In my last post I discussed five reasons on why technology organizations should strongly consider making products and services accessible for persons with disabilities, based on my learnings from United Nation’s Conference for State Parties. I received an overwhelming response, supporting how this is the right thing to do. A big thanks to everyone who read my post, and shared feedback through various channels.Dell’s philosophy—the Power To Do More—also extends to its customers and employees with disabilities. Dell is very sensitive to, and active in, designing accessible products for our customers with disabilities. A variety of Dell products have been evaluated for conformance with U.S. Section 508 standards. Many of our products are enriched with accessible features and functionalities and are indicated within the detailed, product-specific Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPATs).We also maintain a strategic alliance with Electronic Vision Access Solutions (EVAS), an industry-leading provider of accessible plug-and-play computers. These systems are functional right out of the box, with application software, peripherals and assistive technology installed and configured.Dell has collaborated with Swedish eye tracking technology company – Tobii Technology to incorporate Tobii EyeMobile eye tracking technology onto our tablets. This revolutionary eye-tracking technology allows users to have hands-free access to tablet functions, apps, the Internet, e-books, and social media; all through movement of the eyes. This technology makes the Dell platform accessible to people with severe physical disabilities. </p><p>And Dell is not alone in these efforts.Here are some examples of other technology organizations who have done exceptional work in designing products and services for persons with disabilities. These organizations are household names, and have demonstrated how to make their mainstream products usable by as many people as possible:Microsoft: A Dell’s partner for long, Microsoft has been developing accessible solutions. Most popular Microsoft products, such as Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer, are compatible with a wide range of assistive technology products. These include screen readers, magnifiers, and specialty devices, such as braille PDA, head mice, and input switches. Microsoft also has a dedicated Customer Support desk that serves customers who have disabilities.Google: The Google accessibility page provides an exhaustive resource on the accessibility features of all Google products. Google is working hard to ensure that all Google products across all platforms (including IOS) are accessible. Similarly, Google has made it easy to add subtitles and closed captions to YouTube videos; an immensely useful feature for hearing-impaired people. Accessibility is also featured in their annual developer forum, and their website provides several resources and guides for developers to build accessible products.Apple: Apple products, including Macs, iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, come with advanced accessibility features usable by most persons with disabilities. Apple products are not only accessible out of the box, but also give a consistent experience across their product range. The company also works extensively with the developer community to encourage the addition of support for Voiceover, Switch Control, automation and other assistive-technology clients. Apple also lists third-party resources, through an online community that encourages end-users to review applications for accessibility.Amazon: Amazon also has a commitment to making their platform accessible for customers with disabilities. Kindle, their electronic book reading applications, is now accessible across platforms. At the same time, Audible.com, owned by Amazon, has been successful in mainstreaming the use of audio books for people with and without disabilities. The latest Kindle Fire phones and tablets also have basic accessibility features.The list above by no means is exhaustive, nor the state of perfection and complete access. Nevertheless, these organizations are ahead of the curve, and are have established process to address concerns and needs of persons with disabilities. Organizations including Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and many more, are increasingly designing their technology products with the needs of customers with disabilities in mind. However, this the tip of the iceberg, and we require many more organizations to be sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities and create more accessible products.Do you know of any organization that is also doing some good work in making their products accessible? If so, please comment about them below.
1Upgrade available 180 days after invoice. Requires purchase of minimum 3-year ProSupport, ProSupport Plus or ProSupport One for Data Center with Anytime Upgrade Select or Standard add-on option at point of sale to qualify. Anytime Upgrade availability may vary by country and segment. For details, contact your sales representative.2Based on Dell analysis, April 2020 using publicly available data to compare the highest available program/subscription offers for controller upgrades.3Anytime Upgrade (Next Generation and Higher Model node upgrades) include deployment and support on the new upgraded nodes. The Scale-out option requires deployment service for the 2nd appliance. Scale-out upgrade redemptions are available as of 12.18.2020. Next-Gen and Next-Gen + Higher Model redemptions will be available once a next-generation PowerStore product has been released. Today, we announced Dell EMC PowerStore, a game-changing storage infrastructure platform engineered to solve modern data center challenges with data-centric design, intelligent automation and adaptable architecture. PowerStore appliances also come with several options from Dell Technologies Services to provide the best service experience, and we’re excited to expand on the portfolio with the introduction of Anytime Upgrade1, the industry’s most flexible controller upgrade program 2.Providing Confidence from the Start Dell Technologies Services experts will get your new PowerStore up and running fast with support through the life of the appliance with our portfolio of services such as Dell EMC ProDeploy and ProSupport Enterprise Suites.With ProDeploy Plus, we’ll deploy your PowerStore so that you can quickly take advantage of your new appliance. And ProSupport Plus, our most comprehensive support service, arms you with proactive and predictive support to maximize uptime and productivity, while significantly reducing IT effort. Additionally, when you’re buying a new PowerStore appliance, you’ll need to move workloads, applications, and files. PowerStore includes new native tools that automate the migration process, but we also offer a range of migration services to help whether you have an existing Dell EMC or third-party storage device. We also offer training and certification programs to provide your IT teams with the skills to administer and manage your new PowerStore appliance.Starting today, customers get the best of our product and services innovation with the Anytime Upgrade program, which gives you the freedom to modernizeyour PowerStore infrastructure to meet changing needs.Unmatched Flexibility with Anytime UpgradesThe Anytime Upgrade program is designed to expand and enhance PowerStore over time, providing greater choice, predictability and investment protection. Anytime Upgrade effectively ends the cycle of traditional platform migration with simple, flexible data-in-place upgrades — without downtime or impact to applications. And unlike other programs, you can redeem Anytime Upgrade at any time (after 180 days) within your service contract as opposed to waiting years.The Anytime Upgrade program gives you multiple ways to modernize your infrastructure:1. ANYTIME UPGRADE – STANDARD:Next Gen upgrade: Once a next generation PowerStore has been released, upgrade the nodes (controllers) in your appliance to the next generation equivalent hardware2. ANYTIME UPGRADE – SELECT: Choose one of two options at time of redemptionNext Gen + Higher Model upgrade: Select customers can upgrade their nodes to the next generation AND one model higherScale-out upgrade: Apply a discount to expand your environment with a second appliance equal to the value of your current modelWhen executing Next Gen or Higher Model options, deployment of the new nodes is included and automatically supported under your existing support contract at no additional cost.3You’re in good handsWhether purchasing a single PowerStore appliance or planning a clustered environment, we know that flexibility, simplicity, support and speed of execution are crucial. With the best support and deployment services options available and now with Anytime Upgrades, customers can experience a highly flexible service with an accelerated path to productivity while extending the life of your PowerStore appliance.You can find more information on Dell Technologies Services here, or contact your Dell Technologies representative.
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ health minister says a steady decrease in new coronavirus infections three weeks into a nationwide lockdown is allowing for the start of the gradual, targeted lifting of closures and restrictions. The minister said Wednesday that the first places to reopen as of Feb. 1 will be hair and beauty salons followed a week later by retail stores, shopping malls and elementary schools. Students in their final year of high school will also go back to classes on Feb. 8. The health minister said twice-a-day excursions requiring text message approval remain in effect for now because authorities want to avoid “hasty, high-risk actions” that would undermine efforts for a speedy return to normality.