2019 has definitely been one of the most exciting years for Be My Eyes thus far. It has been a year packed with exciting partnerships, growth and a fresh new look. While looking forward to what we know will be an amazing 2020, we’re also reminiscing about all of the great things that happened in 2019. Here are our highlights of 2019 - what was your highlight?
At the start of the year, we realized we didn’t have any video or media that told our whole story, in one place. Luckily, an award from Zedem Animations, a Cypriot animation company, enabled us to craft an animated video to explain who we are in just 2 minutes. The finished video is out now, and you can watch it here:
Over the years, we have received a lot of traffic and attention from the website Reddit. People were excited to discover Be My Eyes, but they also had a lot of questions about the service. To answer as many as possible, we decided to host our very first AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit on February 7th, where people had a chance to ask all their questions to the Be My Eyes team.
On March 13th, we launched our second Specialized Help partner; Google. Blind and low-vision users in English-speaking countries could now connect directly with a Google agent through a live Be My Eyes call. The day after the Google launch, the Be My Eyes Community reached 2 million volunteers.
In April, Be My Eyes participated in the Accessible Transport for Berlin challenge, where we alongside other startups and public transport providers in Berlin worked on solutions to improve public transportation for people with disabilities. The most innovative solutions received a reward, and we were honored to walk away with one of the top cash prizes. Later that month, we welcomed Lloyds Banking group to Specialized Help, allowing blind and low-vision users in the UK to receive assistance with their banking if they are customers of Lloyd’s Bank, Halifax or Bank of Scotland.
On a cloudy spring day in Regent’s Park in London, members of the Be My Eyes team participated in RNIB’s Double Dash fundraising run. To give an understanding of how people who are blind usually participate in runs, everyone would run in pairs and be tethered together by the wrist. Later that month, we were honored to receive a Blackwood Design Award. We rounded off the month by welcoming Herbal Essences to the Specialized Help family, making haircare more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.
When Google started offering support through Be My Eyes in March, the service was only available in native English-speaking countries. In June they decided to make the service available globally.
In July, Clearblue joined the Be My Eyes Community, offering their professional advisors to guide and read results of pregnancy and fertility tests through Specialized Help. It is now possible for blind and low-vision women to get their results anonymously, so that they can share the news when they're ready. Later that month, we launched the Be My Eyes Podcast. The podcast explores, blindness, sight and the sometimes blurry in-between. We release new episodes bi-weekly, and you can listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
In September, we welcomed another P&G brand to Specialized Help. Blind and low-vision users can now get expert assistance in picking out and using Pantene products.
October was an amazing and busy month for Be My Eyes. The month started off with World Sight Day on October 10th. On this day we saw some big campaigns with both Herbal Essences and Clearblue - you can check out the video we did with Clearblue here:
October was also the month where we could finally reveal the new look of Be My Eyes which consisted of an updated logo and fresh new colors. On White Cane Day, we were happy to announce NFB as a Specialized Help partner, being the first blind organization onboard the platform. It was also the month where we could finally reveal our collaborative video with Google and Microsoft, who had come together for the first time ever to promote Be My Eyes. You can check out the result of that here:
In November, we started sharing videos as part of our Community Stories format to make them even more personal - we hope you like them! This month, we also reached 3 million volunteers in the Be My Eyes Community. Our amazing community truly made this month special – and we can’t believe that 1 million people signed up over the course of just nine months!
This month, Google extended their opening hours on Be My Eyes to be available for callers from all over the world. You can now call Google Disability Support through Be My Eyes Monday to Friday from 1 AM to 5:30 PM PT.
There’s so much more exciting news coming in 2020, and we can’t wait to share. Thanks for an amazing year! We’ll see you in the new decade for an incredible 2020!