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

Open Call SC1-DTH-01-2019: Big Data and …

Currently available methods and strategies for diagnosis and treatment of cancer help clinicians continuously improve quality of care and prevent cancer deaths in the population. Accurate risk assessment, availability of...

Cerner Selected for NHS Framework to Sup…

Integrated Care Systems (ICS) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) aim to deliver the best possible quality of health and care, shift to value-based care and proactively improve outcomes for...

Brainlab and Magic Leap Partner in Digit…

Brainlab has announced a strategic development partnership with Florida-based Magic Leap, a developer of proprietary spatial computing solutions that help users enrich their real world experience by integrating digital content...

The Merck Accelerator Program 2019

The Merck Accelerator is looking for real partners so that you can work together in shaping the future. With programs in the headquarters in Germany, in China and the Satellites...

Whole-Brain Connectome Maps Teach Artifi…

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) neurologists have developed a new method based on artificial intelligence that may eventually help both patients and doctors weigh the pros and cons of...

Oxehealth Secures World-First Accreditat…

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has accredited Oxehealth's vital signs measurement software as a Class IIa medical device in Europe. This is the first time that software enabling a digital...

MEDICA 2018: The Starting Block for Many…

12 - 15 November 2018, Düsseldorf, Germany. MEDICA, the world’s leading medical trade fair in Düsseldorf which attracts over 5,000 exhibitors from around 70 countries, is becoming an even bigger hotspot...

MEDICA 2018 Presents the Future of Medic…

12 - 15 November 2018, Düsseldorf, Germany. Artificial intelligence, Big Data or IoT (Internet of Things) - we would be hard pressed to find a sector that doesn’t have these terms...

Artificial Intelligence for Health: ITU …

The ITU Focus Group on 'AI for Health' (FG-AI4H), created in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued a Call for Proposals to identify compelling use cases of...

Siemens Healthineers and STORZ MEDICAL P…

On the occasion of the 70th annual congress of the German Society for Urology, DGU, Siemens Healthineers and STORZ MEDICAL have announced plans to enter into a sales partnership agreement...

Spinal Cord Stimulation, Physical Therap…

Spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy have helped a man paralyzed since 2013 regain his ability to stand and walk with assistance. The results, achieved in a research collaboration between...

Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge #Sand…

Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, today announces the launch of the second Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk). The #SandozHACk is a global competition that invites entrepreneurs and innovators...