Envision, City of Wichita and Gimbal announce partnership to put Beacon technology in City Bus Stops

May 06, 2016
Wichita, Kan. – Envision, the City of Wichita Transit Department and Gimbal, Inc. announced a partnership today that marks the first step toward revolutionizing mass transit within Wichita for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. As part of the joint pilot project, Gimbal beacons will be installed at 1,200 Wichita Transit bus stops and Envision’s two Wichita locations on Main and Water Streets. Gimbal, a California-based technology company, will supply the beacons and the tools needed to effectively manage the solution. 

“People with vision loss who rely on public transportation to get them to their daily destinations often face challenges navigating to and from bus stops. The partnership between Envision, Wichita Transit and Gimbal is focused on alleviating those challenges through innovation,” said Envision President and CEO Michael Monteferrante. “While our driving goal is to increase independence for Envision employees and the people who use our services, the system we create has the potential to become a model for other cities to follow.”

Wichita’s beacon project will utilize Bluetooth low-energy signals to broadcast navigational information and timely and relevant messages to smart phones near areas where the beacons are installed, allowing users to pinpoint locations with greater accuracy than can be achieved with basic GPS applications. City officials see it as a necessary step forward for the community.

“For Wichita to continue to be a first class city, it is essential to have a dependable and accessible public transportation system,” said Wichita City Manager Robert Layton. “Wichita Transit Director Steve Spade will be working closely with Envision and Gimbal to implement the pilot project and direct future development.”

A timeline for installation is being finalized. Plans call for the beacons to go live as soon as they are put in place. At that time, all Wichita bus riders will have the opportunity to download a free smart phone application that will provide details about system usage. After this initial application, the new insights will drive the development of a mobile application specifically tailored for blind or visually impaired riders. Envision, Wichita Transit and Gimbal will work together to onboard qualified mobile application developers. 
 
“Gimbal is proud to have its technology play a pivotal role in this pilot project supported by Envision and the Wichita Transit Department to make mass transit accessible to everyone,” said Jeff Russakow, Gimbal’s chief executive officer. “We expect great results that will become a point of pride for the diverse Wichita community and become a blueprint for how mobile can be used in innovative ways.”

About Envision: Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kan., Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for the blind and visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. For more information, visit envisionus.com.

About the Wichita Transit System
Wichita Transit is committed to meeting the needs and priorities of the citizens of Wichita with the most courteous, affordable, reliable, and economical public transportation possible. Visit wichitatransit.org for more information.

About Gimbal, Inc.
Gimbal, Inc. is connecting brands, venues, events and retailers with their customers in exciting new ways by providing leading-edge mobile technologies and solutions. With advanced geofencing, the world's largest deployment of industry-leading Bluetooth Smart beacons, location-based engagement, analytics, unmatched security features and privacy controls, the Gimbal platform helps drive mobile app engagement and loyalty. Visit gimbal.com for more information or contact Keri Danielski, VP of Marketing, Gimbal, Inc., by email at press@gimbal.com or online at www.gimbal.com.

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