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Meet Tara Williams of Foresight Augmented Reality (FAR)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Williams.

FAR was started by three longtime friends, Dave, Chris and Tara. Dave was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosis when he was in college. Since then, Dave has gradually lost his sight. Over the years, Tara and Chris have watched how the simple tasks of daily life have become more and more challenging for Dave. Things a sighted person takes for granted have now become obstacles for Dave to independently interact with the world.

While tools like GPS are helpful in getting to the area where someone is going, it can leave you up to a block away from where you need to be and cannot indicate the front door of a building. Inside a building, it can’t help you get to where you need to go, like a restroom. Dave once said, “Do you know how embarrassing it is to be a grown man and have to ask someone to take you to the bathroom?”. Little dependencies like this leave people who are blind wanting to stay home and not become a burden to others.

Tara and Chris both have extensive backgrounds in technology and were both entering a time when they were looking for a new venture and wanting to do something that would be impactful. Watching Dave they thought, how can we use technology to make someone like Dave’s life easier and more enjoyable? And thus, FAR was born…

Since then, FAR has evolved to not only meet the needs of the blind and visually impaired but to include features that provide real commercial value to the businesses that become part of the network. FAR is now in 6 states and 2 cities in the UK.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
All new businesses have challenges. When FAR started, we were focused on developing a system that would provide the blind and visually impaired with greater independence and confidence to get out take advantage of what society has to offer. We also wanted to ensure that the solution would be free for those who needed it. That meant that the businesses we were making accessible would pay for the service.

We discovered that social responsibility alone would not motivate businesses to come on board. Therefore, we shifted the businesses to add more features increasing the commercial value and revenue growth potential for those businesses. The response has been incredible!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Foresight Augmented Reality (FAR) – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
FAR helps businesses become accessible, in turn giving a voice to the physical world for the blind and visually impaired. We do this through the combination of our FAR Vision smartphone app, Bluetooth beacons, and our proprietary back-end systems. We install a small Bluetooth beacon at any brick and mortar business/organization that interacts with the public. This includes government buildings, grocery stores, restaurants and even parks and pathways.

The blind and visually impaired then use our free FAR Vision app to navigate to the FAR Accessible location, locate the entrance, get contextual information about the location (including menus at restaurants) and locate indoor points of interest (like restrooms, reception desks, etc), all through audio on their phone. Our products provide much greater accuracy than any GPS service and the businesses are able to easily manage all content provided and make instant updates. We are the only company of our kind providing both a social service with real commercial value to the businesses on our network!

We are most proud of the direct impact we are making on the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are constantly evolving our product line to improve and add to the functionality available. We are planning to develop a new app that will provide many of the same services around indoor navigation for the sighted. If you have ever tried to find a doctor’s office in a large hospital or a government office, you will understand the demand for this app.

Our goal is to ensure that the product lines give enough value to the businesses on our network that everyone will want the service, this, in turn, enables the service to be available to more blind and visually impaired.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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