Kimberly Cline – Sales Directory USA & Canada – LVI America Inc.
Kimberly Cell: 702-468-6611
Kimberly Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, this is Kimberly Cline. I’m the director of sales for LVI America and this is your Assistive Technology Update.
Hello and welcome to your Assistive Technology Update, your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist individuals with disabilities and special needs. I’m your host, Josh Anderson with the Indata Project at Easterseals Crossroads in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana. Welcome to episode 646 of Assisted Technology Update. It is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 13th 2023. On today’s show we’re super excited to welcome back Kimberly Cline from LVI to the show to tell us about some new great things they’re offering. Let’s go ahead and get on with the interview.
For the long time listeners of this show, our next guest will sound very familiar. Kimberly Cline has been in the field of assistive technology, especially assisting individuals with visual impairments for quite some time. Most recently, she was on the show to tell us about LVI and some of the great things that they offer, and today she is back to tell us about some new products they have and how those integrate with the iPad and we cannot wait to learn more about them. Kimberly, welcome back to the show.
Thanks, Josh. Great to be here.
Yeah, I am excited to get into talking about everything. For our listeners who maybe haven’t heard you on here before, could you tell them just a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I’m Kimberly Cline. I’m the director of sales for LVI America. I’ve been in assistive technology, I think this is my 36th year. Oh my gosh. So as you said, my focus has mainly been on folks with low vision or people that have no vision at all. So I’ve worked with a couple different manufacturers that make software. I’ve done hardware and I’ve been going on, it would be my fifth year with LVI America.
Awesome. Well and also for maybe new listeners or folks that haven’t heard you on, before we talk about the new solutions, could you maybe tell us just a little bit about LVI as a company and maybe what drew you to work for them?
Sure, absolutely. LVI is located in Sweden. That’s our mothership. It stands for Low Vision International. They’ve been making low vision products for about 46 years and definitely number one in Europe, have been super popular for quite some time. They’re a little bit unique from any company that I’ve ever worked for. First of all, I’ve done more with software versus hardware, and this is definitely a hardware company, but we hand build everything. Literally everybody that’s there, I’ve met some of the folks, they sent me to Sweden when I was just with them for a few months, so I could not just keep saying we hand build everything, but I could see it and say, wow, we hand everything. So it’s amazing. I met folks that had been there 20 some years that are responsible for certain components. So we build in modules, meaning that if somebody orders something, we don’t have to start from scratch.
They’ve already maybe built 20 of a certain module and maybe that module works with six different products that we have. So they pull those from the shelves and then start assembling them and putting them together. But they’re very unique. I don’t know that there’s… Maybe there’s no companies that even do that anymore, but I know most companies don’t. They’re very, very proud of everything that they make, meaning that I talk to a gentleman and he literally got a tear in his eye and said, Kimberly, you see this part of, we have a product called the zip, see this product that’s part of the zip where it folds up and down and I said, yes. And he said, it can never break. If this breaks, you call me because a low vision student maybe couldn’t go to school or somebody couldn’t do their job. What we do is very important.
We change the lives of low vision people and so it’s ingrained into the community there, their philosophy, and that’s really what drew me in. I have been, I like to say around town I guess, I’ve worked for some of the larger manufacturers and the industry’s changed over the years. We all know that, and it’s kind of became not as much mom and pop, but more like there’s just a few bigger players. So I left the industry for a short bit because I really, I’m all about how that gentleman said we changed the lives. That’s what gets me up every day. I’m going to change the life of somebody today. They’re going to see our product.
They’re now going to be able to, whether it’s an older person trying to see their grandchild and there’s a picture and they can now see it because it’s magnified or whether it’s somebody that wants to go to school or change their job or keep their job. That’s what I’m all about. And when I saw that that was the mission behind this company, I was like, I’m in, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m here and you guys have me to the end. So they’re a great company, they make amazing products, but they’re whole philosophy behind everything is to change the lives of individuals that have low vision.
Just onto some of the new solutions available from LVI. You mentioned that they do use an iPad to connect, but what are these new solutions?
