The Power of Crowdsourcing: Comparing Aira to the Services of ‘Be My Eyes’

January 26th, 2015

Isn’t it amazing that two teams, located oceans apart, can be motivated by a common cause and inspired by a similar operating model to create a product to help the blind? The dual teams we are referring to are Aira, and Be My Eyes, the not-for-profit organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In pursuing their product objectives, both teams are avid users of crowdsourcing, a concept that has given birth to a wave of new products worldwide in recent years by obtaining needed services, ideas, or content through soliciting input from large groups of people, especially via online sources. It’s such a surprisingly simple concept that makes one wonder why it took so long for the world to implement.

In assisting blind and low-vision people with both simple and complicated everyday tasks — ranging from reading a restaurant menu to navigating city streets and intersections — Aira makes use of crowdsourcing by enlisting the help of the blind user’s family or friends, or the help of trained and certified agents to serve as visual interpreters via a novel cloud-based assistive technology. Aira’s use of crowdsourcing combined with personalized routing ensures that blind users can pick someone with whom they are comfortable to guide them.

Similar to Aira, Be My Eyes also chooses available sighted individuals ¨from the crowd¨ to serve as guides and visual interpreters. By ¨borrowing¨ the eyes of the crowd, this organization enables blind individuals to get their queries resolved and to proceed with their tasks without much hindrance. In the case of Be My Eyes, It’s a simple yet powerful way to use the crowd for small activities that don’t necessarily need the presence of a trained individual.

Reading about the services of Be My Eyes and researching this organization a bit further got us curious and we wanted to see how Aira compares and where we could improve. We put together a chart for our reference and decided it was a good one to share.

Learning about Be My Eyes and its team and services proves to us that harvesting power of the crowd to help those in need is a concept worth supporting and contributing to. With Aira, we strive to combine the untapped resource from the crowd with an intuitive agent training and certification, pairing it with robust, reliable systems engineering and personalized user service. Our aim is to build a long lasting relationship of trust and companionship that will empower the blind. If you can assist us, get in touch!