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World Accessibility Consciousness Day – Accessibility on the coronary heart of innovation  

At the moment, we rejoice the 12th annual World Accessibility Consciousness Day (GAAD): A day to drive consciousness, spotlight the developments in accessible know-how, and the unimaginable work occurring throughout the group to bridge the incapacity divide. Final week, I had the chance to see this in motion in Liverpool, UK, the place employees at websites throughout the town had leaned into Microsoft coaching to stage up their information on digital accessibility, resulting in a complete new stage of dialog with job seekers. Can’t wait to see the affect this has on unemployment and underemployment with charges are nonetheless as excessive as 80% world wide.

Expertise can positively affect the incapacity divide. Accessibility is a basic proper and we’re proud to construct know-how in partnership with folks world wide, to lift the bar of fairness. Accessibility has lengthy historic roots that we construct upon. One thing we explored on this new two-minute video Accessibility on the Coronary heart of Innovation, with extra in tales behind the video. At the moment additionally sees the launch of recent applications and applied sciences with know-how developments in AI, Workplace, Gaming and Folks with new skilling and non-profit partnerships to speed up information and use of accessibility world wide. Highlighted a number of of those beneath.

Incapacity Reply Desk expands with GPT-4

Over the previous few months, the world has been captivated by the promise of generative AI. Accessibility is vital to ship inclusive merchandise and is a key a part of the Accountable AI ideas. Accountable AI is accessible AI. To maintain accessibility on the coronary heart of generative AI, we have now three grounding ideas: AI needs to be accessible, consultant of individuals with disabilities and innovate to open doorways. Nice to see examples of the place generative AI can change paradigms for disabled folks. Beginning with BeMyEyes.

Microsoft has a long-standing partnership with BeMyEyes, a smartphone app for blind and low imaginative and prescient customers. BeMyEyes has expanded its capabilities, with the help of OpenAI, by introducing Digital Volunteer that may present 500 million of its customers with detailed AI-generated descriptions of the world while not having a sighted particular person. Since we started our partnership with Incapacity Reply Desk and BeMyEyes in 2017, prospects have advised us that calling DAD through BeMyEyes resolves points shortly (resolved 95% of the time) and with nice outcomes (buyer satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5).

Now we’re taking buyer help to the following stage by saying a brand new pilot program so as to add GPT-4-powered performance to DAD. Our hope to thrill our prospects with sooner service, unbiased decision, and learnings on the facility of gen-AI for purchasers with disabilities. Along with Hilton, P&G, Sony, and The Nationwide Federation of the Blind. Honored to be taught collectively.

Simpler, extra discoverable accessibility in Workplace

Our enterprise prospects and companions are constructing accessibility into the guts of their organizations by means of Microsoft merchandise, providers, and web sites. We requested how we will higher serve IT directors to create extra inclusive workplaces. Primarily based on their suggestions, proud to announce Accessibility Baseline, an replace to Microsoft 365 Apps Admin Heart and Cloud Coverage. Directors can now allow accessible doc creation for M365, and new improved Accessibility ribbon for Mac and PC,  enhanced Narrator help for Excel and accessibility checking instruments constructed into Workplace, continues to make accessibility extra discoverable and simpler to make use of.

Gaming for everybody

Gaming is a large subject in accessibility and proud that Microsoft Gaming continues to drive innovation by means of accessible gaming for over 427 million avid gamers with disabilities. At the moment, they introduced that 18,000 Xbox Ambassadors have collectively accomplished over a million Accessibility Explorer Path missions. Like ItsMileyGirl, a fierce advocate for accessibility after studying about options accessible and why they’re vital to customers with disabilities. Take a look at the Xbox celebration of GAAD and be taught extra about Xbox Ambassadors, up to date accessibility help pages, new options, and gamer tales.

Empowering disabled expertise

Individuals are on the coronary heart of the work in accessibility. Empowering and upskilling the employment pipeline is a key a part of our work to sort out the incapacity divide. Over the previous two years, over 1.5 million have taken the Microsoft Accessibility fundamentals coaching. Together with 26K job coaches within the UK, like these in Liverpool final week. At the moment, in partnership with LinkedIn, proud to launch new instruments and trainings to pave a extra accessible pipeline for expertise whether or not you’re an individual with a incapacity, supervisor, or ally. Go to Microsoft Accessibility Coaching, our one-stop store for skilling, which incorporates pointers to those new sources:

Accelerating by means of partnership

At the moment, we’re saying the 2023 Microsoft Accessibility Nonprofit Tech Accelerator (NTA) grantees. Every nonprofit grantee advancing accessibility, incapacity rights, and inclusion world wide. One instance is the Tech for Impartial Communication venture, a joint effort between African Well being Innovation Centre and Ghana Nationwide Affiliation of the Deaf, who goal to create an accessible video-based survey system for collating suggestions from deaf college students in Ghana. Congratulations to all grantees!

Microsoft Companions are additionally innovating, bringing their very own strengths and relationships that speed up accessibility by means of scaled options. Reddit is utilizing Microsoft Azure Cognitive Service to offer best-in-class alt textual content captions for the tens of millions of pictures on Reddit’s platform. Additionally tales from Atos, EY, and WPP on their accessibility journey to undertake, construct, and innovate in new weblog from Nicole Dezen, Chief Accomplice Officer. Thanks companions for investing in accessibility.

To shut

Accessibility is a basic proper and path to innovation. Rising a tradition of accessibility takes all items, from know-how to skilling to partnership. Proud that Microsoft is invested in that holistic tradition and in awe of all these world wide that proceed to push ahead the long run and construct a extra inclusive and accessible world. Thanks in your partnership and want you all a Joyful World Accessibility Consciousness Day!

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