The growing influence of independent analysts

Having worked with many of the leading analyst firms over the last 3 decades, it has been fascinating to work as an independent over recent years. More and more independents seem to be springing up either from an analyst or vendor background. Most vendors and service providers are happy to invite ‘us’ alongside the well-represented analyst firms to their product and strategy events as well as to major industry conferences such as MWC and CES. Not surprisingly, given our industry experience and lack of corporate constraint, we are generally more outspoken than many of the representatives of the establishment.

Industry events provide opportunities for analyst colleagues from all sizes of organisation to meet. and share thoughts. Out of some such discussions came the project I have been running with Amdocs Network Solutions Division, where different independent analysts collaborate to produce high-level papers each covering a key topic within the sector. The client gets the benefit of working through a single point of contact, whilst the independent analysts get a streamlined route into a client and the broader market to present their thoughts and opinions. And, through this collaborative approach, our combined knowledge and experience (amounting to over a hundred analyst years), the quality is excellent. Luckily, the technology at our disposal also allows us to build flexible teams to address issues despite our very different backgrounds and locations.

Initial papers have been:

What’s the CTO’s role in the digital boardroom – Marc Dowd and Chris Lewis

App-aware networks vs. network-savvy apps – Dean Bubley and Chris Lewis

The evolving supply chain and its implications for the CTO – Tony Poulos and Chris Lewis

Why 5G won’t be enough – Caroline Gabriel and Chris Lewis

Future papers already in the pipeline include Telcos and the SME, and the impact of the OTTs on telco business and network models.

People are sceptical about the independence of analysts. Some firms, and indeed individuals, have been that ‘gun available for hire’ to promote particular companies or technologies. Obviously, someone has to pay the bills. In this project, the topics are agreed upfront but editorial control remains with the analysts. Since Amdocs Network Solutions Division is using the papers and accompanying videos to help raise their awareness at a high level with the world’s CSPs, there is no product pitch, no axe to grind – just an opportunity to provide high-level content to potential customers to make them think about the future of the telco and its role. So the client benefits from the papers and their thought-leadership, whilst analysts get a platform to demonstrate how they are able to compete in a market dominated by a few major players and a very long tail of small companies.

Whether you are an independent analyst with experience of the telco sector, or a company working in the telecoms industry, there might be an opportunity for us to work together. Take a look at the papers and think about topics that you think could be addressed in a similar way.

Add to this the Great Telco Debate www.telcodebate.com (London on November 15th 2016) as a platform for the independents and more open, wide-ranging discussion around the future of the telecoms industry. Attendees love the format and honesty of debate. In 2015 we used analysts as a panel to sum up the different debates and interrogate their joint wisdom on the future of the industry! Nowhere else do attendees get the contrary perspectives on offer from such a wide variety of industry stakeholders.

Long live the independents!

Tagged , , , , ,

Accessibility for the disabled – an opportunity for the telecoms industry that benefits everyone

What is accessibility? Simply put, how people with disabilities can use the same technology as their able bodied peers for work and personal lives.

The numbers and the business case for accessibility are compelling. With a billion people in the world (1 in 7) suffering from some form of disability, most of us will be impacted at some point in our lives. 4% of children, 10% of the working population but over 75% of the over 65s have their lives affected by hearing impairment, vision impairment, physical or cognitive conditions. And, many of those with more acute conditions are unable to enter or remain in the workforce due to accessibility issues.

Why is this especially important to the telecoms industry? Fundamentally because mobile devices and broadband connectivity will be a vital link in allowing the disabled to participate fully in work and social activities. In addition, the advent of the Internet of Things (IOT) and the explosion in wearables also have major sensory replacement and enhancement implications. Under the old regime, all disabilities developed their technology separately and at vast expense. With mobile devices, tablets, TVs, wearables and sensors now available as a platform for everyone, access to specialist equipment, apps and services is much easier and certainly much more affordable. Now disabled people can join many online activities such as retail, banking and entertainment, whilst having the opportunity of getting into the workforce, leveraging those more accessible devices and exposing their individual skillset.