Sure, thanks. We are a bit of a small company, especially the LVI America division side of it. We have two and a half people that I oversee, the US and Canada. So literally, you never know where you’re going to find me every week. And so it’s exciting because when I’m traveling, of course everybody wants to see new products and so this has been probably the most requested product that we’ve had in the five years that I’ve been there. Everywhere I would go, everybody would say, how come you don’t have an iPad solution? We want an iPad solution. Everybody’s using iPads from seniors to kiddos in school, to everybody in between. Even some job sites are using them, we need a solid iPad solution. And so we really take heart what people say. We have an email, it’s email@example.com, and I always tell people when they want something that we don’t have, please send an email in.
And we had so many requests for a product to work with an iPad, so we took it pretty serious. We never developed something boom within three months. That’s just not how we work. We spend a lot of time. We test products, we make sure that they’re not only stable, but we make sure that they’re powerful. What do people want when they say they want an iPad product? What does that mean? They want something more than just some software that’s going to work on their iPad because there’s already a lot of great applications out there that work with an iPad, so we had to find out what does that mean when you say you want an iPad product, what do you want? And the biggest thing that we heard was we already have kiddos and we have people that are using iPads. They’ll take it up and they’ll walk up to the board and they’ll take a picture and then they’ll bring it back to their desk and they’ll magnify it because the cameras on the iPads are really pretty impressive.
I was pretty blown away. They’re decent cameras. So the biggest thing we heard was we need a distance camera. We don’t want people to have to get up, walk up, take a picture, come back down and sit down. We want something kind of like your TAB solution. We have a product called the TAB that’s based on the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. Now with that product, we actually sell tablets, so we get them from Microsoft and we sell it either with the tablet or without. This product, we don’t sell iPads, we’re not going to sell iPads, so we’re just selling the solution around the iPad. So then the other part we thought was there’s a lot of iPads out there, there’s a lot of sizes, there’s a lot of different types. So we need to really come up with a product that’s going to kind of go backwards compatible for a while because we want somebody that maybe bought an iPad a couple of years ago to still be able to use it.
Well, maybe they have an iPad they bought five years ago and they still want to use it. So we really had to think that through. So it does have a distance camera. We have actually two solutions. One’s called the MagniLink WifiCam. That’s the one that you actually get the camera, the distance camera, and then we have a product called the MagniWifi, and I’ll talk about both of them separately, but the MagniLink WifiCam portion, you actually have a camera, it’s on a bendable arm. Those of you that are familiar with our TAB product, it’s the exact same camera. It’s on an arm that you can bend up down, left, right, move it around and it does distance. It’s a 10 x optical zoom camera, and you can use it for distance. You can use it for document or you can use it for self viewing.
It has a stand. There’s a little hole in the stand, so the camera just goes right down in that slot and then you can bend it, like I said, to the left, to the right. You can make it go distance, and then the actual stand that it sits in allows you to lean your iPad right on that. And the cool thing about it is we created the TAB product, we had some people say, this is a phenomenal product, but maybe I’m left-handed, maybe I don’t want the camera on this side. How do I come up with a solution whether someone’s left-handed or right-handed, or they have a small desk and they really want to bring that camera in a certain little area. So with this, we actually solved that solution and we made it to where the iPad can either lean to on the left or the right. So you can have that camera, either the distance camera, either off to the left-hand side or to the right-hand side. You can actually turn the whole unit around. So it is pretty cool that you can do that.
Being a lean-to, you also can use it with any iPad, so it’s not holding it to where it’s the iPad Mini and that’s all that’s going to fit. It could be the iPad Mini. It could be like I have, the 12.91. It can be any size of iPad, so you’re not limited on size. And we also made it to where we tried to go back as far as possible. So anybody that has an iPad that supports iOS 15 or higher, it will work with that. Now, I will tell you that it works I would say faster or better with that distance camera if you have an iPad that’s newer that’s going to actually support the latest version of iOS with iPads and maybe has an M1 chip.
You’re going to get a faster, because again, we’re basing everything off of the technology that you’re connecting to, and we all know that the latest, greatest, fastest is always going to give you a better image, a better product that you’re looking for. So we do have some minimum specs and some max specs, and we do have that up on our website, but we do go as low as iOS 15 or higher, again, all the way up to the latest iPad. So that’s the MagniLink WifiCam. Do you have some questions about the software or what more can I tell you about that?
