Fifty-four million Americans and more than one billion persons worldwide live with disabilities, including a large proportion of senior citizens. With the ever-expanding digital transformation of all activities in all sectors, the sheer market size represented by Persons with Disabilities and seniors is undeniable. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on accessibility is now enforceable in 185 countries, and organizations must ensure that their digital products, content and services are accessible.
To address this challenge, accessibility standards, solutions, products, services, and good practices need to be readily available. Accessibility innovations in the past decade, driven by mobile device manufacturers, mobile operating systems vendors and assistive mobile application and services providers, have brought considerable improvements that address the most common barriers to digital access for Persons with Disabilities.
The adoption of the W3C web accessibility guidelines, the U.S. and EU procurement standards and the mainstreaming of accessibility features for desktop environments and applications, have further contributed to a greater awareness and availability of solutions.
Yet, as many surveys demonstrate, a large majority of web sites are inaccessible, adoption of assistive solutions adoption remains weak, and many organizations are not addressing the considerable opportunity to better serve Persons with Disabilities and all users by implementing the many digital accessibility methods and solutions available today.
To foster better awareness and exchanges among professionals involved in inclusion, accessibility, accommodation, care giving, assistive or inclusive products and services, the M-Enabling Summit is exclusively dedicated to covering those topics from an organizational perspective.
It is the sole global venue emphasizing the sharing of experiences, good practices in digital accessibility among professionals, innovators, and solutions providers staged by professionals and advocates.
Market Drivers for Digital Inclusion
- Aging populations are increasing in key markets due to improved life expectancy and slowing birth rates.
- A majority of organizations promote inclusion as a core corporate value.
- Sectors such as higher education now rely on large amounts of activities delivered virtually.
- Organizations seek to expand among underserved populations including seniors and persons with disabilities, especially in saturated marketplaces.
- The growing influence of Accessibility Professionals, as demonstrated by the global outreach and impact of the IAAP, International Association of Accessibility Professionals, increasingly drives technology choices in all sectors of activities in favor of products and services which comply with accessibility requirements.
- Mainstream operating systems embedded accessibility features allow developers to deliver new sophisticated accessible and assistive solutions not previously available.
- Accessibility features enhance the experience of all users who access digital contents and services with their mobile devices in situation requiring alternative modes of interaction with their handsets.
- As a result, accessibility and usability features are now central to the competition among digital platforms, devices and operating system vendors.
- Public procurement rules requiring that all products and services purchased by public entities be digitally accessible are now adopted in major technology markets including the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union.
- More than 7 billion mobile devices create the opportunity to leverage economies of scale for accessible technologies and align mobile web and accessible mobile design for greater efficiencies, especially in countries where mobile access to the Internet is dominant.
- The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by 185 countries, creates a global policy and regulatory environment that promotes digital accessibility.
- The European Accessibility Act and the Web Accessibility Directive impact both the public and private sectors among 27 member states.
- The implementation of the U.S. 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act further promotes accessible solutions in areas such as emergency communications, web browsing, complementing assistive products and services programs such as relay services and equipment distribution for deaf-blind persons.