Pitney Bowes and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority Create Mobile App to Help Improve Accessibility for Disabled People Through Crowdsourcing

STAMFORD, Conn. & STOCKHOLM, September 08, 2014 - Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) today announced that it has developed a mobile application to help disabled people find, create and share information about accessible restaurants, shops and services with €200,000 in funding from the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS), a government agency that oversees postal and telecommunications services for the country.

People with disabilities have long been challenged to find accessible locations that meet their daily needs. The “Öppen Handel” mobile application makes it quick and easy to find accessible locations, by utilizing crowdsourced data to locate a list of disability-friendly stores, restaurants and cafes. Users can easily upload geotagged photos of specific places and search for nearby venues on a map to evaluate their accessibility.

The solution ensures continual accessibility improvements by incorporating improvement suggestions (via a checklist) and enabling users to report inaccurate data. The application is compatible with both Android and iOS, and leverages Pitney Bowes’ Spectrum Location Intelligence platform to associate geocoded data with precise physical locations and provides a rich user experience.

PTS chose to fund this particular project because of Pitney Bowes’ proposed crowdsourcing approach and the potential it saw for the app to dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities. The application, called “Öppen Handel” (Open Trade), was also selected because of the precision of Pitney Bowes’ geocoding technology in its Spectrum platform and its proven capabilities to integrate and manage large datasets with enterprise stability and performance.

“PTS has a mandate to provide community services to all of Sweden’s residents, including people with disabilities,” said Anders Franzén, Senior Innovation Officer, PTS. “Governments around the world are looking to leverage crowdsourcing and mobile applications to improve the lives of their citizens. Given our desire to improve services for the disabled, we looked to Pitney Bowes to create a mobile app that could combine location information with collaboration and sharing capabilities.”

“Since we first created the basic platform behind Öppen Handel, PTS has shown interest in using the underlying technologies to integrate data from other sources and expand the usefulness of the app,” added Kyrre Garseth, CES Sales Director, Continental Europe, Pitney Bowes Software. “One interesting potential example is for Swedish banks, where many rural bank branches have been closed. There are still places outside of urban areas that handle banking transactions, such as grocery stores, but they can be difficult to find. Öppen Handel makes it possible to help people find where they can bank or park. PTS is truly a forward-looking government agency and we are delighted to have the chance to work with them to develop further applications like these.”

The latest version of the mobile app includes capabilities such as social media sharing, the ability to show and hide categories of places, integration with cloud services to store photos and faster searches for places and map locations.

To download the app on Google Play, please visit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pb.oppenhandel

To download the app from iTunes (AppStore), please visit: https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/oppen-handel/id669909043

Connect with Pitney Bowes on LinkedIn.

About Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes provides technology solutions for small, mid-size and large firms that help them connect with customers to build loyalty and grow revenue. Many of the company’s solutions are delivered on open platforms to best organize, analyze and apply both public and proprietary data to two-way customer communications. Pitney Bowes includes direct mail, transactional mail and call center communications in its solution mix along with digital channel messaging for the Web, email and mobile applications. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com.

About the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority

http://www.pts.se/en-GB/ 
http://www.pts.se/innovation

Keywords: Pitney Bowes, Post and Telecom Authority, PTS, Sweden, Innovation, Location Intelligence, Geocoding, Data Management, Software, Disabled, Accessibility, Spectrum, Öppen Handel, Mobile App