Developments in computing, storage and network capabilities combined with a range of means of interacting with devices and applications such as touch, gesture, speech – and brainwave coming soon – all mean that senses can be enhanced or content adapted to suit an impairment. These are the key components falling into place to make all this possible: –

  • Devices are getting more accessible with adaptation to screens and input assisted by speech, touch or gesture
  • Smart homes mean that access to devices and functions helping around the house are easily adapted to different conditions: lighting that changes colour to announce a phone call or someone at the door is a great mash up example of connectivity, IOT and adapting to a disability. Add to this the potential of domestic robots and the opportunities enormous.
  • Wearables & IOT bring consumer electronics in terms of high-powered camera, microphones and sensors to help individuals who have some sensory impairment better communicate, consume content or interact with 3rd parties for business or personal matters
  • Smart city services also mean that the person with a disability can not only join the online community but can also better navigate their way through the village, town or city with assistive services based on iBeacons and information about accessible routes within the environment as well as public and commercial buildings
  • Applications split into mainstream items such as social media and retail; and specialist apps for different conditions such as help seeing, interpreting speech and learning. People with different disabilities require a combination of regular apps as well as a few specialist ones that focus on enhancing the necessary additional inputs depending on their particular circumstances.

Not surprisingly, with so many contributing components coming from so many diverse sources, there is a lack of consistency when it comes to standards. This is true for the consumer electronics components as well as the operating systems and applications environments being used. Guidelines, such as those from G3ICT, as how to make all components more accessible and more inter-operable do exist but more work is required. Mobile device manufacturers are taking accessibility more seriously with the Global Accessibility Research Initiative (GARI www.gari.info) listing many of the world’s accessible devices and applications.

It is essential to educate all parties about what different disabled people may need. The number of variations in conditions is enormous. Providing flexible font sizes, colour contrast, different speech rates and enhanced volume is obvious. The fact that we now have so many devices adaptable amd personalisable for everyone’s needs is an excellent basis for building a more accessible environment.

The fear factor from those outside of the disability area also has to be addressed.

  • Parents of a child diagnosed with a disability need access to the technology and understanding of how it will allow their child to develop through education and work.
  • Employers have to be made aware of the ways in which disabled people can contribute to business (deaf people doing online chat in a call centre, blind people coding, wheelchair-bound customer care agents and many more)
  • Co workers need to understand how to best interact given different disabilities

In short, the call to arms is for everyone involved in the digital landscape to embrace accessibility from first principles. If digital product design includes accessibility from the get go, then the ease of accessibility and adaptability for all conditions is simplified. Adding dedicated accessibility devices and software on to an existing product is, as we know all too well, an ugly, painful and sub-optimal approach. And, extremely importantly, this new approach to design will improve everyone’s lives. Everyone finds themselves at certain times temporarily or ‘situationally’ disabled. Drivers shouldn’t look at their smart phone screens, deep sea divers can’t use speech nor can people in the more frozen climates use touch through thick gloves!

Once the accessibility angle is built into the cycle of product/application development and included on every refresh cycle, then the issue of accessibility will simply become part of the personalisation that we have discussed for years around the mobile world. In the meantime, it is incumbent on all companies from the smallest applications developer to larger corporations offering services via their apps (including governments), to make sure accessibility is included in the process and implementation flows around digitisation.

Technology is no longer the barrier to accessibility it was 25 years ago. Awareness of the range of disabilities and their adapted needs, both in terms of user interfaces and preferred channels of communications, will lead to better designed products for everyone. Many exist already:

  • Sign language via a video conference link
  • Audio description of television programmes and films
  • People with speech defects using email, Instant Messaging, chat and the like.

It is a question of making sure this is communicated to all parts of business and government as well as being built into both product development and channels to market. And, most importantly, adding knowledge transfer to all education, charity and NGOs to optimize awareness and usage for people when they enter the disabled marketplace.

In economic terms, this is a powerful group, representing some $4 Trillion of spending power. The more they can benefit from the digital premium and the more we can leverage technology to get them into the workforce, the stronger the group will become in economic terms.

For every business, every government department and for many families, more accessible devices, applications and services will benefit both internally and externally. This is not simply a matter of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but an economic and moral obligation to use technology to build an inclusive society. So, let’s spread the word, build accessibility into products from scratch and let’s make everyone’s lives easier, more digital and more rewarding!

The Six Million Dollar man 40 years on. Wearables, Smartphones, 3D printing. Cost to you <$100k!