Yeah, actually just two questions. One, how does that connect to an iPad? You said it kind of connects to all of them, but I know different iPads nowadays do have different kind of connectors. You have lightning, you have USBC, and then also tell us a little bit about the software that’s on there. I know I’m not just opening a camera and getting everything. I know there’s kind of some software, so if you could tell us about that a little bit, that’d be great.
Sure. So it connects wirelessly, and the reason we did that is when we originally created it, we didn’t have some of the options that are out now. We know that of course, that Apple has now made an iPad whereas you mentioned, there’s lightning, there’s USBC. And USBC, they now have a new operating system and they’re touting you can plug cameras in, there’s some power and there’s some different things like that. So when we first created all of this that wasn’t there, you had to connect wirelessly. You could not plug a camera in. So it is set up to connect wirelessly. So again, you’ve got a camera that’s on a bendable arm, it sticks in. There’s a little like a grommet and a hole you stick that in, it can be angled off to the left, or if you move it off to the other side, it can be angled off to the right either how you can move it around.
You’ve got the lean-to for the actual iPad, so it doesn’t matter what size of iPad, but where that’s leaning, there’s a little area where you put it, behind that there’s a box, think of a rectangular box, and in that box is a router system. So it’s actually a close system that we created that has a router in there, and it also has a battery that will last up to six hours because we figured someone’s going to be maybe using this for a school day or a workday or they just want to be able to use it and take it and travel with it, and they don’t want it in an hour to not be working. So this allows you to power the camera. So the camera, the wifi cam that I mentioned, it actually plugs into the actual box where the router is and it’s a USBC connection, so it plugs into that box.
That’s where it’s getting its power, and the router system is for the iPad and that allows you to connect wirelessly. So all you do is go to your iPad, you go and you select your wifi, just like you would use if you were going to be going out to the web and you pick our wifi for that. So it’ll say MagniLink and it’ll have the code that’s with it, and then you select that, and then at that point you’re going to put the code in because it’s going to ask for a code, like a router system, just like it would like if you’re out somewhere and you’re using someone’s wifi and you need to know the actual password, so you put the password in and then boom, you’re connected wirelessly. So because it’s wireless, you can have it in that stand that I mentioned, but you also could just take the iPad and set it on a desk somewhere and you’re still connected to that distance camera because you’re connected wirelessly.
So think of the kiddos that are too cool for school. They don’t want any assistive technology on their desk. They don’t want anything that draws any attention to them to where they’re any different than their friend next door. They don’t want to be like, Hey, I have low vision. I’ve got these products. They just don’t like that. So they could have the iPad on their desk and they could have the device that I’m talking about with the distance camera. They could have it on the teacher’s desk or they could have it sitting somewhere else in the classroom point the camera distance wise to where they want it, and they can still control all the software from the iPad wirelessly. So that’s the cool part. They can just have it anywhere and it’s got a very strong connection. So even I’ve had some people say, well, what about a big classroom?
Well, I’ve had it sitting way back in a classroom and still you’re able to get a very strong connection and you’re connected wirelessly at that point. The software is very powerful. So anybody that’s familiar with our tablet software, it’s almost exactly the same except the iPad has a few bells and whistles that we can’t do with the tablet product. Again, it’s wireless, so that’s different, the one on the tablet is a direct connect, and so you still have, of course, all the normal features you would have with any video magnifier. You’re going to be able to magnify, you’re going to be able to change the size, you’re going to be able to change the contrast, you’re going to be able to change the colors. So all the basics are there. You can put online masking and all of the normal things that you would do with a video magnifier.
But the cool thing about this is you have the ability to utilize three cameras at one time. So the iPad has two really good cameras on it, a forward facing, a backward facing, and then you have our distance camera. So you can split the screen on the iPad and be showing the view of all three cameras or just one camera or two cameras, and then you can adjust the size of the window of how you have that split. So maybe you want to split it in half and you want to use the backward camera of the iPad because you are looking at something behind it, and then you also want to use the distance camera. You have that ability to either split it exactly 50/50 or 60/40 or however you want to move that split. So those are some of the unique things about the software.
No, that’s super cool. I didn’t realize you could actually split information and get, like you said, from different cameras at the same time. So that’s great. That’s really good use of the technology that’s built into it as well as the kind of added on stuff. So very, very cool.
