We all know that social networks and digital content distribution is controlled by a small number of large companies. The strength of these companies lies in the content that millions of users create and share on a daily basis. In platforms like Facebook and Twitter, users are not only customers who consume advertising or pay to access certain features. They are also the “workers” whose free labor generates content and the big data that these companies control and profit from.
We all also know that several different blockchain startups are trying to disrupt the current model of social networking and online content sharing. I recently came across one interesting Spain-based project hoping to participate in this transformation.
How Navibration works
Navibration aims to become the world’s first decentralized social network of audio-guided travel experiences built on blockchain technology. While the platform is targeting tourists, I think it has an under-explored use case in making cities more accessible for those with visual impairments.
Content on the Navibration platform is created by the users, though the final audio-guides will be edited and perfected by the Navibration team. Each new audio-guided travel experience will be sold on the platform and support a new smart contract, so that proceeds from purchases can be divided among the users involved in the creation of the audio-guides. The company calls the audio-guides “Navibration Experiences” and they will be geolocated and developed for different cities around the world.
The Navibration ecosystem is a multiplatform tool, available in a desktop version and on tablets and smartphones. The guides will be available for purchase through the Navibration app. They can be bought using Navicoins or fiat. In case of fiat, the funds will be used to buy Navicoins automatically. The final Navicoins will be divided equally to reward users who contributed to the process of creating the audio-guide.
The target market for the platform are so-called tourists 3.0. These are travellers who are digitally connected and use mobile phones for many things (tickets, reservations, etc.). This type of tourist increasingly sees technology as an essential tool during a trip. They take into account comments and reviews of other users. They share their own travel experience on different platforms and social networks and influence other travellers. They are also not interested traditional travel, but seek new types of experiences.
Navigation Through Vibration
One of the truly unique features of the Navibration platform it its patented navigation system that uses vibration to guide travellers, rather than forming them to follow a visual map. Users can enjoy an audio-guided tour, moving from one place to place without maps, without internet and without looking at any device. This is made possible through specially designed wearables.
- Navibration Watch
This is the first wearable planned by the company. It will consist of a smart watch that integrates the navigation through vibration system. Users will be able to “navibrate” anywhere in the world with their watch.
- Navibration Stick
This is the second wearable the company has planned. It is aimed mainly at blind users or those who are visually impaired. It will function similarly to the Navibration Watch, but the vibration navigation system will be incorporated into a walking stick.
Navibration is a unique project with a fairly specific use case and target audience. One of the reason I like it that it is the only blockchain startup I am aware of that is seriously thinking about the needs of users who are disabled or have visual impairments. The navigation through vibration system could open up travel to blind and visually impaired tourists in a totally new way.
However, one of the underplayed uses for the “navibrate” system could be helping those with visual impairments, not only during travel experiences, but in everyday life. Such a system could be an incredible enhancement to the walking cain currently used by many blind people. The navibration technology could help them negotiate their own cities and access spaces they previously found daunting. In short, the navibrate system has potential far beyond pleasing tourists. I think it could also help dramatically increase the accessibility of cities around the world for the visually impaired.