Actually, People who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind need to realise their full potential, and accessibility plays a vital role for it.

Upcoming technology will be enable that many of the challenges that people with disabilities currently face in society would be resolved with creative solutions. Accessibility must to be an integral part of the development of future’s  products and services, as well as built into our society’s policies and culture.

The European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deaf blindness together with Microsoft organised the seminar: “ACT: Accessible Communication Today” on the 20th of February 2018. The seminar took place at the Microsoft Centre in Brussels.

The seminar was an opportunity to highlight and discuss the potential benefits and impact of the latest advances in accessibility tecnology,  as well as technical as well as legislative progress in this area and the challenges and opportunities ahead of us

The European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness, together with Microsoft, gathered key stakeholders from across the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, the disability movement and the European Union institutions.

The seminar was opened by Emmanuelle Grange, Head of Unit on Disability and Inclusion of the European Commission, Helga Stevens, Member of the European Parliament and Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer.

Later, representatives from organisations that are part of the European Platform of Deafness, Hard of Hearing and Deafblindness gave presentations:

  • Markku Jokinen, EUD President, Liisa Halonen, EUDY Secretary General , Wouter Bolier, SIGNAAL (Platform Doven, Slechthorenden en TOS) and Ricard López, European Deafblind Network (EDbN), giving a speech prepared by Peter Vanhoutte, (EDbU Board Member) highlighted concrete challenges that they face, if accessibility is not provided.
  • Next Hector Minto, Senior Accessibility Evangelist at Microsoft gave a presentation about the latest technological developments regarding accessibility developed by Microsoft for deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind persons.
  • Afterwards, Inmaculada Placencia Porrero, Senior Expert in the Social affairs, Disability and Inclusion Unit of the European Commission and Alejandro Moledo, New Technologies and Innovation Officer at the European Disability Forum gave an overview of the state of relevant EU draft legislation on the topic of accessibility.

After the presentations, a dynamic chat, moderated by EUD Executive Director Mark Wheatley, took place and all participants had a chance to ask questions.

The full recording of the seminar, presentations and the script are available below.