Yeah, so that’s a little different for us. We haven’t been able to do that with the TAB product. You can use either the distance camera or you could use the camera on the tabs, but you’re not using everything all at one time. So that’s very unique. You have all the wonderful features you have in the TAB. You’re able to do form filling, so you could scan a form in for school or work or even for fun or if you’re using it, let’s say you need to go to the doctor, you can scan that form in. You can hand write right on the screen, you can type on the screen, you can highlight all of the wonderful things that you can do, and of course you can magnify it and have it be whatever size you need. So instead of having somebody have to come and help you fill out forms, you now have the ability to change the size how you want it, change the thickness of the pen that you’re using or the typing tool that you’re using.
And then let’s say you type your name somewhere on the form. I always say pick the big open blank spot, and then you just drag your finger where you’ve typed and you can move your name anywhere on the screen and then place it right on that line. So it’s got a lot of productivity tools in it that is really, really awesome. You can use it to video a lecture and while you’re videoing, of course, you could be looking at that, having that half the screen, and then on the other half of the screen, maybe they’re talking about something and you want to have that on the screen at the same time. You can look at what they gave you for the handout. Let’s say they’re talking about something in history, and now that you’ve got a piece of paper there and it’s in small print, you can have the other camera over that and be able to be looking at that at whatever size and color while you’re also watching the video at the same time.
Nice, nice. So very good multimodal learning. I love that you brought up filling out the form too, because a lot of times we think about these things with schools, maybe even with work, but yeah, just the day-to-day things we have to do it can really help with that also. So very, very cool. So Kimberly, tell us about the other solution. I know we kind of talked about two, and I know I’ll mess up the name if I try to spit the whole thing out.
So tell us about the other one.
I mess it up too. The other one is very similar, but it’s called the MagniWifi, so we don’t have the word cam in it because we are building a family of products. So we have a lot of different camera connected products out on the market. We have one called the MagniLink S. It’s probably our most popular. Some people call it the MLS. It’s a 4.2 pound camera. It’s very small. You can fold it up, put it in a tiny case. We want to say, you already invested in our great technology. You already have one of our 10 x optical zoom cameras. Why do you need to reinvest and buy another one? Just because we came out with a new product doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to use our existing technology. So the MagniWifi, same box, you get that box that has the router, you get the box that you’re connecting that camera in for the power for six hours.
You don’t get the lean-to for the stand because it’s smaller, it’s a box without the little legs at the bottom that allows you to be able to lean that iPad to it. But that allows you to connect any of our connectable cameras. So whether it’s the MagniLink S, whether it’s the Zip that has a connection board, whether it’s our PRO camera. So if you already have our other products, we’re basically saying, Hey, we’re so thankful that you’ve been utilizing our other products, let us save you some money and let you just get the box, utilize the camera that you already have, still the same software. So we didn’t talk about how you get the software, so you just go to the app store. It’s just up on the Apple app store. It’s called MagniLink Viewer. In fact, it’s up there. Anybody can download that software for free.
We don’t charge for the software. So if you already have an iPad or you have an iPhone and you want to test out the software, you can download the software. It’s up there, it’s available to you, but if you’re not plugged into one of our cameras, you’re not able to do OCR. You’re not able to fill out forms and you’re not able to split the screen with three different cameras because you don’t have three different cameras. You maybe just have two cameras that are on your iPad or your phone. So we want people to try the software. We want them to utilize it, see how powerful that it is, and then go, wow, wouldn’t it be great if I could connect to a distance camera and have the full power and do everything? But we did put it up there. It’s not like it times out in 20 minutes or anything. It’s a full-blown version of the software.
Awesome. Awesome. I know you’ve had this out just a little bit of time. I know they haven’t been around really long, but could you tell us a story or maybe something about a user’s experience using these new accommodations?
Sure, absolutely. In fact, I was just traveling, it’s been maybe a few months ago. It was in the summertime, and we had a private person want us to come into their home. They had a young son that’s going into, I think it’s third grade, and he was struggling. He was struggling at the school, they’re using iPads at the school, and he was struggling with all the things we talked about, not being able to utilize a camera that’s going to be able to do distance and all of that. And the parents were like, this is exactly what we need. And we’ve been able to introduce this to him. He’s been able to use it for the school year, and they’re very excited for all the possibilities that they’re already seeing that he can use it for. And so for that, we’re excited and that’s why we wanted to make sure we had it released right when school started.
