Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is the First Employer in the Nation to Join the Aira Employer Network

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The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is the first employer in the nation to join the Aira Employer Network and offer Aira’s assistive technology service to its employees. MABVI and Aira are making a joint announcement today—February 20, 2018—to launch the initiative from Aira’s headquarters in La Jolla, CA with representatives from the National Federation of the Blind and American Foundation for the Blind.

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This wearable technology provides wireless access to a distributed network of trained professionals.

The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is the first employer in the nation to join the Aira Employer Network and offer Aira’s assistive technology service to its employees. MABVI and Aira are making a joint announcement to launch the initiative from Aira’s headquarters in La Jolla, CA with representatives from the National Federation of the Blind and American Foundation for the Blind. Using Aira smart glasses or smartphone cameras, MABVI blind and low vision employees will be able to stream live video of their workplace surroundings with Aira agents, on-demand. With this live view, trained Aira agents can provide real-time narrative of the workplace, and assist with job-related tasks.

“Assistive platforms like Aira give our staff unprecedented improvements in productivity,” says Sassy Outwater-Wright, Director of MABVI, speaking from the announcement event in La Jolla. “By giving our blind and low vision employees this service, we aim to level the playing field for all staff, which, in the end, better serves the needs of our clients.”

“We are committed to expanding Aira in the workplace throughout the U.S. with the introduction of the Aira Employer Network,” said Suman Kanuganti, Co-Founder and CEO of Aira. “We are proud to announce its first member, MABVI, who has shown tremendous dedication to advancing work opportunities for people with vision loss.”

According to the National Federation of the Blind, 62 percent of working-age adults who are blind are unemployed. With the aging of baby boomers, the number of Americans living with vision loss and blindness is expected to skyrocket. Most uncorrectable vision loss in this country is age related. More than 70% of the individuals becoming legally blind each year are seniors. By 2030, it is estimated that the population over the age of 65 will have doubled, and nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65. As seniors become an increasingly larger portion of the population, the portion of individuals who are blind and visually impaired will grow correspondingly.

“The benefits of these kinds of services, both directly and indirectly, have a tremendous positive impact on our entire society,” says Barbara Salisbury, CEO of MAB Community Services, the umbrella organization that runs MABVI. “We are showing that with the right support, people who are blind and visually impaired can do anything they set their minds to.”

Through its Aira Employment Program, Aira is partnering with employers, schools, and public spaces to expand its service to meet this growing need. This wearable technology provides wireless access to a distributed network of trained professionals who assist users as needed. With assistive technologies like Aira, people with visual impairments can become more independent at home and in their communities, and better secure jobs by navigating employment websites, filling out application forms, building resumes, and traveling to prospective employers.

About MABVI

After more than a century, MABVI recognizes that vision loss doesn’t have to mean the end of a full life. Their expertise lies in helping individuals adapt to vision loss and learn to live safely with limited or no vision. Their unique medical-social model combines vision rehabilitation with peer support, education, 1:1 volunteer assistance, and training on assistive technologies.
Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is the oldest social service organization in the country that serves adults and elders who are blind or visually impaired. They provide vision rehabilitation services and partner with community and medical groups to create high-impact, cost-effective services.

About Aira

Aira is AI + AR for the blind. Aira combines the power of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality with wearable technologies, plus the interaction of its network of trained remote human assistants, to provide the 300 million blind and low vision people around the globe immediate access to information and assistance. Aira’s technology not only greatly enhances independence and mobility for those with vision loss, but also forms the basis of its endeavor to create smart cities that are accessible for all. Learn more at aira.io.

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David Brown
MABVI
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Joe Benincasa
Romanelli Communications
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