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FC Barcelona's commitment to people with disabilities takes a new step forward with the launch of a new project led by the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion department at the Club and the Barça Innovation Hub via the start-up Visualfy, specialist in creating technological solutions for deaf people and the hearing impaired.
The initiative sees the application of the 'Visualfy Places' at the Member Attention Office (OAB) located at Spotify Camp Nou. 'Visualfy Places' is a system of security alerts and accessible warnings that, via luminous signals and text, offer information for deaf people and the hearing impaired who have difficulty or cannot use acoustic signals which are commonly used in spaces of attention to the public.
Each colour, a message
As of several weeks ago, the OAB has installed two light points on the walls; one at the entrance behind the main desk and another at the back of the room. They consist of two lamps with the Visualfy logo, a letter 'v'. This lights are automated and they show various colours depending on the message being sent. Green is for information about next in line for attention and flashing yellow signifies that the office is about to close. An emergency evacuation is denoted by the colour red and purple is to show that service information is being delivered via a text message on the Visualfy application.
A poster at the OAB main desk announces that you are entering into an accessible area and offers the chance to application via a QR code which then locates the user and activates light signals and text notifications.
Aside from the prompts, there is also a magnetic loop at the OAB desks which captures the assistant's voice and sends it to the hearing aid or cochlear implant of the person in question, without ambient interference. The application completes its service with a voice transcription service to text in real time. The software captures the OAB officer's voice and shows the conversation on a telephone or tablet screen it develops.
The installation of these services convert the OAB into a more accessible space for deaf and hearing impaired people and shows that FC Barcelona is committed to people with disabilities and other vulnerable sectors of society. The objective that the Club proposes is to transfer these services to other parts of the facilities and also the Espai Barça.
New strategy for BIHUB: investment in start-ups
The project implemented at the OAB is being carried out with the help of Visualfy, a start up linked to the Barça Innovation Hub, the knowledge and innovation platform at FC Barcelona. This collaboration is the product of a new line of work strategy at BIHUB thanks to which the platform has moved to form part of the group of investors in various emerging businesses to promote business talent and capture the value of their growth.
Visualfy is a start-up founded in 2017 which offers solutions for people with disabilities or hearing impairment in situations such as homes, with Visualfy Home, or public spaces, as in the case of the OAB, with Visualfy Places; both initiatives were presented at the Mobile World Congress in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Recognised as a success by the United Nations and honoured, amongst other bodies, by the World Tourism Organization, Visualfy has the patent for its services registered in over forty countries around the world.
Elena Fort, vice president of the Institutional Area at FC Barcelona:
“FC Barcelona is firmly committed to accessibility and this new proposal is aimed towards people with deafness or hearing impairment, and it is a great satisfaction to us. We are a club that is open to everyone and the implementation of this system of alerts to the OAB an integrated, accessible and, in the end, better space. It is an achievement that shows the way forward for the rest of the Club's facilities and also the Espai Barça."
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