And so for those types of things, we’re already seeing kiddos using them in school. That’s just one instance. I have several other states, and even over in Canada and other places that we have, people are grabbing onto these and saying, oh my gosh, this is the solution of the year for the school. This is just amazing. But we’re also seeing seniors and a lot of veterans because a lot of them already use iPads and that it’s just changing their day-to-day life that they’re able to now be able to fill out forms. Like I said, we all want independence. Isn’t that kind of what life is about? Sure, it’s nice to be able to help people and it’s nice to be able to ask for help, but boy, if we can fill out a form ourself or we can read our mail ourselves to where maybe it’s private.
Maybe somebody sent us a letter, maybe it’s a bill. Maybe we overspent our credit card or whatever it is. It’s our private information. And when we have to call somebody in to do that, I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing, but boy, it’s always much better when we can do it ourselves. So I didn’t have any idea, honestly how popular iPads were because I’m not an iPad person. We had to buy me one to be able to show the product. It was funny, Sweden said, well, just get your iPad and we’ll hook this up. And I’m like, you’re assuming I have an iPad. I didn’t have one. My grandkids have them, but I didn’t have one. But they’re so popular. Everywhere I go, people are just like, oh, this is amazing. I’ve been using an iPad for 10 or 15 years or they’re everywhere.
They’re just amazing. I’ve been really pleased by how powerful they are, the camera’s on them. So now to be able to hook this with our technology to where somebody that has low vision, because of course the iPad has the built-in, you can use voiceover. It’s got where you can magnify. So it already has some great accessibility tools, but it was just kind of missing that link of that distance camera or that software that allows you to be able to fill out forms. That software that’s built for somebody that has low vision to where you can change the color, change the size, put a pin up there, make it thick like a 2020 pin, all the things that someone that has low vision uses and needs, and to be able to have all that in one package with a product that they either are already using or maybe they’re going to be using it at a school or work or home. So it’s just neat to be able to have our technology work with products that are already out on the market that are great products.
Kimberly for our listeners that want to find out more about these great solutions, about LVI, about any of that. What’s a great way for them to do that?
Sure, they can of course go to our website, which is this www.lviamerica.com, so that’s where all of our products are, but we have our own YouTube channel as well. So we have done several webinars now. We just did a back to school webinar last week, so you can get to all of that also through our website or if anybody just has questions or a lot of times people say, gosh, how do I see these products? Or do we have a reseller in our area? I’d say yes to all of those, but on our website as well, you can go to contact, you can pick up dealers, and then it’ll list them for Canada separate from the US.
But if you just don’t know or you just say, Hey, how do I see this? Maybe I don’t want a reseller to come out, but I’d love for Kimberly to do a Zoom with me just to show it. We’re available for that as well, so people can reach out to me on my cell phone, they can text me or call me, and that’s (702) 468-6611. Or they can also email me. And I’m Kimberly, K-I-M-B-E-R-L-Y, Cline, but it’s kimberly.cline, and Cline is C-L-I-N-E, @lviamerica.com.
We will put all that information down in the show notes. Kimberly, it’s always an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. We are already looking forward to the next time as you guys have more coming out, but definitely thanks for coming on today and telling us about these great new solutions that can really help folks with low vision. Like you said, I had you on excited for all the things they could do in school, but with the forms and everything else, schoolwork and just life in general. I love the way that these things can help. So thank you again.
You’re welcome, and I look forward to talking to you later in the year.
Do that. Excellent. I’m already looking forward to it. Take care.
Thanks. Have a great day.
Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on assistive technology update? If so, call our listener line at (317) 721-7124. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot us a note on Twitter at Indata Project. Our captions and transcripts for the show are sponsored by the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation or InTRAC. You can find out more about InTRAC @relayindiana.com. A special thanks to Nikol Prieto for scheduling our amazing guests and making a mess of my schedule. Today’s show was produced, edited, hosted, and fought over by yours truly. The opinions expressed by our guests are their own and may or may not reflect those of the Indata Project, Easterseals Crossroads or supporting partners or this host. This was your Assistive Technology Update, and I’m Josh Anderson with the Indata Project at Easterseals Crossroads in beautiful, Indianapolis, Indiana. We look forward to seeing you next time. Bye.