Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards 2011 Winners Announced

VodafoneThe winners of the inaugural Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards have been announced at a ceremony attended by the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao.

The competition opened in June and after a number of judging rounds the final four winners were decided by a panel consisting of representatives from Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone Group Services Limited, Guardian Media Group plc the European Disability Forum and AGE Platform Europe.

The mobile internet is central to the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world as an increasing number of consumers turn to smartphones for messaging, social networking, access to information and entertainment and many other services.

Smartphones offer significant benefits for the more than 1 billion people who live with some form of disability. Applications targeting the specific challenges faced by disabled and older people - for example, text-to-speech services for the visually impaired - can directly enhance quality of life. However, relatively few mobile application developers focus on the potential that smartphone apps have to help people with disabilities play a more active and independent role in society.

The Vodafone Foundation partnered with AGE Platform Europe and the European Disability Forum (EDF) to devise and deliver the Smart Accessibility Awards: an international competition which rewards developers who have the creativity, vision and social commitment to harness the power of smartphones and the mobile internet in support of disabled and older people's needs.

The winning smartphone apps whose developers will share the €200,000 prize fund are:

Help Talk (Wellbeing category)
Help Talk is designed for people who are unable to communicate by speech, whether permanently or temporarily, such as those recovering from strokes. The application presents a set of commands represented by icons which when tapped 'speak' the basic need or desire - such as 'I'm thirsty' or 'I feel pain' - and goes on to allow the user to provide further detail in the same way.

Wheelmap (Mobility category)
Wheelmap helps people with impaired mobility who may literally face obstacles as they go about their everyday life. Crowdsourcing lets users of the application rate and review the accessibility for wheelchair users of public places including cafes, museums, hotels and shops. In one month 1200 users registered for the app, and 180,000 places were reviewed.

Zoom Plus Video Magnifier (Independent living category)
Zoom Plus Video Magnifier app allows people with visual impairments such as cataracts and long sightedness, as well as some forms of dyslexia, to easily read text by applying a magnifier, and adjusting the colours of the font and background.

BIG Launcher (Social participation category)
BIG Launcher is an alternative customisable Android homescreen, for elderly or visually impaired users who often struggle to use the small keyboards on most devices. It uses big buttons and large fonts to represent all the basic functions of the phone - telephone, SMS messages, camera, gallery, SOS button and installed apps.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone Group CEO said, "Vodafone is committed to doing all we can to empower consumers of all ages and abilities: we want to extend the smartphone revolution to as many communities as possible."

Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda said, "We need relevant smartphone apps for all our communities. I congratulate the winners of the Smart Accessibility Awards and the Vodafone Foundation for helping bring the benefits of smartphones to all Europeans. Everyone can gain from the digital revolution."

Rodolfo Cattani, EDF Executive Secretary said, "Accessibility and interoperability of communications devices are vital to making possible the professional and cultural inclusion of people with disabilities. At the same time, when not accessible, the technology can create new obstacles and can lead to new forms of discrimination."

"Mobile technology has an important role to play in the context of the European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations which aims at supporting older people to be active in all areas of their lives and live independently for longer," observed Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary-General. "In a society driven by new technologies, it is essential to make sure new applications are accessible to all, in order to avoid increasing the digital divide and the social exclusion of the most vulnerable groups of the population."

Winning applications will be available to Vodafone customers using Android smartphones.

Most Popular Now

Artificial Intelligence Detects a New Cl…

Many mutations in DNA that contribute to disease are not in actual genes but instead lie in the 99% of the genome once considered "junk." Even though scientists have recently...

Essen University Medicine and Siemens He…

The Essen University Medicine, Germany's leading hospital company for digitalized medicine, and Siemens Healthineers, a world-leading medical technology company, plan to work together to develop the hospital of the future...

Final Cohort Selected For Pioneering Dig…

Propel@YH has announced the six start-ups to participate in its inaugural digital health accelerator programme, aimed at navigating the complex healthcare landscape and building an NHS-relevant business case. The Leeds-based...

New Kid on the Block: The Doctrina Acade…

The Doctrina Academy is a new service, developed by Doctrina, a video e-learning platform that reaches over 1,000,000 healthcare professionals (HCPs) from around the globe, helping them to switch ...

Efficacy and SilverCloud Health Supports…

A leading mental health service is using the digital mental health platform developed by SilverCloud Health to support a confidential NHS service for GPs in England. London-based Efficacy is offering...

Gloucestershire Hospitals to Deliver EPR…

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is moving to a 'clinical wrap' strategy to deliver an electronic patient record (EPR) and achieve the highest levels of digital maturity within five-years. The...

Mobile Phone App Designed to Boost Physi…

Activity trackers and mobile phone apps are all the rage, but do they really help users increase and maintain physical activity? A new study has found that one mobile phone...

Application Period for an International …

The Master of Science (M.Sc.)in Medical Informatics (MMI) at European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) in Pfarrkirchen - a branch of the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences (THD - Technische Hochschule Deggendorf)...

NHS Prescribing is Back in the Spotlight…

Opinion Article by Dr Simon Hendricks, Product Innovation Manager and Clinical Strategy Lead, FDB (First Databank) Political will for better and safer prescribing in the NHS has fast gained momentum in...

Sectra to Provide Large Centralized Regi…

International medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra (STO: SECT B) has signed a five-year contract with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for the delivery of a regional...

IMI to Boost Patient Involvement in its …

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is creating a 'pool' of patient experts to strengthen the role and voice of patients in IMI activities at both strategic and operational levels. IMI...