January Quarterly Newsletter

I. The Future Of Accessibility and Continual Engine’s Commitment

A Note from Mousumi Kapoor, Founder/CEO of Continual Engine

When visuals are described invisibly and read aloud to blind users using a screen reader, this is referred to as alternate text or alt text. By including alt text, authors can include images while still providing the content in an alternate text-based manner. It might be challenging to adequately describe complex images in an alt text description.

Mousumi Kapoor, CEO and Founder of Continual Engine says, that one of the biggest issues that Continual Engine has solved is image accessibility, which involves sophisticated English language descriptions for complicated visuals like tables, graphs, charts, equations, and other structures that our solutions comprehend and automate.

The direction and current level of our innovation demonstrates how we are attempting to broaden our audience in order to overcome accessibility issues. We are working on Math, 3D models of Chemistry, complex Physics images, and diverse images across other disciplines. Continual Engine is making every effort to broaden the range of image types that we can comprehend. Our algorithms are always improving, making our solutions wiser and smarter while also increasing accuracy. As a result, we continue to add new categories to our product suite while also deepening our accuracy with regard to some categories of images.
Continual Engine’s edge results from leveraging sophisticated technology. Our use of automation enables us to differentiate our products/services from those of our competitors. Additionally, our solutions incorporate insights from human experts who constantly review the output that the machine has produced to guarantee that we are delivering top-notch, high-quality content to our clients.

II. Upcoming Events

1. Join The Upcoming Webinar Hosted By Continual Engine With Web Accessibility Specialist Sarah Stricker

Continual Engine is hosting an accessibility webinar with IAAP-certified Web Accessibility Specialist Sarah Stricker from ansrsource. This event will be a virtual webinar on February 16th, 2023.
In her role, Sarah closely partners with higher education institutions and organizations to develop courses and course components with a focus on accessibility. Prior to joining ansrsource, Sarah worked at UC Berkeley as an educational technology specialist and an instructional designer. She has also worked as an instructor at Colorado State University, where she taught courses in public speaking and rhetoric. She holds a master’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. Sarah leads a team of web developers and manages technical solutions for higher education clients. She is a certified International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS).
Join this event to learn briefly about WCAG that goes beyond a simple definition, who develops the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and what do they contain? How are the guidelines relevant to content authors and designers? The event will also give you learnings about the current status of WCAG, and what the future of WCAG holds.

2. Continual Engine Is Co-Presenting and Exhibiting At The ATIA Event With Virginia Tech

Continual Engine is co-presenting with Virginia Tech at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2023 Conference in January. Join our session on 2nd February, 2023 at 4.30 p.m. Eastern Time to learn about the collaboration between PREP and Virginia Tech to scale PDF remediation to promote accessible communications.
Continual Engine’s Vice-President of Growth & Strategy, Vijayshree (VJ) Vethantham will be joining Mark Nichols, Senior Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies, Virginia Tech at ATIA 2023 to explore trends and most effective practices in accessible communications.
ATIA is the global leader in assistive technology (AT) education and research and the premier organization for AT manufacturers, sellers and providers. It is the premier organization for manufacturers, sellers and providers of assistive technology (AT)—products, equipment and systems that enhance learning, working and daily living for persons with disabilities.
If you would like to schedule a meeting with our Vice President, Growth & Strategy, Vijayshree (VJ) Vethantham, please email us at contact@continualengine.com. We look forward to seeing you at the Conference.

III. Past Events

1. Virginia Tech Selects Continual Engine’s PREP – PDF and Document Remediation Tool – to Scale Creation of Accessible Materials

Continual Engine and Virginia Tech are partnering to scale the remediation of accessible instructional materials throughout the university by leveraging PREP, an AI-enabled PDF and Document Remediation Platform.
Mark Nichols, Senior Director of Universal Design & Accessible Technologies for Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS), states, “The creation of accessible educational materials is critical to our strategic efforts around digital accessibility. PREP will further guide Virginia Tech faculty and staff in producing content that fosters successful communication and engagement.”
Continual Engine is an award-winning provider of artificial intelligence-driven solutions that offer unparalleled quality, accuracy, and scalability for accessibility and learning at a fraction of the cost and time.

To learn more about the partnership, please visit here.

IV. Featured Blogs

1. 3 Year Analysis Of Progress In Digital Accessibility

In 2022, we witnessed a surge in Web accessibility ADA lawsuits, increased accessibility and equity initiatives within organizations, and the adoption of a new accessibility mandate by the European Union member states, with the European Accessibility Act (EAA).

2. Accessibility is For Everyone

Dr. K. Sriram, Advisor of Continual Engine, recently explained how assistive technology is not only a boon for people with disabilities but for all of humanity in an interview with SPRUZUP GLOBAL – a content marketing and accessibility company that brings a unique business value to inclusion. He explains how assistive technology has become a staple in mainstream product design and has enriched the lives of people with and without disabilities.

3. AI-enabled Accessibility and Its Impact On People With Disabilities

COVID-19 forced everyone to deal with social distancing and lockdowns. While technology eased this strain for many, it wasn’t the same for people with disabilities. According to The World Bank, 15% of the population lives with a disability. Still, much work remains to be done to close today’s digital divide. And developers are looking to artificial intelligence to bridge the gap. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a simulation developed for intelligent devices and systems that enable machines to perform problem-solving and regular tasks.

