|Title||NOW, WORDS AREN'T JUST HEARD, BUT FELT.|
|Product / Service||SAMSUNG GOOD VIBES|
|Category||G07. Corporate Purpose & Social Responsibility|
|Entrant||CHEIL INDIA Gurgaon, INDIA|
|Idea Creation||CHEIL INDIA Gurgaon, INDIA|
|Production||CHEIL INDIA Gurgaon, INDIA|
|Vinod Sivan||Cheil India Pvt Ltd||Group Creative Director|
|Nishith Sidana||Cheil India Pvt Ltd||Creative Supervisor Copy|
500,000+ deafblind people in India have no way to communicate but hand-sign and Braille, which most non-disabled people don’t understand. The world of the deafblind is limited to 'touch' while the rest of the world’s technology has gone audio-visual, distancing them further. Samsung Good Vibes app is a new form of smartphone communication that converts Morse code tap inputs by the deafblind into text, and audio/text messages into vibrations. It translates text/audio messages into haptic responses (vibrations) and vice versa. Supported by a digital campaign and training workshops - it garnered 20,000+ app downloads; and the cause generated 200Mn+ conversations.
Since the invention of Braille in 1824, there has not been much progress in the way in which the deafblind can communicate. As they suffer from impairment of sight and hearing it becomes nearly impossible for them to reach out to the world. While communication technology has progressed leaps and bounds from text and speech to images and video chats, it has been in stasis for the deafblind. A larger problem is that people with normal sight and hearing do not understand the ISL (Indian sign language) or any other International sign languages, which makes it harder for the deafblind to exchange thoughts and communicate with the rest of the world.
Samsung Good Vibes, a unique smartphone app that opens up the world of the deafblind and helps them communicate like never before. Our technology solution’s mission was inclusion. So the app comes with two interfaces: a deafblind person can send a message from the app by tapping on the screen using Morse Code—where all letters of the English alphabet are combinations of dots and dashes. The letters can be input as short tap for a dot and long press for a dash. Likewise, incoming messages can be understood as short or long vibrations by the deafblind. For people with normal sight and hearing a message can be typed or spoken. It has a standard chat/voice interface that delivers the message to the deafblind person translated into Morse Code vibrations.
We partnered with Sense International India, one of the few national non-profit groups that cares for the deafblind and reaches out to over 78,000 persons with the condition, to not only develop the app but to also gather valuable insights for the campaign. Due to the difficulty in communicating, deafblind are 10 times less likely to be employed than others and deafblind children are 17 times less likely to be in school. Families with deafblind people are mostly in the bottom 40% of the socio-economic strata and do not have the means to seek special education support. Around 84% of deafblind persons in India do not receive any form of specialist support. The strategy was to not only reach the deafblind, but also to spread awareness of the initiative and help spread the word making sure everyone finds out about the solution.
The app has been made available and downloadable for free on Samsung Galaxy Store and Google Play, and can be installed on any Android smartphone and is not limited to Samsung users. Away from numbers, the app is supporting a number of deafblind youth to fearlessly step out of their homes, away from their safe zones, to receive mainstream education, to pursue career options and live their lives as independently as every other person. It is delivering on the promise of turning dependents into wage earners through better chances of education, accessibility to more knowledge and interpersonal skills, etc. It is also enabling them to stay in touch with their loved ones, even when they are away from them. Following the success of the Samsung Good Vibes app in India, we already have developed a Korean version. We aim to take this solution globally and implement for more languages.
Within a month of the app launch over 20,812 deafblind people and their family have installed and started using the app, far exceeding the targeted goal of 7800 downloads in 3 months. The app launch was supported by a powerful digital film, which more than 205 million people viewed within a month of launch. More than 1.71 million engagement (likes, shares, comments) came in from the digital sphere and over 35.5K conversations took place about the initiative. Over 50 online and 18 print publications from India & International media covered the app’s story highlighting the revolutionary impact it can have in the lives of the deafblind. The stories reached out to a potential 354+ million telling the world about the lives of the deafblind community, their everyday challenges and how the newly devised app that help them overcome those.
Can Samsung India, which prides itself with the ‘Do What You Can’t’ philosophy, change the status quo? And in doing so, bring half a million deafblind into the same chat window as the rest of the world.