October 17, 2013 — HumanWare announces a major strategic partnership with Essilor, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, which becomes the majority shareholder of the company specializing in assistive technologies for people who are blind or have low vision.
This new alliance offers greater global visibility for HumanWare products while promoting access for a larger number of people with visual impairments. The alliance will also accelerate investment in research and development to offer new and innovative high quality products for both blindness and low vision.
For HumanWare, this partnership represents an opportunity to confirm its leadership in assistive technologies for the visually impaired. Along with the recent introduction of the new range of ProdigiTM digital magnifiers, HumanWare will significantly increase its market share in the rehabilitation sector and among eyecare professionals.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Essilor, whose knowledge in optics and access to optician distribution networks will accelerate innovation to help people with visual impairments. Together, we will contribute to developing the notoriously under-penetrated global market,” says Gilles Pepin, CEO of HumanWare.
The new partnership has already enjoyed its first success with the awarding of the prestigious Silmo d’Or to HumanWare for its new 2-in-1 Prodigi electronic magnifier, which features an installation wizard developed with the collaboration of Essilor. Prodigi is an entirely digital personal vision assistant for people living with visual impairment caused by macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other eye diseases.
Commenting on the partnership, Hubert Sagnières, Essilor Chairman and CEO, explains, “Helping visually impaired or blind people regain greater independence is a natural extension of the group’s mission to help more than 4.2 billion people see better to live better. This partnership with HumanWare allows Essilor to take a fundamental step in the development of a range of effective and accessible vision tools for the greatest number of people.”
HumanWare (www.humanware.com) , who is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is the global leader in assistive technologies for people who are blind or have low vision. HumanWare offers a wide range of innovative products, including the BrailleNote® Apex, the leading productivity device for the blind in education, business and for personal use; Victor Reader®, the world’s leading family of digital audiobook players; the unique ProdigiTM family of desktop and portable vision and reading systems, and Trekker® Breeze, the all-in-one handheld talking GPS.
The world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, Essilor designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight. Its corporate mission is to enable everyone around the world to access lenses that meet his or her unique vision requirements. To support this mission, the Company allocates more than €150 million to research and innovation every year, in a commitment to continuously bring new, more effective products to market. Essilor’s flagship brands are Varilux®, Crizal®, Definity®, Xperio®, OptifogTM and Foster Grant®. It also develops and markets equipment, instruments and services for eyecare professionals. Essilor reported consolidated revenue of approximately €5 billion in 2012 and employs around 50,700 people. It operates in some 100 countries with 22 plants, more than 400 prescription laboratories and edging facilities, as well as several research and development centers around the world. For more information, please visit www.essilor.com. The Essilor share trades on the NYSE Euronext Paris market and is included in the Euro Stoxx 50 and CAC 40 indices. Codes and symbols: ISIN: FR0000121667; Reuters: ESSI.PA; Bloomberg: EI:FP.
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