Interview with Vitalii Mykhalchuk, CEO of Amsaan, Offering IT Solutions Tailored For The Deaf Community

Interview with Vitalii Mykhalchuk, CEO of Amsaan, Offering IT Solutions Tailored For The Deaf Community

By blending in technology and innovation, Dubai has been making tourism an inclusive and accessible experience for all. Helmed by the visionary Vitalii Mykhalchuk, Amsaan has risen to the forefront with its technological innovation making tourism accessible for the deaf community.

Explore the inspiring success narrative of Amsaan as its CEO, Vitalii Mykhalchuk, shares details on achieving remarkable milestones in creating a positive societal impact.

Inspiration behind Amsaan

The inspiration behind establishing Amsaan was drawn from a deaf IT engineer within the company. Motivated by the personal need to navigate university studies, he developed a solution that facilitated the translation from verbal language to sign language. This laid the foundation for Amsaan's innovative approach to addressing the challenges faced by the deaf community.

Under Mykhalchuk's leadership, Amsaan has emerged as a trailblazer in delivering IT solutions tailored for the deaf community. He highlights how Amsaan is not merely a commercial endeavor but an impactful social project. With its innovative offerings, he aims to transform lives within the deaf community.

Diverse offerings

Designed to enhance accessibility for the deaf community, Amsaan offers a range of innovative products and services. Vitalii spotlights four major offerings; mobile application, Amsaan tablet, web widget, and QR codes.

Amsaan’s mobile app enables deaf visitors to utilize video relay services which will facilitate seamless communication in places like restaurants. The Amsaan tablet comes pre-installed and serves as a video relay service, ideal for placement at reception or cashier desks. The web widget strategically assists deaf visitors in navigating websites, understanding services offered, and maximizing utility. Amsaan provides QR codes generated and encrypted through their technology, which can be read only with the Amsaan application. These codes enable the translation of text into sign language, thereby making communication easier for the deaf community.

A notable service offered by Amsaan is the interactive map showcasing deaf-friendly locations. Vitalii highlights the extensive process of evaluating businesses for inclusion in their interactive map. They extend invitations to businesses to become part of their project by encouraging them to accommodate clients with hearing impairments more. The business can join their initiative by offering small discounts, complimentary services, or additional care. By incorporating these measures, businesses can align with Amsaan's mission, becoming part of their platform and contributing to the creation of an inclusive accessibility map.

Exceptional workforce

“We ensure travel experiences are fully accessible by having an 80% deaf team and translating tour information into sign language,”

says Vitalii Mykhalchuk.

From an accessible website to a sales team fluent in sign language, Amsaan goes above and beyond in addressing the challenges faced by deaf tourists. Amsaan Tours, affiliated with Amsaan, specializes in offering inclusive travel experiences in the UAE designed specifically for deaf tourists.The company employs deaf tour guides who communicate using sign language ensuring seamless communication throughout the journey. To further enhance the customer experience, Amsaan Tours provides an accessible website and app for easy booking and navigation. Visitors can explore a diverse range of tours and activities on the user-friendly platform, making their journey through the UAE truly memorable.

With 80% of their accessible tourist team being deaf, Amsaan guarantees that their products align with the expectations and requirements of the deaf community.This strategic hiring choice enables the company to intimately grasp the unique needs, comments, and requirements of the deaf community.

Furthermore, Amsaan organizes workshops to ensure the ongoing professional development of its IT team. Vitalii says the company ensures that its team members remain aligned in their objectives and share common values, contributing to the creation of outstanding products. Regular feedback within the team is also encouraged, catalyzing continuous improvement and innovation.

As Amsaan expands its horizons, the company is poised to increase its availability in different sign languages, aiming to serve an even broader audience and enhance accessibility for all.

The challenges faced by Amsaan extend beyond technological hurdles. Vitalii continues,

“The biggest challenge forming Amsaan has been the lack of deaf awareness.”

The challenge stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of deaf culture and the habits of deaf individuals. Vitalii highlights two major misconceptions associated with the deaf community. The first misconception involves the belief in a universal sign language, whereas in reality, each region, country, and community has its distinct sign language. With over 300 sign languages worldwide, it is vital to understand that people from the same country may use different sign languages based on their region.

The second one is the assumption that all deaf people can read fluently. While many can read basic words, comprehension becomes challenging with special or uncommon words. Therefore, it is important to adapt important texts to sign language to overcome these misconceptions.

Recognizing the potential of the deaf community as clients, Amsaan encountered difficulties arising from businesses' limited knowledge on how to effectively serve this demographic. Businesses need to grasp the tools and cultural insights necessary to successfully engage with and cater to the deaf population. Amsaan is on a mission to educate businesses and the public about the diverse and unique requirements of the deaf community.

Balancing social mission with business

“For us, social mission and business aspects in this company are very interconnected,”

says Vitalii.

In his role as the CEO of Amsaan, he navigates the delicate balance between the company's social mission and its business aspects. Recognizing the intrinsic connection between the two, the company aims to comprehend and seamlessly integrate products that cater specifically to the needs of deaf travelers and the deaf culture.

Vitalii highlights that 5% of the global population consists of deaf individuals or people with hearing impairments. Amsaan’s focus extends beyond mere profitability; it is about representing and serving the deaf community, making their world more accessible.

Strategic partnerships

In the pursuit of its mission, Amsaan emphasizes the significance of partnerships and collaborations. Recognizing a shared goal among companies serving individuals with disabilities, Amsaan underscores the importance of fostering partnerships to collectively enhance inclusivity and accessibility.

In 2023, their initial partnership with Gulf News, under the guidance of Mr. Abdul Hamid Ahmad, the CEO and Chief Editor, paved the way for adapting daily news into sign language. Another recent milestone is the partnership with Dubai Parks and Resorts, where the first pilot project has been implemented. Amsaan eagerly anticipates extending its reach to additional destinations within the realm of Dubai's entertainment sector.

Expanding the horizons

Looking forward, Amsaan aims to create a more accessible and inclusive environment for individuals with various disabilities, encompassing not only the deaf but also those with visual impairments and mobility challenges. However, the primary goal is to develop a broader range of solutions and products that cater to the daily needs of the deaf community.

Amsaan continues to break down barriers paving the way for an inclusive future for not just the deaf community but for all individuals of determination.

Watch the full interview:

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