As a teenager in the 1970s I loved Steve Austin, the astronaut who crashed and was rebuilt. Remember the tag line “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology, the capability to make the world’s first Bionic man”! It captured my imagination and has come to the front of my thinking now as I consider the possibilities of using technology to compensate for the different disabilities affecting people today. Perhaps we can’t replicate the eagle-eye zoom or the leopard-like speed of Lee Major’s character, but we can certainly bring functional replacement or complementary devices and applications to bring the astronaut-specific re-build of the 70s down to a very affordable level today.

The price of electronic components is continually falling, fueling the consumer electronics boom. Smartphones, and their associated explosion of applications, leverage the mobile network and the cloud computing phenomenon to deliver a wealth of apps both mainstream and specific to certain conditions, often free or at a minimal charge. On top of this comes the wearables revolution: watches, bracelets, eyeware, hearing devices, patches and exoskeleton limbs. 3D printing also means that the manufacturing of specialist devices is literally at the push of a button and can be taken to the most remote part of the world, delivering prosthetics to Africa at an affordable price point.

So how does the $6 million (not even allowing for inflation) look today? What gadgets, software and services could we pluck from consumer electronics retail outlets, apps stores and the medical community to build our modern-day bionic person?

  • Smartphone – $500
  • Exoskeleton bionic hand – $20,000
  • Exoskeleton legs with muscle stimulated control – $30,000
  • Sight (glasses) – $2,500
  • Hearing – $2,500
  • Bracelet with haptic feedback – $500
  • Smart watch – $500
  • Skin patches- $50

Total = <$100,000

There are, of course, some very expensive options such as retinal implants which still cost $100,000s plus complex surgery. However, most of the shopping list is literally off-the-shelf, or even off-the-printer.

The individual will need a subscription to a mobile provider, and probably also a link to their home WiFi, to enjoy the luxury of controlling the various household devices and services in the smarter-home environment; and, outside of the home, to link with the smart village, town and city services that can also complement the items in terms of navigation, linking into public services as well as the broader business community.

The e-health perspective also needs to be built into the thinking. Some of the devices will link into social and e-health services. Some of the information loops could potentially be to doctors and carers without the individual even needing to be involved. In effect, multiple information loops will feed off and to the individual, whilst improved monitoring and reduced cost of maintaining contact will help fund installations where required.

Steve Austin was funded by the US government in the TV show. In the case of a person being disabled through an accident, insurance would doubtless be involved, as would the medical authorities. Most of the items here are off-the-shelf and affordable for a vast swathe of society, not just limited to astronauts!

The world’s billion disabled people (source WHO) will have an increasing chance of joining in the digital revolution at home, at work and in society as a whole if we all help bring it to their attention. We also need to educate other relevant parties – family and friends, doctors and governments to name a few.

In the year that we all went Back to the Future, it just goes to show that time spent watching TV as a teenager wasn’t wasted. In Thunderbirds and Joe 90, Gerry Anderson predicted video mobile phones, Telepresence and brainwave transplants, and don’t forget the crew of the Starship Enterprise had mobile devices. If you want to predict the future, keep an eye on the TV!
six million dollar man

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What tech is out there for disabled people?

Recent interview with Telefonica about accessibility technology available today and in the future. I’m not the one in the bow tie….

Lewis Insight Interview with Telefonica

Tagged , , , , , ,

What is the collective noun for a group of Smart cities? Let’s call it a Yinchuan.

200 representatives from City authorities around the world descended on Yinchuan, in the independent economic area of Ningxia in China, to put a stake in the ground for Smart City development. This was the TM Forum’s inaugural Smart City forum. Sponsored by the City of Yinchuan, its forward-thinking secretary and ZTE Soft, the event was to establish a base line of where we are on the much hyped journey to Smart cities. The notion of One Map, One Network and One Cloud was the theme of the opening comments from the Yinchuan dignitaries.

Yinchuan, a City of some 2 million people, has taken an aggressive approach to turning itself into a new Smart City hub for the region. By the way, this is where Genghis Kahn reached before being defeated! The centralised Citizen Hall demonstrates how they are transforming the delivery of citizens’ services:

  • All services can be accessed through the centre in phase 1 and will all go online and mobile in subsequent phases.
  • Smart housing also comes in the form of gated communities with facial recognition on the gates, Smart delivery systems for delivering goods and a Smart drinking water system in each building for citizens to fetch their daily requirements.
  • Terminals in each apartment also give people the means of connecting with medical services as well as the Citizen Hall in latter phases of the development.

