In 2013, GSMA introduced for the first time a category for accessibility in the Global Mobile Awards, through some work done with the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) organisation. UCP educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities, and approached GSMA with the idea of introducing an accessibility award.
In 2014, the 20th edition of the Global Mobile Awards puts for the second time accessibility on the forefront, this year with even two categories: Best Mobile App, Service or Initiative for Accessibility & Inclusion and Best Device for Accessibility & Inclusion.
The winner is...
Last year’s winner in the accessibility category was the app Turkcell My Dream Partner. The app is an IVR and mobile application service that enables blind people to access information in a fast and independent manner, free of charge. Through the use of speech to text technology it brings services, news, educational materials and navigation systems to blind people as well as enabling them to take notes on these subjects more easily. Turkcell, Turkey’s leading telecommunication and technology company, developed this app for Turkey, where only 5% of the 800.000 visually impaired are well educated due to the difficult access to education and information for blind people. Turkcell’s free-of-charge service My Dream Partner was launched in 2012 and has served the visually impaired with more than 350 thousand calls that add up to about 2 million minutes. The project is also considered to be exported and implemented in Ukraine.
Huge market potential
“We felt that we were underserving accessibility at the Mobile World Congress where we cover such a wide range of topics. Not only in the sense of need to serve, but it is a tremendous market opportunity to develop apps and services for a market that is potentially a billion people who are confronted with physical or mental impairments, not to mention the ageing population”, says Mark Smith, Marketing Director at GSMA, and responsible for the organisation of the Global Mobile Awards.
A panel of independent judges coming from journalism, research, academia with expertise in the specific categories, assesses all submissions and decides on which apps are going to be shortlisted and in the end rewarded.
The shortlist will be published by the GSMA during February 2015, and one winner in each category will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 3 March 2015. The Mobile World Congress 2015 will furthermore feature sessions on inclusion and accessibility and open the floor to many interesting discussions.
The Awards are a wonderful way to raise awareness about apps that help overcome barriers and can both help raise awareness in about the importance of mobile accessibility in general as well as help well done apps to gain traction.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, 12 December 2014.
If you are interested, please submit your app here: http://www.globalmobileawards.com/categories2015/category-3-social-economic-development/3d-best-mobile-app-service-or-initiative-for-accessibility-inclusion