AN INNOVATIVE communications and assistance tool aims to give disabled users on the go greater independence when accessing every day services.

Assist-Mi is a smart phone app which provides a combination of location-based technologies and two-way messaging to enable a user to get the assistance they need when visiting a service provider.

The app is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Gary McFarlane who came up with the concept in 2004 when he was working in the mobile technology sector, specialising in assistive technology to improve and make mobiles and websites more accessible for disabled users.

Gary, who has a physical disability, wanted to improve the experience of disabled people needing help or assistance to get about in their daily life by using mobile technology.

He met entrepreneur Neil Herron and together they made the app a reality.

Assist-Mi aims to offer a disabled person a greater choice of places that can be accessed, providing confidence and enabling more independence.

It is designed for people wanting to make sure a venue is accessible to their needs or to request assistance on arrival if required.

People can use the app to:

  • Request assistance at a participating service provider prior to arrival;
  • Communicate directly with a service provider using the instant chat feature;
  • Check the accessibility of a venue before attending to ensure it caters to specific access requirements and;
  • Plan journeys and use the directions provided to navigate to a venue.

The app focuses on retail, parking and transport, including train stations and airports, and is aiming to make booking assistance in advance a thing of the past.

The response to the app from users and service providers has been positive, while Clare Balding and organisation Ade Adaption are among those to offer their support. The UN has praised the app and the work Assist-Mi is doing.

Assist-Mi is available for free download from the App Store for iOS and the Play Store for Android.

For more information visit the assist-Mi website.