In celebration of Global Accessibility
Awareness Day, IBM Research hosted a full day of accessibility education, discussions, and
demonstrations at the Thomas J Watson Research Center to show how accessibility is driving business differentiation for everyone, regardless
of human ability.
Accessibility is a critical
foundational element of technology solutions that allow humans and machines to
interact effectively and intuitively. And it’s not just people with
disabilities; accessibility has become a mainstream technology that allows
everyone – including the aging population and those will low or no literacy –
to be productive and active
participants in society.
Reinventing the Relationship Between People and Technology
The event featured Peter Mahoney, the Chief Marketing Officer of Nuance and GM
of Dragon, who shared his perspectives on assistive technology in our world,
the expanding definition of accessibility, and the role that cognitive
computing plays in the future of accessibility.
|Peter Mahoney, CMO of Nuance and GM of Dragon|
“There is amazing human
potential that is being untapped right now through accessible technology,” said
Driven by government regulations,
such as the Americans with Disabilities Act or the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the explosion of mobile devices and
the growing demand of all users for a more personalized experience,
accessibility has become a requirement for commercial and government
organizations around the globe.
Mahoney stressed the
importance of tapping into the incredible intellect and ideas that people of
all abilities can offer in work and life. The advent of accessible technologies
reduces barriers, makes information more meaningful and consumable, and
Moving forward cognitive
computing, along with recent advancements in natural language understanding
and artificial intelligence, will play a huge role in how accessibility creates
personal assistants that serve us.
fundamentally flawed,” said Mahoney. “After all, we’re human. We can all
benefit from being enabled and aided by technology.”
Creating more intuitive
technologies that improve usability on any device – anytime and anywhere – will
address everyone’s needs, such as shopping experiences, visits to the doctor, or navigating a
new city. The result is more effective personal
interactions, increased user satisfaction, and a way for businesses to
differentiate products and services.
However, while the
future presents tremendous opportunity for the ongoing development of
human-centric technology, organizations are still challenged to accept that
accessibility has economic value, in addition to being the right thing to do.
changed people from being slaves to technology, to technology being a service
to people,” said Mahoney. “Everyone has great ideas that want to be shared and
ensuring technology is fluent in how humans communicate and interact will have
a great impact on society as a whole.”
|Dr. John Kelly, SVP and Director of IBM Research, joins others to see the Access My Campus demo |
Innovations in Accessibility
IBM experts from around the world also spent time demonstrating some of
the human-centric technologies being created to assist people of all abilities.
Some of the demonstrations included:
My Campus: This mobile app is designed to help university
students, faculty, and staff navigate efficiently around campus. The
app allows each user to personalize the interface to take advantage of the
accessibility features built into a mobile device. The app provides real-time
indoor navigation to people with low vision or who are blind, in addition
to anyone unfamiliar with a campus.
Media Captioner and Editor: With the
explosion of digital multimedia content, there has never been a greater
need to make video content accessible. This automated captioning solution reduces the cost and time it
takes to create accessible multimedia (videos, webcasts, etc.) by allowing
users to edit draft transcripts to ensure better accuracy of content. The resulting
transcribed and captioned multimedia is not only usable for more people in a
variety of circumstances and environments, but also easier for search engines to
index and rank,
optimizing the online visibility of enterprise digital content.
Accessible Workplace Connection: A web-based, global
accommodation management solution that provides employees and their
managers a streamlined process of requesting reasonable accommodations –
assistive technologies or accessibility services – in order to be more
productive in their jobs. IBM Accessible Workplace Connection
ensures proper accommodations are delivered, changed, supported and
maintained, creating a more inclusive workplace for individuals to advance
Labels: accessibility, cognitive computing, Nuance