2013 Access Awards winners announced

Monday, 22 April 2013 11:35am

The winners of the 2013 Access Awards presented by the American Foundation for the Blind have been announced, honouring the work of organisations that help to improve access to media for people with vision loss.

Included in the list of winners are AT&T, Best Buy, Panasonic, Regal Entertainment Group and the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). Recognition was given to their products and services that showed innovation in order to cater to the needs of people with disabilities.

Winners of the 2013 Access Awards are:

  • AT&T – U-verse Easy Remote App: The telecommunications company released the U-verse Easy Remote App, a voice control app for the iPhone and iPad. The app allows people with vision loss to use voice commands to control their TV when connected to a U-verse receiver. It also allows users to control the TV through gestures, and Deaf or hearing impaired users to access closed captions through a single button. The app also is compatible with VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader of Apple iOS devices. The service is only available in the US.
  • Best Buy – Insignia Narrator HD Radio: This radio includes a feature for audio feedback which communicates information that would normally only be available in a visual form. The radio's clock and calendar information is also provided as audio in a female voice.  
  • Panasonic – Voice Guidance: Panasonic has collaborated with the RNIB to develop 'Voice Guidance', voice recognition technology for Panasonic Smart Viera TVs. Voice Guidance allows users to use voice commands to navigate their smart TV and search for content on the TV or on the web. Voice Guidance also 'speaks' electronic program guide information.
  • Regal Entertainment Group: This company operates the largest cinema circuit in the US. In 2012, it began converting to digital cinema and also equipping its theatres with closed captioning and audio description devices.
  • RNIB – work in the development of accessible TV: The RNIB has been working with a number of people to develop accessible TV (including Panasonic). It has lobbied to increase the levels of audio description on TV in the UK, and worked with a number of people on the development of talking set top boxes and digital TV recorders such as TVonics, the Smart Talk Freeview digital box and the Sky Talker. This equipment provides audible feedback for information on the screen.

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