From outside China, the input to the debate came from cities as far apart as Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Cape Town, Bristol, Singapore, Toronto/ Mississauga and Lisbon.

The themes throughout were consistent:

  • Transport and travel is one of the early focuses for the cities, reducing traffic and carbon footprint of congested cities through integrated bus, train, vehicle, bicycle (but not so much pedestrian) flows.
  • Open Data sets: all cities talked about the drive towards developing or mandating open data sets upon which the City as well as third parties could build functionally useful applications. This forces departments to their publish data on the web, also accelerating the availability of information based on legacy and diverse technology platforms
  • Data analytics for visualising the flows of all moving parts in the City “listening to the City” showed the potential for adjusting services on a real-time basis, whether it be pot holes, cycle routes or finding a doctor in a medical emergency
  • Putting the citizen at the heart of the Smart City rather than the governmental machinery delivering services
  • The Smart City initiative has to be driven from on high within the city: a champion is essential along with a mandate to drive the initiative across all formerly independent silos of local and regional authorities
  • Infrastructure is key: leveraging owned fibre and WiFi connectivity, along with data centre facilities
  • Building up the sensor and monitoring infrastructure to feed the data analytics engines should aim to be embraced by the citizens and not fall into the trap of being seen as Big Brother and just another means of monitoring what people are doing
  • Gamification of services to get people on board: animation using street lamps and videoing tricks as well as the chance to ‘talk’ to a lamppost!
  • The use of smart identity cards to act as the hub for citizen services also came through as an important contributor
  • Crowd-sourcing and collective development of smart services such as real time traffic reporting, means that the citizen becomes a vital part of creating, driving and continuously improving the suite of services supporting the city
  • Partnership between the city authority and local universities and business helps accelerate the smart deployment and develop a broader platform for all stakeholders to enjoy
  • Simulation: the data centre, compute and storage facilities can also be used to let other less developed cities test how theirs would look and behave

Some very impressive demonstrations of analytics, visualisation and how things might look in the future came from all points of the compass. Defining the Smart City still struggles to get a consistent answer but the City Protocol Group outlined their not-for-profit approach to defining the ‘anatomy’ of the city and the interrelationship between infrastructure, services and citizens. This will certainly help all parties work together to drive this initiative.

The City of Groningen in the Netherlands got the biggest round of applause from the audience. Their deputy mayor described the way in which they are making their city smarter. The best example was how analytics, combined with weather reports and the traffic light management system were being mashed up to give cyclists priority through traffic lights when it rains heavily.

Singapore provoked a strong reaction when describing how city planning, based on visualisation of patterns of travel, allowed the ‘smart state’ to redevelop a former cemetery by moving a key successful school into the district, subsequently removing peoples’ barriers to living in such an area!

Yinchuan should be praised for its initiative. No doubt the facilities being built around the city will attract significant business activity from inside and outside China alike. Ironically, communications was one of the short-comings of the event. Flying to Yinchuan via Shanghai or Beijing needs to be improved, as does the WiFi serving the international conference centre and the citizen centre.

The focus on citizens did raise an unanswered question as to how they will be segmented. After all, citizens represent a diverse set of communities, households, individuals of different earning power, ethnicity and disability. Conversations with many speakers afterwards revealed an acknowledgement of the need to work on this aspect of the Smart City. It was agreed that building accessibility for all citizens, an inclusive Smart City policy, was necessary in order to leverage the investment.

The vision is of an inclusive set of services available to all citizens through mobile and fixed connections, delivering an improvement in quality of life, ‘happiness’ and a brighter economic future for the smartest cities. The transformation required from the city organisations themselves is significant. Political will, along with appropriate investment in infrastructure and service culture will be the acid test for the world’s Smart Cities and this initiative from the TM Forum.

Tagged , , , , , ,

You’re blind: How do you ‘read’, join in social media and find your way around, let alone run a business?

Picture the scene: a blind man walking down the street moving white stick to and fro. He is muttering to himself while clicking a small black thing in his left hand. What is he doing? Actually, he is running his business, doing email, messaging, reading documents, checking-in for his flight and working out the best route using bus and tube to get to the airport. The black device is a mini keyboard, controlling the iPhone in his pocket and it is talking to him via his in-ear Bluetooth device….

Having been registered blind for over 30 years, I am accustomed to the regular question about how the hell do you run a business? I thought it worth while to put this down in writing both as a record of how things stand in 2015, but also as evidence of how my world has changed since the days of cumbersome magnifiers, papers being sent off to be recorded, and very clunky interfaces with early PCs.

