Livox created a software app that allows communication and learning for disabled people with speech disorders. Its app can interpret user movements through intelligent algorithms and adapt content based on the user profile.
Focus: Disability, Technology
Geographic Area of Impact: Brazil, United States, Middle East
Model: Social Innovation Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 15,000 people (since 2011)
Annual Budget: USD$ 704,312 (2016)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 42%
The Social Problem
In Brazil, there are 15 million people with cognitive and motor challenges to communication due to disability or illness such as autism, stroke, and cerebral palsy. In the US alone, each year over 200,000 people are affected by aphasia, the inability to communicate orally. Conventionally, solutions to speech disabilities have included binders with image cards that the disabled person points to in order to express his or herself. This provides only a limited range of communication for the individual.
Innovation and Activities
Livox created software for tablets and smartphones that allows communication and learning for disabled people with speech disorders. Livox’s users have motor, cognitive, and visual disabilities due to Down’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, lateral sclerosis, stroke and any disorder that prevents them from communicating orally. Livox’s innovation lies in how the software applies intelligent algorithms to interpret the user’s finger movements on the tablet surface and different algorithms that makes the software adjustable to a wide range of disabilities. Users can adapt the content of the app based on the profile of the person’s disability. The app holds 25,000 images to choose from and users can also add photos, record songs, and create icons and descriptions. Lesson plans can be shared online as a form of crowd-sourcing between students and caregivers. Overall, the application provides adaptive functions for various disabilities, amplifying multiple ways to communicate and learn for people with speech impediments in general. The tablet’s application is available in five languages: Portuguese, English, Arabic, German and Spanish.
The majority of Livox’s sales are in Brazil though a minority of sales are to international markets in the USA, Germany, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. The company’s two-pronged sales strategy includes both business-to-business and business-to-government models to supply the app in schools, hospitals, and other organizations working with disabled people. Licenses can also be directly sold to customers via the Apple Store and Google Play. In Brazil, the license costs USD$ 275 due to taxes and the way Livox goes through distributors and sales channels to reach customers. However, 90% of the sales in Brazil are subsidized by the government, which buys the licenses at discounted rates in bulk and then donates them to low-income families. From 2011 to 2015, Livox actually donated 14,693 licenses out of 20,000 total sold to date. Livox also partnered with the Association of Parents and Friends of Exceptional People (APAES), which serves 60,000 people with disabilities in the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Similar partnerships are in place with the same association in three more states. This centralized distribution channel will enable Livox to sell 7,800 liscences in 2017 alone, priced at USD $106, benefiting over 22,000 lower middle income families in the states of São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.
Carlos Edmar Pereira is a social entrepreneur who creates solutions for people with disabilities. His own daughter has cerebral palsy, which was the impetus for the creation of Livox. He holds a degree in Computer Science from Unibratec, Brazil. In 2014 he won an award from IDB (Interamerican Development Bank) as the Technological Innovation with the Greatest Impact of 2014. In 2015 he was the Winner of the World Summit Award Mobile as the best social inclusion app in the world, in 2015 Winner of Technology World Cup in EDTECH category (Microsoft) in Silicon Valley and in 2015 the Social Impact Challenge winner from Google.org.
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