ViaSport Launches New Resource to Make Sports More Inclusive

The Vancouver-based viaSport has partnered with Microsoft Canada to release an online chatbot called the Accessibility Sport Hub (ASH) that is designed to inform users about sports resources for people with disabilities.

This announcement is part of an ongoing effort by British Columbia to create a more inclusive province. ASH offers a human-centred technology platform for specialists to share and swap resources with users who want to participate in or build on existing disability sport experiences.

Active participation in sports can positively benefit someone’s physical, social and emotional states. The first phase of this new resource is to leverage the new technology to really improve disability inclusion in the current sport landscape.

The chabot is funded by British Columbia and will use existing Microsoft technology to easily connect athletes, teachers, coaches, doctors and more to disability resources by sport or impairment. ASH uses the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), a simple conversational tool that can easily understand a user’s question then find pieces of information related to that question.

“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,” says Sheila Bouman, CEO viaSport. “Over time, we will have a seamless platform that enables more sport leaders to increase the inclusiveness of their programs so that more British Columbians can thrive via sport.”

ViaSport British Columbia is a not-for-profit organization created by the provincial government in 2011. It is a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. ViaSport’s mandate is to increase awareness and participation in sport at every stage of life and within every community.