A walking trolley is a multi-wheeled, trolley-like device with a resting seat and brakes that helps the elderly to walk safely and independently Common in Japan, they are relatively unknown overseas. This has made cultivating new markets overseas difficulties for Japanese businesses. However, by demonstrating the benefits of walking trolleys, they finally found a way to enter overseas markets.
The difference between walking trolleys and rollators
Many people are familiar with rollators as mobility aids. Rollator handles are at the user's side, supporting most of their body weight, whereas the walking trolley handles remain in front of the user, meaning they just use it as a guide for light support, providing stability and balance. Walking trolleys are lighter and easier to handle.
The Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have both issued safety standards for rollators. However, while JIS has separate standards for walking trolleys and rollators, the ISO included them in the same standard. Consequently, the distinct uses and capabilities of walking trolleys have not been recognized overseas.
Seeing is believing
To overcome the challenge of promoting safety differences to a global audience, Japan submitted a proposal to the ISO for developing international standards for walking trolleys separately from those for rollators. However, ISO members were slow to respond, since they considered walking trolleys to be a type of rollator. The only way to help other ISO members understand what walking trolleys are was to show them, by bringing some real-life examples to an international conference in Indonesia and demonstrating them in front of participants. As a result of this effort, Japan succeeded in changing the perception of walking trolleys, receiving positive feedback and allowing participating countries to recognize their differences from rollators.
Prompted by this demonstration, members of the ISO discussed the international standardization of walking trolleys based on the consideration that such trolleys are categorically different from rollators. Finally, on May 2019, ISO 19894 for walking trolleys was issued. Using the ISO as an opportunity, Japanese businesses are expected to sell walking trolleys around the world, which is sure to assist people in becoming healthier and more independent and to increase their daily comfort while walking.