As someone fairly new to the digital accessibility industry, it was a great learning experience to be able to attend the 4th Annual M-Enabling Summit last week. I was amazed to see how forward thinking innovations like Wearables and the Internet of Things are being used by people across all abilities. There’s no surprise why large companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon were in attendance along with progressive disruptive newcomers like Uber. The M-Enabling Summit offers a snapshot in time of where technology is headed for the masses. It is important to understand that many accessibility technologies often lead to mainstream adaptation for convenience. The next time you use speech dictation to send a text or ask Siri a question on your iPhone, understand that this originated as a way for people with disabilities to communicate without access to a keyboard.
Some of the areas that were especially memorable for me were the Health and Wellness solutions from Panasonic and Smart Solutions Home Automation products. It is exciting to see how technologies like wearables monitoring health vitals and being able to turn on lights with eye-tracking technology on an iPad can help people with disabilities. It is also intriguing to get a glimpse into the future to see how these features may one day become common place for people across all abilities.
During my time behind the table at the SSB BART Group booth, I found that clients were extremely interested in our AMP for Mobile product. As more and more content is being viewed on phones and tablets, it’s important to ensure that it is accessible. A report by Smart Insights indicates that mobile web usage has surpassed fixed desktops. In addition, 89% of that usage is via mobile apps instead of mobile web. These types of statistics drive our clients to need a mobile app accessibility testing platform. This is important not only from a revenue perspective, to ensure that companies are reaching the greatest possible audience (including people with disabilities), but also to mitigate their exposure to an ADA lawsuit via a mobile user with a disability. In speaking with some contacts at IBM, they are as excited as we are to be partners in the AMP for Mobile venture.
Attending this event was definitely an educating experience and I’m already looking forward to next year’s M-Enabling Summit.