Equipment & technology

  1. iPhone 6. This is my main means of consuming content and keeping up to date using the built-in Voiceover feature, (not Siri) as a screen reader that describes to me what is on the screen. Add to this larger than necessary device (the screen size is irrelevant to me) is a small mini Bluetooth keyboard, the RiVo, which I use as a remote control to the iPhone (leaving the phone in my pocket or bag) and a Plantronics Bluetooth earpiece.
  2. Lenovo laptop with Windoweyes and Zoomtext: I still use a laptop for main content creation such as this blog. This is now simply on account of the fact that I like the feel of a full old-fashioned keyboard and a large screen magnified to make me feel I am still working properly! There are no specific built-in applications on the laptop beyond this add-on assistive technology. Updates to Windoweyes and Zoomtext can often cause problems because their interworking with either the hardware from Lenovo or the Windows operating system is a continuous struggle.
  3. Standard TV: On the main TV in the house I do insist on Audio Description being turned on so that I can better follow those tricky dialogue light films and programmes. The verbal description woven in between the actual dialogue often enhances the programme for all the family members – try it for yourself sometime!
  4. Victor Stream Reader from Humanware: This is the one specialist device I use. This no-screen device has very tactile buttons, long battery life and stores my talking books from Audible along with podcasts and access to live streamed radio and some Internet.

Apps

On the iPhone I have a mix of regular and specialist apps. The regular apps I use most often are:

  • BBC Sport:
  • BBC New: simple interface and straight forward despite the picture contents
  • Podcasts: annoying interface but great to have access to all that content: perhaps publish a list of my favourites at a later date
  • BBC Weather: simple and really useful when travelling around although not always accurate!
  • British Airways: for managing flights, getting mobile boarding cards – however, the latest version has lost some of its accessibility features and says ‘button’ an awful lot of the time!
  • Google maps: still struggling to get the most out of them but they are good
  • Virgin Media TV Anywhere to manage my set top box and record programmes
  • BBC iPlayer to give me access to my favourite radio  stations and podcasts
  • Twitter: pretty straight forward with Voiceover
  • Google docs to get access and manage my documents on my Google Drive: really useful when out and about
  • LinkedIN: somewhat easier to navigate than LinkedIn on the laptop/web but still clumsy
  • Hailo & Uber for taxis both work well once you have struggled through what needs to be input, when!

In terms of specialist apps, I mainly use:

  • Blind Square for finding restaurants, previewing menus and finding numbers to call for directions in case the map app fails
  • Be My Eyes: for identifying things via a video link to a volunteer when nobody sighted is around to help
  • Tap Tap See: ditto
  • RNIB Navigator: finding my way around and checking that cab drivers are not taking the micky
  • RNIB Overdrive: for access to the library of talking books and magazines!
  • Lire: not really a specialist app but it is a simple RSS app that scans the web for news feeds from your favourite sources.
  • Movie Reading: a beta version of an app that downloads audio description and synchronises with the cinema, TV programme or DVD
  • Camcard: a business card scanning app that uses the phone camera to scan and turn content into input for your contacts

Using the RiVo mini keypad does make navigating the iPhone a lot easier. It also makes typing easier. My preference is using it in the old T9 format, the one you would have used for text on your old Nokia phones. However, it does have a small QWERTY setting but I haven’t gone there.

Using the iPhone with keyboard and earpiece does mean that I can carry on doing email, listening to content, while walking along carrying my white stick. I suspect this is a little like people using their phones while driving but it does make my travel time walking, being driven, flown or sailed, a lot more productive and interesting.

As you may gather, I am close to dispensing with the services of a laptop if I can get a high quality full QWERTY keyboard that fits my aging fingers and suits my typing style! I would still plug it into a big screen in the office to give me the option of magnifying as and when necessary.

With most content now being available digitally and via the web or an app, I can consume and create content almost as readily as a sighted peer. Spreadsheets do pose a problem, as does Power Point. So, as with the apps world, I do draw on some human sighted assistance when this poses a problem.

The good news is that barriers are coming down, the more digital society gets, the more I should be able to join in on an equal footing.

I will keep you posted as things change.

