2019 FCC Chairman's Awards presented last night

 

A light bulb turned on over a wood surfaceLast night during the M-Enabling Summit the FCC's Chairman, Ajit Pai, announced the winners of this year's Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility. These awards provide the opportunity to give recognition to notable innovations, improvements, and initiatives in accessibility that were introduced into the market during 2019.

These year's winners are:

Microsoft, Tobii, and EyeTech: USB Human Interface Device Standard (HID) for Eye Trackers 

The standard created by these 3 companies makes it easier for people with limited mobility to use touch screens or devices such as a keyboard or a mouse.  Thanks to this standard, any technology developer can include eye tracking technology with confidence in their new developments and will help to generate a widespread adoption of eye tracking technology across a wide range of devices and applications.

The SUB HID for Eye Trackers allows users to have a plug-and-play experience, which means they can start using the technology right away without requiring assistance from someone else.

 

Cisco: 'Text to Speech' Functionality for 8800 Series Phones 

Many of today's office phones display critical contextual information, allowing users to perform many complex tasks.  But for workers who are blind or have low vision, using such a phone without the benefits of the display can be difficult. Through a software update, Cisco introduced "text to speech" functionality on its 8800 Series phones.  Text to speech gives users audible options for phone functions to help provide people with vision-related disabilities the same workplace capabilities as their coworkers. This type of technology makes the digital workplace more accessible for the blind and visually impaired.

Congratulations to the Microsoft, Tobii, EyeTech and Cisco. The commitment of technology companies to accessibility is, without a doubt, making the use of the technology easier for everybody. 

 

Sources:

- "Chairman's Awards for Advancements in Accessibility."  Federal Communications Commission, https://www.fcc.gov/general/chairmans-awards-advancements-accessibility

- "USB Standard Established for Eye Tracking"  tobii, May 2, 2018, https://www.tobii.com/group/news-media/press-releases/2018/5/usb-standard-established-for-eye-tracking/

- Mistretta, Angie. "Cisco Collaborates on Phones with American Council of the Blind" Cisco, March 19-2018, https://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/ip-phones-accessible-to-the-blind