When Turkcell, Turkey’s leading GSM Operator, and YGA, a non-profit organization, approached us with an innovative project aimed at helping the visually impaired at a time when corporate responsibility was not yet part of our portfolio, we leaped at the chance. The result was Hayal Ortagim (My Dream Companion), a complete mobile and web based solution that won many accolades and garnered a great deal of critical acclaim.
Hayal Ortagim is a hub for audible content from newspapers, magazines, books, horoscopes, and useful information such as the user’s location, weather reports, exchange rates, and nearby hospitals, pharmacies, and restaurants. The information is curated from many different sources that work with various formats. In order to keep everything in sync and of the same structure, we built a queue processor atop ActiveMQ technology. This queue processor funnels the torrent of data into properly ordered, appropriately structured, speech synthesized (TTS engine powered) consumable chunks of data that are then distributed to all clients.
Using beacon technologies we later added indoor voice-aided navigation as an option. Signals received from the beacons are used to notify the user of where in the mall they are, where they need to take caution (e.g. escalators), and which shops they are passing by.
Finally, in a move to involve the visually impaired where no one would’ve have thought possible, we added a cinema option. Using audio matching technology the app detects where in the movie the current scene is and describes what is on the screen leaving the rest up to the user’s imagination.
Hayal Ortagim went on to be the first project to win two GSMA awards and has helped over 150,000 visually impaired users overcome difficulties, access a variety of content, educate themselves, and enjoy outings with friends. It is a project we take great pride in, and the results speak for themselves.