Barclays bank is to trial beacon technology in its branches to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities.

Customers can opt in to the service by pre-registering via an app which stores information such as accessibility needs and a photo for identification. When the app senses the beacon it sends a notification to staff with iPads who can meet the customer on arrival, reducing the need for disabled customers to explain their accessibility requirements each time they enter a branch.

Barclays branch. Image © iStock/tupungato

Beacon technology, such as Apple's iBeacon, is increasingly being used by high street retailers to offer personalised, location-aware services to customers via mobile devices.

The trial of the service, being held in Sheffield, will be launched today to mark United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD 2014).

“The work that we have already carried out around accessibility has raised awareness of the issues that people with disabilities face when entering bank branches,” said Elaine Draper, director of accessibility and inclusion at Barclays.

“Beacons are the latest in a long line of innovative initiatives from Barclays designed to make our customers lives easier, particularly important for people with non-visible disabilities - something our customers have told us is an issue”.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Barclays is retraining 6,500 cashier staff, as it aims to improve customer service by moving to ‘counter-less branches’.

The bank has already invested in tablet devices for its employees, reportedly buying 8,500 iPads in 2012.

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