V. NEWS ARTICLES ON ACCESSIBILITY

1. Disney Expands Costume Options For Children With Disabilities

Just in time for Halloween, Disney is adding to its lineup of costumes customized to meet the needs of kids with various disabilities.The company said it is now offering eight adaptive costumes and five wheelchair covers, allowing children to dress as iconic characters like Jasmine from “Aladdin,” Woody or Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story,” Elsa from “Frozen 2,” Black Panther and more.

2. Nielsen To Track Disability Representation On TV

It’s long been known that people with disabilities are underrepresented on television, but now a prominent industry service is looking to measure the trend in hopes of prompting more inclusion. Gracenote, a company owned by television ratings giant Nielsen that collects and provides data on the entertainment industry, says it will start tracking representation of people with disabilities on the small screen.

3. Political Debates Expand Access To Deaf community

Arizona State University journalism graduate student Jordan Gerard describes the challenges of interpreting a candidate debate, which can be a sort of verbal ping-pong match between political opponents, filled with emotion and nuance. But without such services, millions of people who have hearing disabilities would be disenfranchised.

4. Launch Of The WHO Global Report On Health Equity For Persons With Disabilities

Persons with disabilities face many health inequities: they die earlier, have poorer health and functioning, and are more affected by health emergencies than the general population. These inequities in health outcomes cannot only be explained by an underlying health condition or impairment but are driven by unfair and unjust factors that are avoidable. They are linked to inequitable service delivery models, inaccessible public health interventions, and little consideration given to persons with disabilities during health emergency planning.

5. Statement: Transformative Solutions For Inclusive Development – The Role Of Innovation In Fueling An Accessible and Equitable World

This year’s theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities underlines the strong links between gender equality and disability inclusion. These issues are crosscutting and key to an equitable world. It is estimated that one in five women lives with a disability, among one billion people with disabilities. They are some of the most excluded in our society and are among the hardest hit in the current multiple global crises, including in terms of fatalities. These crises are deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion, and highlighting the urgent need for work to address it comprehensively.

6. How Companies Can Support People With Disabilities At Work

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.3 billion people – about 15% to 20% of the global population – currently experience disability. Together with friends and family, this group has a spending power of $13 trillion. READ MORE

7. How Disability Charities Are Working To Solve The U.S. Labor Shortage

The United States currently finds itself in the grips of a labor shortage in key areas like retail and manufacturing as the after-effects of the Covid-inspired “Great Resignation” continue to be felt. With yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebrations marking the start of the holiday season which continues today with one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the shape of Black Friday – those sectors most impacted by the national labor shortage already have plans in place for seasonal hiring.

8. Americans With Disabilities Need An Updated Long-Term Care Plan, Say Advocates

The 25-year-old blogger and college student has autism and several chronic illnesses, and with the support of her grandparents and friends, who help her access a complex network of social services, she lives relatively independently in Johnson City, Tenn. “If something happens to them, I’m not certain what would happen to me, especially because I have difficulty with navigating things that require more red tape,” she says.

9. Why Is The Employment Gap For People With Disabilities So Consistently Wide?

Employment rates for people with disabilities go up and down, but never very much. And it seems like the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people has always been massive, and resists nearly every effort to narrow it. But it’s not much of a mystery why so comparatively few disabled people have good and stable paid jobs. In fact, the barriers are fairly obvious, at least to disabled people themselves and specialists who study the problem. Still, it may help now and then to review the factors that hinder disabled people in the job market, think more carefully about how these factors interact, and rethink what might be done about them.

VI: LATEST ADVANCEMENTS IN ACCESSIBILITY

1. NBCUniversal Teams With 1 In 4 Coalition In Diversity Plan For Disabled Representation

The partnership furthers NBCUniversal’s commitment to disability representation and marks 1in4’s first partnership with a broadcast media and entertainment company. “As we close out National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we are excited to establish this new partnership with 1 in 4 Coalition, increasing the opportunities for, and representation of, the largest marginalized community in the United States,” said Craig Robinson, chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal.

2. Paralympian John McFall Joins ESA as First Astronaut With A Disability

John McFall, a 41-year-old British paralympic sprinter who now works as a doctor, is one of 17 candidates chosen from 22,500 applicants to join the space agency’s 2022 astronaut class. The successful candidates will now complete one year of basic training in space technology, science and medicine at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany, before entering the next Space Station training phase where they will be taught how to operate station elements and transport vehicles.

3. Tech Jobs Offering New Opportunities For People With A Disability

Transurban’s Senior Manager Public Affairs Queensland Ruth Moody said the partnership had created opportunities for people with a disability to gain skills working with leading technology. “We know technology is driving new jobs and careers, and people with a disability should be included in the workplace of the future,” Mrs Moody said. “Our approach is helping these workers realize their potential, including by tapping into their unique skill sets.”

4. Halifax Transcriber Designs Canada's First Ever Indigenous Braille Code

A Halifax woman is receiving widespread praise for her creation of a braille code specifically designed to help blind Indigenous persons.Certified braille transcriber Christine Muise earned the Louis Award at this year’s annual meeting of the American Printing House for the Blind in honour of the Mi’kmaw Braille Code she developed earlier this year.

Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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