(BPT) - The global drive to achieve greater sustainability and create a more inclusive society continues to bring dynamic change to the business sphere, including the consumer tech industry.
Today we examine various ways that tech firms are harnessing the power of innovation to make a real difference for people, the planet and the future.
Broadening the Customer Approach
In a recent UK survey of adults living with physical or sensory disabilities, only 1 percent of all respondents said that smart home devices are always designed with accessibility in mind, showing that, despite the continuous improvement, “inclusive technology” still has a long way to go.
While tech products have the potential to improve everyday life, the companies that make them must recognize that not all users can interact with technology in the same way. Acutely aware of this fact, many companies now incorporate accessibility features in a variety of products, such as voice recognition and voice guides on various LG home appliances and consumer electronics products. Accessibility features range from those that increase usability for visually impaired and hard-of-hearing people to those that benefit users coping with physical limitations. Efforts in this area are ongoing and constantly evolving. For example, LG Electronics plans to introduce accessibility features and universal design taking all users in mind to all of its product lines by 2025.
Listening to What They’re Saying
In order to design tech that’s suitable for a wider spectrum of consumers, it’s essential that real people – representing diverse ages, abilities and lifestyles – be actively involved in the conversation.
Leading manufacturers today are working closely with all kinds of consumers, listening to their opinions and concerns to make products and services more inclusive and accessible. Some like LG have formed accessibility advisory groups composed of people with disabilities, as well as experts in the field of accessibility, to identify the pain points that can arise for differently-abled users when operating home appliances. Braille stickers and voice manuals for LG washing machines exemplify how tech companies carry out various activities to improve the accessibility-related functions and design of products while continuously communicating with these consumers.
Spreading and Strengthening Sustainability
Bigger tech companies are leveraging their reach and resources to spread the important message of inclusion and sustainability, while supporting up-and-coming innovators pursuing tech for the greater good.
A new platform called the “Life’s Good Award” does both of these things. This $1 million innovation challenge calls on innovators worldwide to step forward with their ideas for innovative solutions that can help the environment (Innovation for the Planet) or will enrich everyday life through optimizing safety, usability and accessibility (Innovation for People). LG supports the first, second and third-place winners with USD $700,000, $200,000, and $100,000 in prize money respectively. The company has also joined hands with renowned scholars and institutions to ensure all submissions are judged with the expertise and attention they deserve. Those who share the passion for innovation and desire to create a better life for all are invited to enter the award (nominations are due by Oct. 10).
Endorsing Solutions for the Future
Innovators in North America and around the world who are creating accessible, socially impactful solutions that push the envelope of the technologically advanced lifestyle.
To accelerate and amplify these activities, tech companies are establishing incubation programs. Such innovation centers are focused on catalyzing solutions that improve accessibility, mobility, usability and connectivity – for home, work, school and life, as well as ideas and approaches for a more sustainable lifestyle with carbon reduction and renewable energy. These programs will help startups and entrepreneurs fuel new ideas to build a better future and ultimately, better quality of life for all.