Enjoying everything that a city has to offer is a key attraction in urban living. It’s easy to take that for granted but for one in five Australians, cities can be daunting places. Just the everyday need to get to work can pose a significant and frustrating barrier, never mind making full use of all the amenities, experiences and activities on offer. That’s why making cities accessible and inclusive to all is essential. And it’s why I’m excited that Accenture is involved in a major competition launched by the City of Melbourne to develop innovative ways to make the city more accessible to people with disabilities.
Cities are busy, complex and cluttered. Imagine what it’s like to try and make use of all they have to offer if, for example, you’re visually impaired, can’t hear very well or have mobility challenges. Any one of those could make parts of the city in effect no-go areas. And today, in the lucky country that we are in Australia, that’s not good enough. Melbourne’s initiative to find smart solutions to that exclusion is a tremendous and exciting move in the right direction. As a sponsor of the competition, Accenture is providing support to one of the top competition teams as one of the prizes. With access to our Melbourne Digital Innovation Studio the winning team will work with our local digital experts and service design teams to advance and accelerate the development of their idea.
At Accenture, we have been tackling how the use of digital technologies and data can empower people with disabilities to access a whole range of experiences and services that their disability may otherwise make more challenging. For example, we have worked on a project with the National Theatre in the UK to make that experience more accessible to people with impaired hearing. Using specialised glasses, we’ve helped to create an augmented reality experience that delivers each theatregoer enhanced subtitling, literally in front of their eyes, so they can follow the play’s action in a much more engaging way than before.
Another example is the work that we have been doing to enable elderly people living in their own homes to maintain the independence they value while still having access to a range of services and information that is important to keep them safe and well. Using an AI-powered platform that learns about individuals, the technology keeps them in touch with family and careers as well as providing information and alerts about appointments, events they might like to join as well as a range of entertainment and information. The service is delivered through the Amazon Echo Show.
But the point of all this is that making daily life easier for everyone, and excluding no-one from opportunities to develop, learn, work and play benefits us all. The more inclusive and diverse we are the more successful we’ll all be. That’s why I believe it’s so important to bring people together to explore how new digital tools, technologies and data can be used to open-up our cities. I’m really motivated and ready to see what innovations emerge from Melbourne’s competition, and look forward to working with the teams and partners to help transform our cities for the better, for all of us.
What’s your view on accessibility in cities? Please leave a comment below or discover more about cities in Australia at https://www.accenture.com/transformingAUcities.
See this post on LinkedIn: Giving Everyone the Digital Keys to the City