The certification recognises the huge benefits that the display will provide to consumers with sight loss, loss of dexterity and colour blindness, whilst still providing a full range of functions.
The geo Accessible In-Home Display, an energy industry initiative that has been designed for customers with accessibility needs, has achieved Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Tried and Tested certification. This follows two years of collaborative development by geo, a leading provider of smart energy products, and a thorough assessment by RNIB. The certification recognises the huge benefits that the display will provide to consumers with sight loss, loss of dexterity and colour blindness, whilst still providing a full range of functions.
As part of the rollout of smart meters currently being offered to all households in Great Britain, energy consumers are offered an in-home display screen that allows them to easily see how much energy is being used and how much it is costing, ending estimated bills. geo worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Energy UK and a number of energy suppliers, and used its own internal research, to design an in-home display with accessibility features to ensure that blind and partially sighted people would also be able to take full advantage of the rollout.
The Trio II Accessible Display combines several innovative features including verbalising the information displayed both on the screens and navigation, six large tactile buttons and three separate LEDs which clearly indicate current electricity consumption. Added to this are high-contrast colour schemes and a large typeface. The device is built to comply with both the first and second generation (SMETS1 and SMETS2) standards which will allow it to work together with almost all types of smart meters being installed.
The RNIB Tried and Tested certification is awarded to products, apps and websites following a rigorous assessment to let customers with sight loss know that they are accessible and usable. The certification is based on expert assessment and observed user testing with blind and partially sighted people.
“Energy suppliers are required to offer an in-home display that can be easily accessed and understood by a wide range of consumers, so our challenge was to ensure the geo Accessible In-Home Display would be suitable, not just for people with sight loss, but also for age-related difficulties such as hearing loss, loss of dexterity, small tremors and reduced strength”, said Simon Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer at geo. “The RNIB Tried and Tested certification is testament to the success of the design, which will benefit many of the more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss”.
John Worsfold, Innovation and Technology Implementation Manager at RNIB, said: “As smart meters are rolled out and we’re all encouraged to be more aware of the energy we use, the new technology presents some barriers for customers with sight loss.
“The Accessible In-Home Display helps to break down these barriers, enabling blind and partially sighted customers and customers who find themselves in vulnerable situations to independently understand their energy usage and associated cost implications.
“We are delighted to award geo the RNIB Tried and Tested certification for the Accessible In-Home Display and look forward to all energy suppliers rolling out this innovation”.
In developing the Trio II Accessible In-Home Display, geo was mindful of the need for a device that would provide energy usage information in near real-time, without relying solely on a visual display screen, and it became clear that including a speech output function that can easily be turned on or off was required.
The geo Trio II Accessible In-Home Display will be available for customers with accessibility needs on request from selected energy suppliers from summer 2019 as part of the smart meter rollout. Eligible customers should contact their supplier to find out more.
More information on the geo Accessible In-Home Display can be found at www.geotogether.com/aihd