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hapticom launches the world‘s 1st special tablet for over 20 million visually impaired people in the EU, enabling them access to barrier-free digital information and communication with all of society

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Ph1ProHap2 (hapticom launches the world‘s 1st special tablet for over 20 million visually impaired people in the EU, enabling them access to barrier-free digital information and communication with all of society)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2015-07-31

The projected vision is to become the market leader of special devices for visually impaired people all over the world. Hence, hapticom develops a platform for visually impaired people, that integrates specific hardware and software to enable communication, information and services. The outcome of this is comprehensive social integration and inclusion and thus, noticeable improved participation in daily life and society. This is precisely what hapticom aspires to, entrepreneurship with high financial but also social return.

With the feasibility study conducted the main objectives and corresponding actions are:
i) understanding demand on a European level with the help of a market study
ii) quality assessment consisting in verifying and improving technological approach by testing the current prototype on sample group
iii) environmental / industrial sector analysis, enhancing the marketing mix and reassessing resources for dissemination actions.

All actions, combined in six work packages, structure the methodological approach of the feasibility study to reassure the achievement of the milesstones / objectives and the viability for the underlying project – especially regarding technological and economic perspective.
"Product testings and development:

At the beginning participants' testing of the haptiPad 1 were carried out. Among others, a teacher from a school for blind, blind and highly visually disabled people, and sales experts in this field gave extensive feedback on the first prototype and the blind market itself. Important key insights and requirements for the next prototype 2 were gained thereby.

In May 2015 the follow-up direct participants' test was executed with the new device. More (confidential) detail on the very valuable insights and findings are documented in the feasibility study (see subchapter 2.1.3). Upon completion of Phase 1 of SME instrument, the comprehensive and highly valuable feedback for the new prototype 3 will be taken into account. Thereby, the TRL 7 (a commercial beta version) should soon be developed ultimately.

Need for a specific app development – a key finding: It is highly important for the users to be able to communicate with their surroundings for free via data exchange similar to “WhatsApp”, in addition to SMS. This significant requirement is above the most demanding and complex task points, so that the team immediately devoted itself to a ""Proof of Concept"" in the form of an app-demonstrator. Then, from April 2015 on, a functional messenger app, the haptiChat has actually been developed. This program runs both on the haptiPad as well as on any smartphone or tablet with Android operating system. Thereby, the product range of hapticom and the degree of users' freedom could be significantly advanced.

Market study / industrial sector analysis:

The market analysis is a central focal point of the support program SME instrument (Phase 1), making it a central part of the feasibility study. So, the market analysis / study contains the systematic collection and analysis of information of all the factors that affect the demand for the services offered by hapticom. Apart from the demand side (including customer requirements) for the haptiPad device, the supply side (e.g. competition) also is important to be understood.

The study of literature is the foundation of each study – hence the present. So, it became clear that this research needs to be extended by an empirical part. Here, a qualitative approach was chosen since the investigation process can then be very open, which is very useful, considering the very sparsely studied subject area and the particular target group. From the existing methods' reservoirs of qualitative research, the qualitative interview was selected for this survey – particularly suitable for studies of exploratory character.

The environmental analysis is a third major component of this market and strategy analysis for further business planning. Here the attractiveness of the industry is determined by the analysis and evaluation of the five top influencing factors on hapticom’s industry structure by Porter’s ""5-forces model"".

As a result of the previous parts the following market forecast can now be submitted: Determinants and factors of the demand and the supply side are gathered. A very profound market-potentialanalysis of the target market has been carried out. Hence, the relevant market has been defined clearly, and thereby segmented well. Overall, the market situation resp. the chosen target market is very attractive for the involvement of hapticom.
All proposed work packages / actions, conducted within the realm of phase 1 of SME Instrument, have been executed successfully. The subsequent deliverables are consolidated in a feasibility study, which clearly confirms the technological, practical and economical viability of hapticom’s innovative business idea. The new constructed prototype of the haptiPad – close to a commercial beta – underlines the team’s capability to implement the product solution. The market study proves the high market potential in terms of company competitiveness (USPs), growth and risk management.

Accordingly, the project shall continue by all means. The strategically well-positioned company hapticom should be absolutely active in the targeted attractive industry (structure) & market segment and ought to expand the development of its strong position within this industry continuously. In particular, considering that firstly, the primary target group of deafblind people is over 30 % larger within the EU than assumed before. Secondly, the study has found another customer target group next to deafblind and blind – severely visually impaired people. And lastly, all test person and interview partners have been very excited and supportive with regard to the haptiPad. Besides those essential findings, the feasibility study confirms the great prospect of hapticom’s approach, concept and social / economical impacts (on people as well as on markets) as described in the grant agreement.

The only major challenge left for a successful market launch is securing a part of the financial resources of the venture. Hence, it is highly recommended to apply for phase 2 of SME instrument to finance the 70 % of the capital needs.