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The Access Line
Mobile Apps and Services for Persons with Disabilities: Global Scale, Bringing New Stakeholders on Board
Mobile solutions brought considerable innovation at CSUN this year. For all stakeholders involved in e-accessibility, the emergence of hundreds of new accessible and assistive apps designed for various mobile operating system environments represents a quantum leap in the speed of innovations serving persons with disabilities. Market drivers are clear: unprecedented economies of scale, new distribution channels offered by mobile service providers, app stores and the Internet, processing performance, tablets, network bandwidth and declining hardware prices all support an exponential growth of opportunities for accessible mobile communications and mobile assistive solutions and services.
While creativity abounds, bringing the mobile industry on board is indispensable to successfully reach out to persons with disabilities. Leading service providers in several countries have dedicated substantial resources to do so. Yet, the 2010 G3ict CRPD Progress Report shows that less than half of the countries which have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) have either mobile accessibility policies or available mobile services for persons with disabilities. In most countries, however, the lack of information on existing solutions and how to make them available is the principal barrier. With this in mind, G3ict is taking steps in 2011 to further raise the awareness about available accessible and assistive mobile solutions and their implementation:
We look forward to engaging more mobile industry participants in promoting solutions for persons with disabilities. Application developers, handset manufacturers, operating system and middleware developers, mobile service providers, telecom regulators, mobile peripheral manufacturers, organizations delivering information or services to persons with disabilities via wireless networks constitute a new global eco-system which can rapidly expand its reach to serve persons with disabilities.