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Microsoft partners with Be My Eyes to provide 24/7 Disability Answer Desk technical support for customers with a vision impairment

Cartoon of Microsoft Operators , phone and keyboard.Earlier this month the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk, a service offering customers with disabilities support for Microsoft Office and Windows, announced an expanded partnership with Be My Eyes to provide 24 hours, 7 days a week assistance to visually impaired customers.

Microsoft’s Disability Answer Desk originally partnered with Be My Eyes earlier in 2018 offering support during the day, but, in early August 2018, have announced the expansion of the program allowing customers to use the service at any time that suits them. The Microsoft Disability Answer Desk was the first organisation to offer this service through the “Specialized Help” section of the Be My Eyes application.

Be My Eyes is a free application developed to help those with a vision impairment receive assistance from a sighted volunteer or registered business via a live video call. The application works by allowing a visually impaired user to make a connection with a volunteer through a video call in order to help with anything from finding dropped or lost items to reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.

Be My Eyes now has over 1.5 million volunteers ready to receive a call and lend a helping voice at any time. Anyone can download the free app from Apple’s App Store (available here; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/be-my-eyes-helping-blind-see/id905177575?mt=8) or Google’s Playstore (available here; https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bemyeyes.bemyeyes) to become a user or a volunteer. The app has two options to call a volunteer or specialized help (a connection to businesses), when a call is initiated the app will contact the next available volunteer and usually connects within 30 seconds. When connected the caller can describe the task they need visual assistance with and the volunteer can direct and advise the caller based on their request.

With their partnership Microsoft can now offer visual support to their customers to aid them with the installation of Microsoft Office, troubleshooting internet connections or even just learning about the physical properties of a new device. This collaboration is able to remove the visual barrier for customers who usually would encounter such difficulties. The Disability Answer Desk support  is available to Be My Eyes customers in Australia, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States.

For more information on the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk click here.

For further information on the Be My Eyes applications click here

If you require further information on supporting people with vision impairments, Universal Design or have any general queries on accessibility we would be delighted to help. You can contact a member of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected]