Innovative Practice 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

Announce your visit and special request to stores and public services

Neatebox is a UK Social Good business, which is a for-profit operation with a strong focus on social impact, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2017, Neatebox launched their Welcome by Neatebox platform. Using iBeacon and other technologies and accessibility features of regular smartphones, people with disabilities can announce in advance their visit to a store, a public office, or a service company. Users can specify their service need, such as a barrier-free entry or support and guidance and recipients can plan and prepare for the visit. From July 2017 to June 2018 1,000 people downloaded the app.

“Neatebox is a good tool to educate customer service employees on helping people with disabilities, and it is empowering for users to know they can go places without having to worry.”

JudithConcierge at Jenner’s House of Fraser, a Neatebox client
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Welcome by Neatebox
Organisation:Neatebox
Country
of Implementation
United Kingdom

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Until November 2018, approximately 600 persons with disabilities made visits to participating businesses.
  • By November 2018, Neatebox has signed up 35 venues across the UK.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Research shows that a high percentage of people with disabilities leave a shop unsatisfied or are unhappy with the service they received. Although staff training is available, service performance for people with disabilities remains low.  

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

“Welcome by Neatebox” improves the communication and service between visitors (customers, clients, etc.) and staff by providing staff with essential information on how to interact with people with a disability and by giving users the confidence that their needs will be met upon arrival.Pre-placed Geofences (a geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area) and iBeacons communicate with the customer’s smartphone. At the same time, it alerts staff at a store or public service that someone with a disability is approaching and exactly what needs this individual has. Requirements might include barrier-free access, sign language availability, or a defined support service such as at an airport check-in.

The app empowers users to communicate their needs to customer service teams in a discrete manner, and enables them to enjoy greater independence when conducting every-day activities.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

Neatebox has extended its reach across the UK and Ireland and is planning to expand internationally. Key sectors are aviation, transport, tourism, leisure, hotels, retail, banking, and public services. By partnering with large organizations in each one of these industries, Neatebox seeks to improve customer service in venues that users with a disability frequently visit.

The “Welcome by Neatebox” app can be used across various types of venues and, with some minor alterations, can be implemented internationally.

The Scottish Edge Fund and private investors provided initial funding of €350,000. Neatebox is already realizing some revenue, but further funding will be needed to implement the company’s expansion plans.

FACTSHEET

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