In the Recent Accessibility Tech News

Disney's 'Finding Dory'

The end of last month was marked by a few significant developments in the world of accessibility tech. No major breakthroughs this time — but even small steps indicate that people who can make a difference are working on making the world a little more comfortable and accessible to everyone — and maybe even a little brighter.

Understanding that everyone is uniquely abled is the key to realizing that we must have the tech available to everyone, including people with audio, visual, and physical limitations. As Selena Larson points out in her article in The Week:

“Although companies are required by law to make their apps and services accessible to people with disabilities, it’s still widely overlooked, especially among early-stage companies who are trying to build and grow quickly.”

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Which Apple WWDC2016 Announcements Could Be Useful to People With Disabilities?

WWDC audience and stage

During its annual WWDC conference for software developers held last week in San Francisco Apple announced a few improvements to it its systems, such as opening Siri up to third-party app developers and coming to Mac, and making Apple Pay available online.

While none of the announcements could be considered earth-shattering, and, some argue, are just part of playing catch-up to the major platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook, these enhancements could definitely be useful to us all, including to the people living with disabilities.

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Doing Good Is Good for Business: Measuring the Impact of B-Corps

B the change logo

You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warby Parker or Toms or Patagonia, or any large company, to start doing good by donating money to causes or giving away your product to those in need. As Jason Lim points out in Forbes, “A company simply needs a conviction and attitude of doing things that are bigger than themselves.”

The growing movement

And this is exactly what a legion of B Corps — which calls itself a “movement” — is proving, with 1,767 certified companies, in 50 countries, representing 130 industries. According to B Lab, a nonprofit that offers the certification, 450 new B Corps were certified in 2015, and about 11,000 new companies have used the B Impact Assessment (more on that later).

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Steadily Embracing Assistive Tech Worldwide

devices for the disabled

We’ve recently discussed the latest improvements and inventions in the world of assistive technology. This post is an update on what’s been going on nationally globally in the past month.

Although there were no major breakthroughs recently in terms of new devices or technologies coming to the market the related studies and events held worldwide indicate that we’re steadily embracing the need and the marketing opportunities for assistive technologies.

Assistive tech market is growing nationally

The “Disabled and Elderly Assistive Technologies” report released by Research and Markets on May 26, 2016, gave an overview of the current markets and trends for disabled and elderly assistive technologies, including voice synthesizers, Braille readers, and wireless monitoring devices.

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Social Entrepreneurship: Feeling Good for Profit

string of lightbulbs, hands reaching to screw last one in

Just like “impact investing,” “social entrepreneurship” has been a buzz term for a while, along with “social responsibility,” “corporate sustainability,” and the concept of B Corporation.

Investing in social entrepreneurship is not just for the public problem-solvers of Silicon Valley who want to do good while turning a profit. Sure, Uber gives rides to jurors in Michigan and Airbnb is working with Portland and San Francisco on streamlining disaster response in case of an earthquake or other emergency, but some argue that every business should be socially conscious.

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The Big Deal of Impact Investing

tree in the palm of a hand

We’ve all heard such terms as “social entrepreneurship,” “conscious capitalism,” and “social investment.” Impact investing is part of the same philosophy, meaning that the process provides money for companies and projects meant to benefit the society and the environment — with financial gain.

It’s not cut from the same cloth as other types of investment, but rather serves as an alternative — with its own set of merits, hurdles and how-to guidelines — that is making great strides toward mainstream and has the ability to positively influence human progress. It is also changing the landscape of business practices and philanthropy as we know it.

What is impact investing?

“Impact investing is a spectrum. It means different things to different people,” notes Tony Abraham in his article for Technical.ly Baltimore. The articles praises Brian Trelstad’s (who is partner at Bridges Ventures, a fund manager company specializing in sustainable and impact investing) January 2016 guide in Harvard Business Review on the kinds of impact investing, but still calls it a “wonky breakdown.”

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Staunton Media Lab Debuts on Innovators Row at CBIC Awards

CBIC Gala Logo

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 19, 2016

Staunton Media Lab Debuts on Innovators Row at CBIC Awards

New Venture Capitalizes on Unique Capabilities of the Disabled

(Staunton, VA — May 19, 2016)  The Staunton Media Lab, a media arts program for the deaf, blind and uniquely able, is celebrating its regional debut at the annual CBIC Awards Gala at the Boar’s Head Inn, Thursday evening, May 26.

The CBIC Awards honor Central Virginia technology entrepreneurs. The Staunton Media Lab earned a spot on CBIC’s Innovators Row through a competitive jury process. CBIC Innovators Row showcases startup ventures before an audience of the region’s leading technology entrepreneurs, investors, educators, and public officials. The Staunton Media Lab will be recording red carpet interviews with arriving guests at the swanky CBIC Gala.

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Audio Recording and Note-Taking Tools for Meetings

vintage microphone

“Meetings suck because we let them,” wrote tech and business writer Christopher Null in his PCWorld piece back in November 2013. Since then, a lot of tech has improved, the note-taking and audio recording apps have multiplied, and global web conferencing is old news.

The importance of meetings, however, remained the same. If “we don’t take our meetings seriously,” wrote Null, “if we ignore what participants ask or say, fail to document the meeting’s takeaways, or forget to follow up afterward — they might as well not have happened.”

Let’s talk about why it’s important to document meetings, how to do it, and how to make the best use of the tech available.

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