viaSport and Microsoft launch Accessibility Sport Hub to make BC sports more inclusive

Vancouver-based viaSport has partnered with Microsoft Canada to develop and launch Accessibility Sport Hub (ASH), an online chatbot that connects people to sports resources for people with disabilities.

Funded by the Province of British Columbia, ASH uses the Microsoft Bot Framework to help athletes, teachers, parents, coaches, sport leaders, and administrators find and share sport disability and accessibility tools, resources, and programs.

viaSport, which develops initiatives and campaigns to create a more inclusive sport culture in British Columbia, said ASH utilizes Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS). LUIS is a conversational tool that aims to understand a person’s questions or commands and acts accordingly to find relevant pieces of information.

“Through our collaboration, we were able to create an inclusive program that provides athletes living with disabilities easier access to facilities.”

“viaSport was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Microsoft on the creation of our Accessibility Sport Hub,” said Sheila Bouman, CEO of viaSport. “With funding provided by the Province of British Columbia and the guidance of Microsoft’s technology leaders, we have created a new platform for people to share information and resources. We are confident in ASH’s architecture and vision, and recognizing that this technology solution is currently in a formative stage, we are inviting British Columbians to review and provide feedback on ASH to make it even better.”

viaSport and Microsoft are hoping that ASH will foster a more inclusive culture and approach to sport in British Columbia by providing people with valuable disability resources.

“At Microsoft, we believe that sport is an excellent tool for promoting social inclusion and increasing self-confidence in communities,” said Tommy Lewis, technical evangelism manager at Microsoft Canada.  “Through our collaboration with viaSport, and harnessing the Microsoft Bot Framework, we were able to create an inclusive program that helps breakthrough barriers and provides athletes living with disabilities easier access to facilities.”

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.