This Thursday, we celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD was started seven years ago to encourage developers, inventors, and businesses to adhere to the notion of “technology as the great equalizer” by thinking about how their services and products can best serve people with different disabilities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 1 billion people globally need one or more assistive products. With the global elderly and disabled assistive devices market expected to surpass $26 billion by 2024, developing accessible IoT technologies is another way for companies to do well by doing good.
Opportunities for Accessible IoT
Image recognition, voice and touch control, and NLP are making our smart devices even smarter. And when they’re engineered to be accessible, they can significantly enrich the lives of people with disabilities – giving them greater independence and dignity.
- Amazon’s Echo gives blind and mobility-challenged people more control over their environments – allowing them to activate smart home devices, turn on music, and even make purchases online with voice control.
- Philips’ HUE Light Bulb can be set up to help people with cognitive impairments navigate through the house or remind them about things they still need to do.
- Nortek’s 2Gig home security devices help people with disabilities lock their doors, turn on their alarms, and even communicate with a live representative in case of emergency – all with the touch of a finger.
These products weren’t created specifically for people with disabilities, but they greatly benefit from their development.
IoT Accessibility Challenges
While there is tremendous opportunity, implementing accessibility standards within IoT solutions is very complicated. That’s because there is no universal set of accessibility standards for IoT. Mobile accessibility is different from web accessibility, which is different from kiosk accessibility. And IoT, which integrates a tangible product with an accompanying app, website and/or web service, faces even more complex challenges. With IoT developers have to consider both the physical and web/mobile/kiosk requirements necessary to create solutions that are accessible for all people across multiple interfaces.
Dev IQ is working with our partners to understand the unique challenges of developing accessible IoT, SaaS/PaaS/PDaaS, and mobile solutions. For example, we’re well connected with the Blind Institute of Technology, the leaders in educating companies on how to hire and cultivate success for the visually impaired. While we don’t have all the answers around IoT accessibility, we know that integration and collaboration with the communities most affected by accessibility challenges is a good place to start.
To learn more about how Dev IQ works to build accessible solutions for our clients, connect with us.
Digital Alchemist at Dev IQ, hot salsa lover, and automation expert.