Microsoft has teamed up with two organizations to make smart cities more accessible for everyone, including the disabled and elderly.
The collaboration, announced in May, includes Microsoft, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and World Enabled, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the disabled. Its mission is simple: define the state of accessible technology in smart cities worldwide and focus on closing the gap for the elderly and disabled.
The preliminary work on the initiative included conducting a survey of over 400 international experts. G3ict reports on its website that most smart cities in the global north and south are not fully accessible and that there is a growing digital divide.
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Moreover, the survey found that 60 percent of smart cities are failing their disabled populations, while 18 percent of global experts said they know of a smart city that uses information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility standards. A daunting 23 percent of Americans with disabilities reported that they don’t ever go online, compared to 8 percent of the general U.S. population.