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How One Man Turned a Lifetime Struggle with Getting Lost into a Global Social Impact Business.

What is RightHear?

RightHear transforms public spaces into accessible environments for the blind, visually impaired, and orientationally challenged. Their real-time geo-specific audio descriptions allow locations to come to life. These Talking Signs provide an immersive experience of any venue so people can navigate and orient themselves confidently and independently.

The Current Landscape

We’re entering the era of the Great Return where employees are physically going back to work. Those with low or no vision need improvements in accessibility for navigating and exploring physical environments. Braille signs are one solution, but only 10% of this community can read braille. And you need to know where the sign is located in order to read it.

As Covid-19 restrictions ease, we’re still very much in a “no touch” era. RightHear’s contactless accessible signage is an example of how businesses can leverage technology to create inclusive, sanitary, and accessible customer and employee experiences.

We’re also in the age of autonomous vehicles. RightHear is proud to partner with Volkswagen Group to develop a Proof-of-Concept for accessible autonomous vehicles to benefit the blind and low-vision. As the winners of the VW Konnect Startup Challenge 2021, RightHear is making Mobility as a Service accessible and inclusive to support the transportation, travel, and tourism industries.

Whilst there are other navigation and mapping solutions available, RightHear is the only accessible wayfinding solution that focuses on navigation and orientation. Navigation is about getting from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. Orientation however, is about knowing where you are in relation to your surroundings. It puts the users of the RightHear app in direct control of their environment.

And RightHear is installed in more locations worldwide (over 2,000 and counting) than any other solution in the market to date.

Company Birth Story

From a very young age, Idan Meir, CoFounder and CEO of RightHear, found navigating and orienting himself in public spaces frustrating. He struggled to create mental maps, determine cardinal directions, or even get his bearings from landmarks.

During his Army service, Idan undertook extensive orientation training but always came last in the challenges because he got lost and disoriented; every single time.

Fast-forward a few years and Idan, alongside his business partner Gil Elgrably, were building a retail couponing business. Whilst scouting opportunities in the local mall, Idan kept getting lost. That’s when they realised they could serve thousands of people who need help navigating and orienting themselves in public spaces. Immediately they set to work. And in 2015, RightHear was born.

The Solution

RightHear provides audible signage to help users explore and experience their surroundings. The technology works both indoors and outdoors because it does not require an internet connection or GPS.

RightHear’s proprietary technology comprises of 3 components:

  • Access beacons. These beacons are discreetly placed at points of interest e.g. lobbies, elevators, restrooms. Messages can be pre-programmed and adapted for announcements, offers, menus, and emergency evacuation procedures.

  • Smartphone app. Free on both iOS and Android, the app delivers audio information directly to the user. There’s no need for the customer to take out their phone and scan their environment, which supports safety and discretion.

  • Customizable dashboard. Businesses and organisations have access to a private, secure management dashboard where they can set up the notifications, receive reports, and conduct analyses.

Since month 2, RightHear has been a profitable business. And they were fully bootstrapped the entire time. They even won the 2020 GeekTime Bootstrapped Startup of the Year award!

The company’s vision is to make the world accessible. To do that, buildings, cities, public spaces, and transportation networks need to be accessible and inclusive. Taking a Universal Design approach, and aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 (to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), is the most effective way to provide an equitable experience for all.

RightHear has partnered with leading international brands like McDonald's, Microsoft, and Costa Coffee to improve accessibility compliance as well as promote inclusion.

A Customer Story

Here’s a video from Tali, who’s life was transformed once she started using RightHear.

There is also a video from McDonald’s showing how the app works within a business

A Founder Quote

“There's an unfortunate misconception that the disability ecosystem is a niche market. But the truth is that accessibility is for everyone, and everyone is a HUGE market” - Idan Meir, CoFounder and CEO.

“Independence is a necessity to live life to the fullest” - Gil Elgrably, CoFounder and CIO.

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