Availability of Aira in the UK
Does anybody know whether Aira, the app which allows visually impaired people to receive assistance from trained sighted agents, is available in the UK? I know that people can sign up as a guest and use Aira in any Aira Access locations but is there any other way that people in the UK can use Aira? For example, can people in the UK subscribe to Explorer plans? Are there any plans for the Horizon kit to be made available in the UK? I would like to take advantage of Aira's services as I feel that I would benefit from them, however I only want to do so if it is worth it as someone from the UK.
Look forward to reading your responses,
Hi Alice. Last year, Aira ran a pilot program in the UK, and the feedback we received from that was extremely positive. We do intend to offer a full range of Explorer plans including Horizon glasses in the future, but as of today I don't have a firm date for you.
In the meantime, as you rightly note in your post, Aira access is available in the UK. Aira Access means the service is free for you to use because a business is paying for your access time, much like free WiFi at a hotel or coffee shop. Currently, Heathrow airport is an Aira access location and we hope to make additional announcements soon.
Alternatively, an Aira Access offer may be task-specific as opposed to being location specific. An example of this is the offer Intuit Quickbooks sponsors for blind and low vision people who operate a small business. Thanks to that offer, any task relating to the operation of that business is free to use.
Hope this helps and we certainly appreciate your interest.
aira are currently offering a free trial option which is certainly valid in the UK as I decided to take advantage of it. I have almost certainly no intentions of actually becoming a paid explorer, but seeing as the trial offer is there I thought I would make use of it.
I am not keen on the fact that the trial is seven days with 30 free minutes, what I mean is that we are expected to use our 30 minutes within the seven days. In fact this is an issue I have over all with the way aira works that once you pay for your minutes for the month assuming you don't use them all you lose them at the end of the month, I would far rather pay for a block in advance then use them as and when I decide I want to not have them expired on me just because I didn't find enough excuses in the month to use them. In fact I have a very long task I could see myself using aira for but its not a very urgent one for me to do. If I had the option to pay for minutes in advance and didn't have the month limitation of having to use them by its end that might actually make me more inclined to sign up. as I actually could have done with aira for navigation the other day as well, the problem is I just wouldn't use it that regularly and would almost certainly waste some of my minutes.
But I will say for the few tasks I have used it for the agents were friendly and helpful, also at the moment you only get American agents, the in app upgrade option shows prices in dollars, and its not clear if the inapp upgrade is done through iTunes or if you have to go to a separate website.
also, at the moment the app only lists US contact numbers for contacting them if you don't want to sign up through the inapp upgrade, though I know there is a UK number somewhere, though I read several reports of people having to leave answer phone messages with them and having issues getting assistance.
also I have heard of a few cases of UK people signing up then not being able to cancel when they wanted, two in fact which would make me hesitant to sign up I must admit. but pretty much everybody has positive things to say about it to be fair. But I would certainly be interested to know if the majority of users are say young like me, in there 30s or if the majority are more elderly and lost there site in later life.
Jonathan Mosen has done a very good comprehensive tutorial about aira which explains in great detail about how to use the app, and has various testimonials in it as well, though it doesn't point out you forfeit unused minutes at the end of a month which I feel it should in the interests of transparency. I would recommend it based on my experiences so far though. But they don't always offer the free trial at least I don't think so, and I do think its something people do need to try before they buy.
I'd relly love to see Aira or a similar sevice in Germany as well. For me this is the next step of Be My Eyes. I'd be willing to pay the service because of its availability and it would be trustworty.So please bring Aira to Germany as well!!