To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities last Dec. 3, technology outsourcing giant Accenture inaugurated a number of Accessibility Centers around the world – an initiative that was first conceptualized in the Philippines.
In 2019, Accenture Philippines pioneered and launched the Accessibility Center in the country as part of its commitment to be an inclusive and diverse employer in the field of information technology and business process management (IT-BPM).
Since then, Accenture has established 40 Accessibility Centers around the world, providing a space where persons with disabilities can interact with accessible technology.
Accenture Philippines has expanded the initiative with additional features:
- We Walk (Mobility): A smart cane for the visually impaired that detects above-ground obstacles with ultrasound while still retaining the cane’s ground feedback.
- Inclusive Virtual Experience for Everyone (IVEE) Application: Allows users to connect and interact with the community with English alphabet and basic greetings.
- Accessibility Center on Wheels: During the pandemic, Accenture Philippines created a compact, mobile accessibility solutions suite that brought assistive tools and technology such as headsets, talk-to-text keyboards, glasses, among other equipment to homes of Accenture Philippines’ people with disabilities.
- Accessibility Information: Accenture Philippines’ employees are able to request for assistance and additional information to address accessibility requirements through the Accessibility Center portal, virtual tour; MyTechHelp chatbot; Accessibility Virtual ExpressLane (AVEL); and support build out of Accessibility Centers in Accenture network.
These are on top of the existing array of assistive tools for:
- Sense of hearing: Tools include Dhvani (Hindi word for “sound”), Accenture-developed software that creates real-time subtitles for videos and can translate voice responses into typed text and vice versa during video and conference calls, allowing for more meaningful interactions among employees; specialty and noise-cancellation headset and speaker models; and noise-level meters;
- Sense of sight: Tools include color contrast and Braille-stickered keyboards, electronic magnifier and non-visual desktop access, voice control technologies, blind stick, Braille blocks and panels; and
- Mobility: Tools include smart lights, sliding doors, and manual and automated wheelchairs
Rudy Guiao, special advisor for global accessibility center at Accenture, said putting up the facility is the company’s way of fostering a culture of equality among a diverse set of people with different backgrounds and abilities.
“That is why we have been relentless in driving innovation at our Accessibility Centers in the Philippines so that we are able to create a barrier-free work environment where our people with disabilities have access to latest assistive tools and technology that are suited for their needs, empowering them in the work that they do and inspiring them to create positive change and impact in their communities,” he said.
For its efforts in empowering persons with disabilities, Accenture Philippines has been awarded the Manuel Agcaoili Employer of the Year Award for the Large Company Category during the Apolinario Mabini Awarding ceremony organized by the Philippine Foundation for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Inc. (PFRD) in Malacańang.