Announcing the Wayfindr Standard

Katherine Payne
September 10, 2015

New Open Navigation Standard Kickstarts Independent Travel For Blind People


The Wayfindr standard will open up the world to blind people. Bringing users consistent, turn-by-turn, directions via their smartphones following successful trials on the London Underground.

Wayfindr empowers vision impaired people across the world to travel independently. Opening up indoor spaces, such as train stations and shopping centres with turn by turn navigation. The open standard is built on a foundation of rigorous user research. It will feed into digital navigation services, apps, and the built environment. This will create consistent, seamless, and reliable experiences across locations, services and platforms.

Following collaboration on previous trials on the London Underground, the Royal London Society for Blind People and ustwo have founded an organisation to develop the Wayfindr standard. Their joint venture demonstrates the potential impact of innovation between businesses and charities, merging expertise to solve societal problems.

This joint venture has given ustwo the opportunity to take our social innovation to the next level. Wayfindr began as part of our Invent Time programme (our social R+D) – to see it progress to a global standard is truly astounding. It shows the tremendous power of how collaboration between experts, from the for-profit and non-profit sectors, can create an organisation ready to tackle a global challenge. - Scott Ewings, Former Managing Director at ustwo, London
Blind people no longer need a pocket full of expensive gadgets to get around, just their smartphones. The Wayfindr standard allows us to amplify the impact of RLSB’s Youth Forum across the world, ensuring that wherever we want to go we will get the same information – very reassuring. - Dr Tom Pey, Chief Executive of the Royal London Society for Blind People
Built into the Wayfindr standard is a determination to create social, economic, and personal value for users. During our trials to date there has been an increase in the confidence of the participants. Thanks to our open model I believe that as the adoption of the Wayfindr standard increases, this impact will propagate across the globe. - Umesh Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Wayfindr

The standard will unite global players across sight loss, navigation technologies, transport and other digital innovations. It has already gained support from Transport for LondonComic ReliefNominet Innovation, app developers BlindSquare and beacon manufacturers Kontakt.io.

Trialling Wayfindr on the Tube showed what a difference digital navigation could make for vision impaired people. We love that it comes directly from young people wanting to get around on their own, and was developed and trialled hand-in-hand with users. We’re pleased to be leading understanding of the transport sector for Wayfindr, which also fits our commitment to open data. While we have staff at all Tube stations to help people, whenever they need, it’s great to be involved in a project that could open up our networks to more independent travel. - Kuldeep Gharatya, London Underground’s Head of Technical Strategy, System Performance & Innovation
Our app, BlindSquare, supports travellers who are blind and wish to adventure with confidence and autonomy. We do this based on research, testing and validation by blind users globally. We support the open exchange of information supporting standards that benefit our friends, and are happy to align with this work from the start. - Ilkka Pirttimaa, head and founder of MIPsoft, and lead developer of BlindSquare
Here at Nominet we are actively investigating emerging technologies, with specific interest in the Internet of Things. I’m keen to see what Nominet R&D can build with the Wayfindr standard, using beacon technology in an exciting and innovative way. - David Simpson, Senior Researcher at Nominet Research and Development
Kontakt.io itself began as a solution to help vision impaired people navigate public spaces. An open standard like Wayfindr is a great idea, and ustwo and the RLSB have a great use for beacons and proximity that we’re happy to be a part of. - Szymon Niemczura, Co-founder and CEO at Kontakt.io, a global BLE Beacon manufacturer
Back in April, Comic Relief launched our Tech for Good pilot programme, supporting not-for-profit organisations to deliver digital innovation. By opening up a world of independent travel to visually impaired young people our grant to RLSB to develop the Wayfindr app will demonstrate the value of tech for good, by helping make the city more accessible to all. - Gilly Green, Comic Relief, Head of UK Grants

Wayfindr invites all those who could contribute to the standard to sign up in the footer below to be the first to hear about opportunities to join our alliance.

Find out more about the Open Standard here.

Katherine Payne

Our team combines the digital product and user centred design expertise of ustwo, with the Royal London Society for Blind People’s 175 years of experience working with blind people.