NEW DELHI, INDIA: IBM will launch assistive technologies to enable the disabled in adopting IT usage in India.
The technologies were showcased at the IBM’s India Software Labs (ISL) in New Delhi
Talking to CyberMedia News, Daniel Dias, IBM India Software Labs, director, IBM India Research Laboratory and KS Raghunandan, director of Solutions, IBM India and South Asia, said that this will be the first time that the company is unveiling the Accessibility Initiative, to make information and technology accessible to the differently-abled in India.
“The major focus in on innovation, which IBM believes is a key part in bringing in an societal impact in addition to invention for usage of IT among all people. The solutions will enable IT accessibility regardless of age and the level of disability,” he said.
“There are three dimensions in the accessibility initiative, the first one in making the web accessible to the differently abled; the second part is bridging the digital divide, by technologies such as speech recognition and the third aspect is providing access to IT itself. We want to address all these three issues from the ‘base of the pyramid’ concept. For this we are doing exploratory projects with the government and other institutions, which enable the disabled from both the IT user and creators side,” Raghunandan said.
As part of the initiative IBM will bring to market the ‘easy Web browser’ technology, which will enable Web access through audio and video interfaces, as well as font-change technologies for the aged.
Raghunandan said that IBM has significantly invested in the domain of accessibility from the $ 6 billion allocated for R&D by the IT major. “We have a research agenda and there is a significant focus of accessibility initiative. In fact, we involve differently abled people and take their inputs in creating the solutions for the people,” he informed.
When asked about making a business case of the initiative, he said that IBM believes that if more people are provided access then the market will grow. “We will go to market, and the technologies will be incorporated in all our products and services. We have mandated that accessibility is made available in our solutions, hardware, software and services end-to-end, which we offer to our customers.”
IBM ISL has played a significant role in the initiative by developing Hindi and Indian-English speech recognition system, which is also resulted in building a prototype of a speech-enabled ATM for the disabled. The ATM will be on display at the ISL in Delhi.
“In the next three months, IBM will work towards taking technology to the people from base of the pyramid and also initiate some exploratory projects,” Raghunandan added.