Fifty-four million Americans and more than one billion persons worldwide live with disabilities, including a large proportion of senior citizens.Â With the ever-expanding digital transformation of all activities in all sectors, the sheer market size represented by Persons with Disabilities, prevalent societal values promoting inclusion and the generalization around the world of policies, regulations or legislation promoting the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on accessibility now enforceable in 185 countries, organizations must ensure that their digital products, contents and services are accessible.Â
To address this challenge, accessibility standards, solutions, products, services and good practices are readily available. Accessibility innovations driven over the past decade 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 generalization of 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 it, a large majority of web sites are inaccessible, assistive solutions adoption remains weak, while 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 or providing assistive or inclusive products and services, the M-Enabling Summit is exclusively dedicated to covering those topics from an organization perspective. It is the sole global venue emphasizing the sharing of experiences, good practices in digital accessibility among professionals, innovators and products and solutions providers staged by professionals and advocates for professionals and advocates.
Market Drivers for Digital Inclusion
- Aging populationsÂ 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 featuresÂ enhance the experience of all usersÂ who access digital contents and services with their mobile devices in situation requiring alternative modes of interaction with their handsets.Â
- As a result, accessibility and usability features are nowÂ 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. Â
- More than 7 billion mobileÂ devicesÂ 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.Â 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility ActÂ 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.