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On Demand Business – Providing Accessibility Services to Support Your Business Initiative
Date: July 1, 2004
"Awareness" and "The Advancing Waves of Accessibility"
The Accessibility Center Asia Pacific (ACAP) of Tokyo Research Laboratory held the "Accessibility Forum 2004" in IBM Japan's Hakozaki office on July 1, 2004. The forum follows the "Accessibility Forum 2003" held last year. Participants came from various organizations, including the public sector, companies, welfare organizations, educational institutions, news organizations, and as individuals. At the conference site, the participants were eager and excited to be there. Last year the forum discussed what each person could do for the accessible IT society according to the theme "To create an accessible IT society in every life aspect at home, school, and the workplace: the realization of the true e-business". This year, one year after those discussions, the forum developed discussions on the value of accessibility, introducing case studies of local government and businesses and policies from the Japanese government. The forum consisted of keynote addressees, panel discussions, and a Q&A session, aiming to make participants aware of the value of accessibility and to motivate a tidal wave of further development of IT accessibility after the forum. The "Accessibility Forum 2004" was successful and the participants all recognized the importance of accessibility .
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributes to corporation's continuous growth and development by balancing the environmental and social dimensions. Japan’s IT infrastructure has been developing along with the "e-Japan Strategy" and we are now entering the "e-business and ubiquitous society". One of IBM Japan’s goals is to realize equal access to technology so that the elderly and people with disabilities will be equally able to reap the benefits of the IT society. Accessibility is a key component of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Panel discussion1 : e-Japan Strategy and onward
The Japanese government has been working on the digital divide issue since it started promoting the e-Japan Strategy. The government has been taking more steps to ensure accessibility for Web content and applications for e-government and e-municipality, as well as providing user support and responding to individual needs. The Japanese government has set the next goal to create a u-Japan (Ubiquitous Japan).
Computerization in a community becomes viable when each citizen in the community can participate in all aspects, including the circulation of information, gathering and providing information, exchanging of information, and the accumulation of information. "Consciousness" is a drive for people to take action. Therefore, "accessibility" which gives consciousness to the community is essential.
Flute Performance and Message
As Information technology has advanced, people with visual impairments are becoming independent in the workplace and their daily lives. IT has surely made our lives richer. However, we are not able to access all of the information we need. Consideration of accessibility by developers and people involved in providing services will make our lives better.
Panel discussion 2 : Value of Accessibility from the business aspect
Haruyaru Kanazawa, Mitsukoshi
The starting point for sales and marketing is to face the individual customer with sincerity. Mitsukoshi thinks that accessibility itself enhances the value of the company. We realized, in the process of the deployment of accessibility, the need and significance of accessibility.
Junichi Murakami, Canon
Companies invest in Web site development with the expectation of linking to customers buying their products and services. However, accessibility has a potential value to increase the value of the brand’s name. Accessibility is not a short-term return on investment but something to work towards under a policy developed from a long-term perspective.
IBM's Accessibility Framework consists of four tiers: the first tier is compliance, the second one is experience, the third one is relationships, and the fourth one is life needs. Technology is very important, but working together with governments and businesses will realize the true accessibility that the whole society would benefit from.
The exhibitions were presented in an open area next to the conference room. IBM's latest accessibility solutions and basic research were demonstrated in 12 booths. The exhibitions were designed to promote interactive communication with participants and a consultation desk was open.