A service that was built to help the visually impaired get around municipal offices in Warsaw is set to take on a new life as a city-wide Internet of Things network.
In a few years’ time, the city of Warsaw’s app will supply users with contextual real-time information on public transport, indoor navigation in public buildings, and details of tourist attractions, all based on a user’s location.
‘Virtual Warsaw‘, as the €15m project is called, is a beacon-based urban navigation scheme that started out as an aid for those with visual impairments. “We got complaints that municipal services weren’t very accessible for them,” said Tomasz Pactwa, head of the city’s department of support and social projects. “They were unable to take the number tickets [giving them their place in the queue for council services], and if by some fluke they managed to, it was printed on a small piece of paper that they could not read anyway.”
In 2013, Pactwa contacted a company from the town of Bielsko-Biala, close to the Polish borders with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which could supply the infrastructure for a project designed to change all that.