Microsoft India conducted its first-ever Accessibility Summit in India at Hyderabad on 30th May 2017, with the aim to enhance technology access for people who are differently-abled. The summit featured demonstrations on how accessible technology brings value for organizations and stressed on the need for a collaborative effort in revisiting the present policies for building an “accessible India.” The conference was attended by prominent leaders from multiple spheres like government, non-profit organizations, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and budding technologists who presented their views and best practices on clubbing accessibility and technology for furthering the cause.
The conference was stage to several constructive sessions that highlighted the role of technology in creating accessible, scalable and sustainable models for youth with disabilities. The interactions provided insights into the need for coming up with better regulatory policies to improve accessible technologies and to enhance hiring practices. Another significant point of discussion was the need for optimizing existing hardware and software configuration standards to drive accessibility.
A few use cases were shown such as using assistive technologies in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Learning Disabilities (SLD), while a young team from IIT Kharagpur showcased a personal assistant device named “White Cane” that helps the visually impaired persons. Similarly, several unique and innovative technology-based projects for empowering people with disabilities developed by non-profit organizations, assistive technologies developed by Microsoft Partners, and Communities were presented at the event.
Speaking at the summit, Madhu Khatri, Associate General Counsel and Accessibility Lead, Microsoft India said, “A market-driven ecosystem is the best environment for encouraging greater accessibility for all users. Microsoft believes that there are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it.”
The vision of the conference was to ensure the inclusion of people with diverse abilities in the development agenda of India. The conference proved how public-private partnerships can enable better social inclusion and help people with disabilities achieve more.
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