Saturday, October 15, 2022

10th M-Enabling Summit: What 5G can do for accessibility

Under the theme of “Digital Inclusion: Strategies for Equal Opportunities,” the 2022 M-Enabling Summit, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, intends to explore the latest innovations and major trends in business, government and education that are accelerating the pursuit of universal accessibility for digital products, contents, and services. One influential actor is this space is Verizon, the American multinational telecommunications provider. Their Manager for Strategic Alliances, Zach Bastian shares his expectations for this Summit and gives insights on how 5G can improve accessibility. 

How has accessibility evolved over the past three years from your perspective? In general and in regard to mobile services and devices in particular? 

Zach: The massive push to remote services made digital accessibility more important - when features don't work, customers are unlikely to use the product again. Disability is more equitably considered in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, creating more momentum for accessibility. The market for accessible start-ups is healthy, and they create products with wide appeal.

What is an initiative in accessibility that you and/or Verizon are particularly proud of? 

Zach: Our partnership with Waymap and Loyola Marymount University to bring accessible audio-based navigation to the campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Learn more by watching this video and reading this short blog.

Where would you like to have support (and what kind of support) in advancing accessibility, both within the company as well as for your clients? 

Zach: Everyone and everything helps. I love to see big swings at problems, but small changes matter. Each person who recognizes the value of accessibility can advocate and bring others along. We thrive in an inclusive community.

Do you think 5G can make a difference in accessibility? 

Zach: Absolutely. 5G Ultra Wideband has better location accuracy, and as 5G antennas shrink, we can pushcomputation to the network edge, meaning services can be deployed on a less expensive lower power device.

What are the key trends you see in accessibility (both negative and positive)? 

Zach: Negative: unscrupulous vendors selling accessibility as a turnkey fix, marketing cheap automatic scripts to bring websites in ADA compliance. These services don't work and often make accessibility worse. Positive: An evolving conversation framing intersectional disability. Disability reflects both the individual and the world around them.

What do you expect from this year’s M-Enabling Summit? 

Zach: Great presentations, and old and new friends.

10th M-Enabling Summit: 

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