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accesibility in Rio and beyond

Accessibility and the Olympic Games


As the Paralympic Games go from strength to strength, with demand for tickets higher than ever, global focus remains on sporting determination.  The spotlight turns to 21 of Rio arenas, where competition takes place in 23 Paralympic sports.

Up to 1 billion people are affected by disability according to the world Health Organisation, and 1 in 5 of us will experience a disability in our lifetime.  Which means that accessibility is increasingly important.  A study by Fortune found that the cost of making reasonable adjustments for people in work was 40 times less than the cost of replacing and training workers.

Accessibility is not just about ramps and building access, it is about making information, products and services available to all it touches in all areas, even areas not immediately obvious.

Companies shouldn’t segment between tech and assisted tech – it’s all about personalization, enabling individuals to consume products in the way they want to.  New innovations in accessibility technology include smart glasses which can send reminders to individuals with cognitive issues, wearables which can alert loved ones of a user’s whereabouts (very useful for dementia patients), AI video captioning, and beacon technology to help the blind navigate their way around unaided.

With a billion people affected by disability and a globally ageing population, if you deliver inaccessible products and services you are reducing your potential market considerably. The argument for Inclusive User Experience (IUX) – which combines disciplines of accessibility and usability – is compelling. You can deliver beautiful, usable and accessible products cost effectively if you plan for IUX from inception.

As with corporate responsibility, enterprises need to embrace and embed accessibility in their culture as it supports a business technology strategy by:

  • Encouraging diversity – Enabling talented people to work
  •  Making products and services easier to use
  •  Improving productivity
  •  Ensuring legal obligations are met

Above all, companies need to think holistically and think universally.  They need to think about issues outside of their direct control.  You might for example have a really accessible stadium, but need to consider the supporting infrastructure -if the routes to the stadium are inaccessible, individuals won’t be able to get there.  Accessibility makes life happier and more dignified for all of us.

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Paralympic Games

Elite Sports

“There is no doubt that the expertise and experience of Atos Business technologists has had a positive impact on the development of the Paralympic Movement”

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