305 RBC branches (about 25% of the Canadian network) recently introduced the BlindSquare app to their customers to offer greater independence for those with vision loss. It’s estimated that 1.5 million Canadians identify as having some form of sight loss, which can be a barrier when entering unfamiliar locations such as shops, banks, new streets, etc. RBC has taken the innovative stance to change this with their recent integration with BlindSquare, the world’s most widely used accessible GPS app developed for the blind, deafblind, and partially sighted.
“You need to be able to make intelligent decisions once you enter an unfamiliar location. That means relying on sensory clues other than vision to navigate the world around you,” says Debbie, a long-time customer of RBC.
“For instance, if I am in a mall, I’ll listen for the sound of a water fountain, as that likely indicates I’m in a central location. The smell of a food court or the beeps of an ATM can also give me clues to where I am in proximity to other things.”
Clayton Van Esch, an RBC executive shares that the BlindSquare integration with the bank’s branches was well worth the effort. “BlindSquare, along with its EVENT app, is more than a ‘find your bank’ tool. It’s a doorway to greater independence and a lifestyle tool for blind and partially sighted people,” explains Clayton. “We often talk about being most helpful to our clients by being on our clients’ path. BlindSquare and its EVENT app make that path accessible even when it cannot be seen.”
David Demers, President, CNIB Frontier Accessibility, shared that “Canadians living with disabilities represent purchasing power of $55 billion annually. These potential customers, their families and friends, frequent banks, and other financial institutions. An accessible and inclusive establishment allows blind and partially sighted customers more independence and security when dealing with sensitive information, such as their personal finances. An accessible experience draws in new customers and keeps them coming back again and again.”
“Financial independence is an essential part of social participation. New technologies allow us to interact with our communities in a way never possible before,” says David. “Now, with greater abilities to participate in the world around us, provided by socially conscious corporations like RBC, blind people like me can better engage with and contribute to the society we are a part of. Obviously, the independence this technology brings provides me multiple benefits, but there is also an upside for our economy and the greater community.”
We look forward to continuing to expand this program with our friends at RBC. Are you a banker who would benefit from RBC’s BlindSquare integration? Anyone can download the free version of BlindSquare’s EVENT app from the iOS App Store to assist in navigating throughout your community, likely including your local RBC branch.