In our industry, we often focus on the benefits that the cloud can bring to a business, and rightfully so. The cloud is a powerful, cost-effective solution that provides businesses with flexible and scalable hosting environments, giving them the agility needed to keep up with rapidly changing landscapes. However, by only focusing on business applications we miss out on some other amazing cloud technology applications. Microsoft, a proud Datapipe partner, recently upgraded their Cities Unlocked project. This cloud based location application aims to give people without sight or hearing the ability to independently navigate urban landscapes.
Microsoft teamed up with charity organization Guide Dogs in 2011 to create Cities Unlocked – a project that works to make cities more accessible for the blind. Cities Unlocked uses cloud based location and navigation data to provide the user with contextual information about their environment. The application can alert a user to shops, crosswalks, even something as small as a bicycle rack – allowing someone without sight to create a rich mental image of their environment, giving them the freedom and confidence to navigate a city independently.
This type of technology has the ability to transform lives. For those without sight, an application like Cities Unlocked opens up a whole new world. No longer do they have to be confined to their homes or stick to the pre-determined routes they have rehearsed. The application gives the vision-impaired the ability to get to work, school or social activities almost as easily as someone with sight.
So while we’re extremely excited about the benefits cloud technology for the enterprise and the transformations it can bring to an organization, we’re also proud to work in an industry that’s transforming lives. It can be easy to think of the cloud as an impersonal network filled with data and workloads, but cases like this remind us that this type of technology has enormous potential to change our world for the better.