Report reveals large, growing market for accessible technologies

Assistive technologyA January article in IT World describes 8 trillion reasons to make your technology accessible. The article details information found in a new report from Gartner, Inc., the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, which states: 

"People with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world's population and some of the assistive technology marketed to people with disabilities can also be sold to the other 85 percent of the population that is "situationally disabled" by their environmental conditions, at work and at play," said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner. "Every day situational disabilities include listening to a conference call in a noisy airport, or using a mobile phone while driving or while wearing gloves. In many cases, assistive technology features will not only help mitigate common environmental factors, but can be used as the foundation to improve security and enhance privacy for everyone.

Author Phil Johnson describes it this way:

$8 trillion is what Gartner estimates to be the amount of disposable income held by the worldwide population of people with disabilities and their immediate family and friends. 15% of the world population, 1 billion people, have a disability. That's a sizable market, for sure, and it's only going to get bigger as the population ages. By 2050, Gartner estimates that 30% of the population of 64 countries will be older than 60, many of whom will need assistive technologies.

If the size of that market - aside from good old altruism - still isn't enough to convince you to deploy accessible technologies, Gartner raises another good reason: technologies developed for the disabled can also often benefit the non-disabled. This can greatly expand the potential market for a technology. For example, text-to-speech technology not only helps the blind, but also those who can't look at a screen because they're driving or doing something else.

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