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Axel Leblois

  The Access Line


Accessibility is a Driver for Mobile Innovation: Five Key Industry Trends to be Unveiled at the M-Enabling Summit

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The M-Enabling Summit on Accessible Mobile Technology for Seniors and Users of All Abilities is scheduled to take place June 9 and 10, 2014 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Washington, DC. Here's a note from G3ict Executive Director Axel Leblois on what attendees can look forward to at the third edition of the global conference and showcase.

accessibility is a driver for mobile innovation

Image: Accessibility drives mobile innovation
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Each year, we have the privilege of surveying you and all M-Enabling Summit participants to identify the most impactful trends in mobile accessibility. We prepare the Summit’s agenda and select topics based on your input and recruit the best minds among IT industry leaders and accessibility advocates to showcase and discuss their innovations. As a prelude to the Summit, I want to share with you the exceptionally exciting developments identified through the preparation of the 35 sessions taking place at the M-Enabling Summit.
Here are five of the highlights: 
  1. Accessible mobile user interfaces are about to take a new quantum leap: The concomitant market availability of wearable devices, sensors, face recognition software, biometrics and kinetic interfaces is generating a flurry of new developments by leading global IT vendors and multiple start-ups alike. Powerful assistive solutions which could not be previously imagined are here today. Think of the phone and its keyboard as an antique precursor to the always on, always anticipating, environment aware and connected miniaturized personal assistant of the future – of which all the components are becoming available. IDC’s predictions, Qualcomm presentations and Apple’s most recent accessibility advances and the many new solutions to be presented at the upcoming M-Enabling Summit all point towards the emergence of a new era for accessible and secure user interfaces.
  2. Increased competition is to be expected for accessible interfaces: Late last month, we visited Redmond and had an opportunity to meet and share perspectives with Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO: it’s no big secret that Satya served for several years as the chairperson for the Microsoft employees’ disability network prior to being appointed in his new leadership role. Satya’s awareness of disability and his vision to develop innovative and universally designed user interfaces is the best thing I have heard in the industry in a long time. Bottom-line: Accessibility is definitely at the core of competitive attributes for leading IT vendors. And, as a glimpse into the future and where this may be heading, to witness how children with intellectual disabilities use Microsoft’s advanced Kinect interfaces at a school in India earlier this year,  was an eye opener for me. 
  3. Cloud services are here and now for persons with disabilities: First with individual accessibility preferences stored in the cloud and made available across devices. The cloud also powers up image recognition apps which now leverage massive remote imagery databases. Couple this with way finding solutions, face recognition and the power of wearable devices and the sky is the limit for future assistive solutions. Blind users can find out what’s a package on a shelf, which store they are approaching on a street or what’s in a room. Leading service providers and their app developers will be unveiling spectacular solutions at the M-Enabling Summit. CIOs, led by the Gartner Group, will also look at the implications for large organizations of cloud based solutions and how to respond to the complex need of interconnected users of all abilities.   
  4. Security is becoming a critical issue for persons with disabilities and biometrics on mobile platforms are opening up entirely new ways of thinking. As a precursor sign of what’s in the pipeline, the ONCE Foundation will show us at the M-Enabling Summit how a bank in Spain already offers mobile access to over 1,000 ATMs. That means that an accessible and bio-metric secured mobile phone can be used by a person with disability to interact with all kind of electronic public kiosks or other automated devices. It’s a new paradigm which puts accessible mobile devices at the center of secure solutions for persons with disabilities.   
  5. Mobile devices are progressively entering the center stage of consumer electronics and raising consumer expectations for accessible and easy to use interfaces, and robust interconnectivity and interoperability. This is why we are so excited and honored to prepare the M-Enabling Summit with CEA, the Consumer Electronics Association, CTIA, the Wireless Association, and TIA, the Telecommunication Industry Association. Personal mobile devices are poised to become the universal extension of every device, enabling multiple solutions for independent living. At the Summit, you will also hear how innovations in the “Internet of Things” and Near Field Communications can further fuel those trends. And with micro-electronic price performance ratios showing continued improvements, the power of what we consider today as high-end mobile devices will be available to all users in the near future. 
I sincerely hope that you can join us for what promises to be a unique, trend-setting event. If you have not already done so, please consider registering at your earliest convenience at:

We expect more than 500 attendees at this time with the participation of leading organizations of Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, as well as of thought leaders in accessibility innovation: Adobe Systems, Apple, AT&T, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Comcast, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Deque Systems, eBay, IBM, Intel-GE Care Innovations, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Orange Group, PayPal, Samsung, The Gartner Group, IDC,  the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Sprint, T-Mobile, , Verizon, Visus Technology, ClickAndGo Wayfinding Maps, DAISY Consortium, SSB BART Group, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, TDI – Telecommunications for the Deaf, Georgia Tech, the American Foundation for the Blind, the Assistive Technologies Industry Association (ATIA), RESNA, the National Association of the Deaf, DORO, Panasonic, Wells Fargo, and a number of developers of mobile enabled accessibility solutions.

Please see complete agenda at:
Very much looking forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., June 9-10-11!

Axel Leblois
M-Enabling Summit Program Committee 
President and Executive Director
G3ict - Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs