option to expand to GAES' 600 shops throughout Spain and Latin America, should the Valencian pilot turn out successful.

Partly in parallel, we developed and started our first Visualfy Places pilot (https://www.visualfy.com/visualfy-places/) making Montsant Hotel, a four-star establishment located at the foot of the Castle of Xativa in the Valencia Community, that has an outstanding restaurant and offers rooms for celebrations, and events for private and business purposes (http://mont-sant.com/en/) truly accessible to deaf people.

Moreover, as part of our communication efforts, Visualfy was present with its own stand at the Mobile World Congress in 2018 and 2019 and received significant media coverage, for example, from CNN (https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=InP7DAKGXbw) or through Google as part of the “grow with Google” initiative (https://grow.google/intl/europe/story/4792824674385920) as well as the “I make Apps” initiative (https://www.blog.google/products/google-play/imakeapps-spanish-acrobat-makes-world-more-accessible-deaf-people/) and finally we achieve the goal to becoming a Google featured App and which helped our App downloads to rise from 166 to 4168 a week.
Our objective is to reach break-even this year, selling Visualfy Home and Visualfy Places in parallel. Further, we keep our eyes on internationalization, as some markets like the UK, the US or the Northern Europe Countries seem to react much faster to our innovative offerings, compared to a relatively slow Spanish market.

Expected growth will allow us to put Visualfy on a solid ground, giving stability to the 24 jobs that we have created within Visualfy and the two new jobs created at our subcontractors. Further, we plan to expand our engagement with the federations throughout Spain, Europe, and around the World, with our commitment to donate 0.7% of profits to their educational programs, to enhance deafs’ participation in society, and improve deafs’ access to the labour market.
Visualfy Home Basis Set
Visualfy Home Central Unit