Tagged , , , , ,

Big Screen, Small Screen, No Screen – Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired

At the recent Vision UK 2020 conference, stakeholders in the eye-care sector pulled together a Tech Table to demonstrate the breadth and depth of current and emerging technology available to the visually impaired (VI). In the mainstream telecoms market, people talk about Big Screen (television) to Small Screen (smart phone) as a continuum of devices through which people consume their digital lifestyles. We demonstrated that these are equally relevant for the visually impaired as well as extending the continuum with a few ‘No Screen’ devices specially developed for the VI sector.

The Big Screen is represented by increasing number of accessible televisions on the market. Samsung has now released its accessible sets where on-screen menus can be turned into speech generating prompts for the visually impaired. They don’t yet work with set top boxes provided by Sky and Virgin, but apps are increasingly available on smart phones to step in and provide this element of accessibility.

In between the Big and Small screens come tablets that are increasingly peoples’ preferred devices. Android and Apple provide a range of accessible tablets that can help the visually impaired, both through magnified screen and screen readers. They are affordable, light, and can act as peoples’ access point into the digital world. Looking a little further forward, they can also be the hub for controlling many aspects of the household as well as a link for e-health services.

The now traditional laptop fits in here as well. It is unfortunate that screen readers are not designed as part of the operating system, except for Apple. This tends to make many of the required apps not totally accessible. However, as a tool for creating documents and for those of us who grew up believing a computer needs a physical keyboard, they still play a vital role. Hopefully, as Microsoft releases Windows 10, we will have a built-in screen reader, whilst benefiting from a much cheaper braille display.

The small screen is represented by ubiquitous smart phones. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, amongst others, provide a very accessible platform for people at home and out and about. The trend in this market is for larger screens, creeping up to the tablet level. However, the availability of high quality Bluetooth earpieces and mini Bluetooth keyboards does mean that the chunky smart phone can stay in the pocket, and all its wonderful apps can be used, even while walking along carrying a white cane!

There is an even smaller screen in the form of the smart watch. Apple recently brought out its watch that certainly helps seed the market. It has accessibility built in both in terms of speech output and haptic feedback. However, it still needs a smartphone to operate and the screen is only useful to a small minority of VI people. A nice piece of fashion but, for now, it seems to be in the luxury category rather than essential.

No Screen is, for the time being, something specific for the VI community. Humanware’s Victor Reader and the SonataPlus from the British Wireless Association for the Blind, are two great examples of devices made specifically for the blind and partially sighted community. Simple, tactile button operated devices linking the VI person to both downloaded and streamed content including radio, podcasts and those lovable audio books all make life a lot easier. And, with no screen, the Victor Reader battery life lasts a lot longer than your average smart phone. The Sonata has a very simple set of buttons to operate and also has the possibility of remote assistance to help users set up and manage their digital content – blending a little human help with the wealth of technology available.

From a mainstream technology point of view, the assistance provided by Siri and Cortana on smart devices is now going to be joined by solutions such as Amazon Echo, a general purpose screenless device for your home providing voice activated information and entertainment.

It is also worth mentioning a non-smart device at this point. The Bradley Time piece is a great example of watch design with magnetic ball bearing providing a tactile minute and hour information. It is a fine example of beautiful design and absolutely practical function that compliments all of the computer-based technology on the continuum.

Across all these platforms exist a series of apps that come from both the open market and the VI market. An accessible device allows us to do online shopping, banking and web browsing that our sighted peers have enjoyed for some time. In addition, our daily lives can be helped by specialist apps that address our lack of eye sight and use computing power, image and recognition software as well as volunteers to help provide some human sighted assistance. Perhaps more importantly, an accessible smart phone will also increasingly link to household devices, cinemas and the outside world in the form of city information and services to facilitate a lot more accessibility.

In the digital accessibility stream, we also heard from Oxford University and Microsoft (working with RNIB and Guide Dogs respectively), about future looking projects which will enhance our lives through incredibly powerful camera and recognition software as well as the ability to navigate with smart technology on our streets and buildings. Combine this with the range of peripheral devices, (some might call wearables) becoming available and we can leverage bone conduction headsets with CD quality 360 sound to complement all other senses at play.

In short, there is a wealth of technology available today. It is increasingly accessible and relatively simple to use. Some need hand-holding to get started, but nobody should fear technology when sight is a problem. Spread the word: technology as a life enhancing tool is here to stay and it is there to be adapted to the visually impaired and not vice versa.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: