People-Centric: Revolutionizing the Way People Experience Technology
Daniel Hubbell, Accessibility Expert, Microsoft
Around the world, new skills and experiences are needed for new and growing economies, but the approach to educating and training people for a more inclusive world isn't keeping pace. While some people with disabilities are prospering, those on the other side of the opportunity divide lack the skills, education, experiences and connections to employment that are required to survive and thrive.
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I am Lisa Brownlee and I am the meeting committee chair. I want to welcome everyone who checked in yesterday but was not here yesterday. For those of you that were here yesterday, welcome back. I hope you had a productive and educational day yesterday. That is the meeting committee goal, to meet the educational and scientific -- to be a scientific and educational conference. I hope you found it that way yesterday.
We have some room changes. If you want to grab your books, I will let you know what has changed. For lunch today, the awards luncheon will be in the Evergreen Ballroom. That is on the second floor. If you know where the RESNA information booth is , walk past it and to the right. It is in the Cascade Tower. Right now or you are in the Olympic Tower. The luncheon is always a wonder -- a wonderful opportunity to have a good lunch and have some fun.
Tonight we have a networking and business meeting.
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No, I don't know, this is what I wrote. Where am I going. It is cascade, right? I'm sorry, it is cascade, I cannot read my own writing. Is it Cascade Ballroom though?
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Wait, hold on. Where am I going with this. -- This?
It is the Regency Ballroom It is the Regency Ballroom, got it. I am sorry everybody, I was giving you -- given a note to tell you what is not right. Then tonight the networking and business meeting is in Grand A. We Have To Give up This Meeting -- we have to give up this room today, so we are moving to Grand A. Yesterday session was recorded and it is on RESNA. work -- work. -- RESNA.org. Today's meeting is also being recorded and will be available on RESNA.org. It will also be on Twitter.
I just want to remind you that we have a new logo that is out in April and this is the new conference using the new logo. Hopefully [ Indiscernible ], the RESNA office went above and beyond to get that done. It is my pleasure to introduce [ Indiscernible ]. Thank you.
[ Applause ].
Good -- good morning everyone, it is good to see everyone. Just to let you know if you did not have your chance to get your books from [ Indiscernible ], for a short time only, I will sign the books.
[ Laughter ].
Feel free to bring them to me. So, it is great to have our second plenary speaker . You know building upon the great topics that we had yesterday. Today we have Dan Hubbell from Microsoft. I met Dan for the first time at [ Indiscernible ], and then some of the meetings -- right away I knew that I would -- that he would be a perfect speaker. Dan is the senior marketing manager for Microsoft accessibility group and he has been with Microsoft for more than 15 years. He is working with accessibility with respect to consumers and business. He will be speaking on the topic of technology and accessibility. From all of the work he has done in this area, he is an accessibility group.
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So, Dan is the current president of the board of the assistive technology Association which is a strong collaborator with RESNA. We will get Microsoft on board as a sponsor and they have been integral in putting on this conference. We appreciate their support of this conference.
So damned coffee -- topic is people centric -- so Dan's topic is [ Indiscernible ]. Welcome.
[ Applause ].
Thank you. I was walking behind the screen and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to jump out and say hi. I am an interactive speaker, so I will be moving about. If that causes problems for anybody, I apologize. Thank you Alex and the folks at RESNA for the opportunity to come speak . It is a pleasure to be in my hometown talking for a change. Thank you for coming to the wonderful Pacific Northwest. Yesterday you saw what are beautiful summers can be like. Today you saw what they are usually like.
Do not tell anybody about the weather we had yesterday so they do not flood us with too much traffic coming to visit. So, thank you very much.
I work in the accessibility group at Microsoft and my job is to come and talk today about how we are thinking about the future of assistive technology and what does that mean for the industry as a whole? I am going to spare you all of the demos of technology, you can find that online. We have lots of stuff. I want to talk today about how we are going to inspire ourselves, our call -- and our colleagues to think about technology in new ways that will have a benefit to people with a wide variety of disabilities.
So, I am going to start with the mission for Microsoft and really what this means to us. As we get into this conversation about what our philosophy is and could be, I think it is important for you to understand where Microsoft's philosophy start. Our mission start -- our mission statement is to help people realize throughout the world what their full potential -- world their full potential.
As we change in our life stages, our lives -- our needs for assistive technology change as well. So, that brings us to the question, who are the people? I am going to talk -- I talk about people centric, but who are the people? What is the audience we are thinking of when we think about who are the people? It is everybody, regardless of age or ability. That is true, but there is data that we can pull on to help us form why we need to think more broadly about accessibility. So, most of us know the information around people with disabilities who are about 3-15 percent of the population depending on how you define what a disability is and how you draw that line.
The World Health Organization says there are 1 billion people in the world off of about the 8 billion people in the world who have some type of a disability. That is roughly 15 percent. You can look at the World Health Organization report and see the break down of how they have classified those people.
That is a good starting point, but we need to think more broadly about accessibility and about the technology that we need to create and use and focus on with people around us.
So, the demographics are changing. In 2004, if I can pull that up, we commissioned a study with Forrester Research that -- while you look at the traditional definition of what people with disabilities are, it actually shows that 57 percent of the population can actually benefit from technology that is designed for people with disabilities. So if you take that 3-15 percent and you are designing tools and functions and tasks to make them accessible to that group, then 50 percent and -- than 57 percent are likely to benefit. That is more than half and it is a tremendous marketing -- market opportunity that exists.
Of course, 2015 is now only a couple of years away. I need to update this data point. It is estimated that there will be 1.2 billion people over the age of 55 in the next two years worldwide. That is a lot of people, almost 20 percent. More than 20 percent will be over the age of 55. Of course I am not here to talk about all of the things we experience later in life. Many of us are experiencing some of them already, including myself.
But, that is the trend. We are going to see aging of the population as we live longer. We have the tools to make [ Indiscernible ].
So, I will talk a little bit more about this at the end as well. There really is a spectrum of [ Indiscernible ] that we need to think of. When we think about the traditional disabilities, how do I get to that 57 percent? To define what a traditional disability is, how do we get to 57 percent?
There are 2 other components at Microsoft that we think of when we think about accessibility in the features that we are producing. Disability section 1 is temporary conditions. So maybe I without plane probably -- playing rugby this weekend and I broke my arm. It is a temporary condition that I experience for a short period of time and then I recover. Then I go about my day.
How many folks have tried to use their tablet, phone, laptop outside on a bright sunny day? Show of hands. Nearly everybody. It was difficult to use, right? It is difficult to read and there is clear on the screen. The high contrast mode on your computer is a great way to overcome that. If you did not know this, you can go into your computer and turn off high contrast which is designed for people with low vision. You know what, when you are outside and you cannot see because of the glare, you have low vision. This will create or simulate what we would classically defined as something that a person with a disability would experience.
The third thing is preference, personal preference. My wife on her he reader likes bigger fonts -- he reader -- e-reader wants bigger fonts. She does not mind flipping the page and she wanted easier to read. -- He wants it easier to read. I will talk more about that later.
This is a big one. The changing of customer expectations. This is huge. My kids have a very different expectation for what and how technology should work then I do and then my grandparents did. I use this photograph of the full-service pump. Many of us probably remember full-service pumps. Some of us?
Do you know how I remember the full-service pumps? I used to go with my grandmother to get gas and she always used the full-service pump. She expected someone to pump her gas. Why would you want someone else to do that? You know what, it did not take that much longer, but it was an expectation. She expected it. Technology is no different. The expectation of us -- of those of us who have grown up with technology and how it works for us is different than the expectation that people of an older generation may have. There are cultural differences and changes. Why is this important to think about when we think about people centric design. I will get to the crux of that in a moment. A lot of the products that we use in the marketplace today are really first-generation electronics. Computers, E readers --
have limitations from when they were first designed 15 or 20 years ago.
The technical limitations have driven the manner in which we interact with them. Through a series of social conventions and how we interact with our computers. We are going to talk a little bit about how I think we as a technology industry need to think differently about how we design technology that is more adaptable.
Before we get into peoplecentric, the last piece is competition. There is tremendous -- I am not talking about competitors like Microsoft, Apple, Google, IBM, yes that competition exists. I'm talking about competition for eggs -- for time. There is a lot of competition in our lives that we think of that affects us.
For us, we have to adapt to the way that our lives are structured in order to fit in these different pieces that are fighting for our time. That is a work style, family time, eating. If you think about all of the cultural changes that have happened, it is about us changing our behavior back to the intended behavior that we want.
That leads to what is peoplecentric? So, our feeling and dialogue around peoplecentric is that today we need to adapt ourselves and our behavior to technology in order to make work possible. We do things that are natural -- a natural in our own minds. The way I interact with you personally is different than the way I interact with technology. It is a two-way dialogue. I get feedback from you whether it is your body language, your manner of speech, your facial expression, all of those things. Technology is all one-way. It is us adapting to whatever the computer needs from us.
Peoplecentric is the concept of , why can't the computer actually -- or technology adapt more to us and learn from us? There are going to be some things here that I will talk about that are in light of recent news events in the last couple of weeks about gathering peoples information and things like that. I want you to overlook that for the time being because it is completely unrelated. Mostly -- I know this question will come up and I want to avoid the topic to some extent. Keep in mind that all of this that I am talking about is on the premise that you opt in to the behavior and the sharing of the information. Let's make that an assumption for the time being.
So, how can technology adapt to us based on what it knows about us, the environment we are in, and the things that we are doing. I'm going to talk about three pieces to peoplecentric. I am going to give you this definition that I love and a little story.
The definition is that context aware technology that takes into account our environment, device, personal preferences, needs and work styles. I want to talk about this picture. I have a photograph here in the background that I took while in Malaysia. There is a huge Christmas tree in the atrium of a mall. It was three stories tall at least. Why am I showing this picture? I want to talk about context awareness. This is my little vignette for context awareness.
Does anybody know what the primary religion in Malaysia is? It is Islam, correct. More than 60 percent of the population is Islamic and I think Christian comes in third. A Christmas tree is for Christian holiday for those of you who do not know. Less than a third of the population practiced -- practices Christianity in Malaysia. Why is there a three-story Christmas tree at the mall?
Capitalism is the correct answer. I asked the merchants a question, hold on, this is boggling my mind, why? We are in the business district -- if you have seen the movie with Indiana Jones with the Petronas Towers. This is a mall right at the base of the towers. Why is there a Christmas tree in Malaysia with people walking through the mall in full Islamic dress with the robes and head covering. Why is this here?
He said, we are in the central business district and a vast majority of the people that shop here in Malaysia, because of the exchange rate, are actually foreigners. In my world of needing to make money, your holiday is my holiday. I love it. It is context aware.
The guy said that the people who come in and shop in my shop are [ Indiscernible ]. The mall bought in and they said that the years that they started doing the Christmas decorations, sales went up more than 30 percent across the board in every shop in the mall. It is pure capitalism, God bless America.
I am using this as an example of thinking about how -- if you think of a shop is technology, it had to adapt to the way that we think about what a good shopping experience is. It took me a good half hour or hour to actually put all of these pieces together and go, this is [ Indiscernible ]. It was so natural to me . I had just come from London where there was Christmas stuff everywhere. It took a good hour for me to put the pieces together and become context aware.
We are all walking around with virtual -- virtual reality glasses and my experience at the mall looks and feels differently than the person who walks next to me and has a different [ Indiscernible ]. That is the future. If you think about that in the context of technology, how can each of us have a different experience with how it -- how it looks, how it feels, the music is playing. I hear cured -- I hear Christmas music and someone else make your traditional Malaysian music. It is context aware.
So, that moves into the idea of the first of the three tenant of our peoplecentric thoughts . Personalization. By the way, this is my daughter, very lovely.
[ Indiscernible ] can be hacked. We all have a desire personal experiences. What is the first thing that most people do? We actually have the plumber tree at Microsoft to prove this. What is the first thing that most people do, or the most commonly done item when they log into their computer?
It is the will -- it is changing the wallpaper. Everybody changes the wallpaper. Personally, people want an experience that meshes with their emotion. They want a connection to the technology and it has to be more than just an interface that exists as a standard. They want to personalize that experience.
How does that relate to people with disabilities? If I login today to my tablet, my Windows-based tablet, and I have my stuff configured. I can go across the street today to the Microsoft store, if you have not been there, go check it out.
I have to put in a plug.
I can walk into the store, by the tablet and I can put in my login ID that it asks for when I started up. It would immediately synchronize all of the settings from the laptop that I am using here. If I have my screen user wrong, it will turn it on. If I have my wallpaper a certain way, it was synchronize. It will take all that it knows about me and it will apply them immediately to my first experience that I have with that device.
By the way, it is somewhat context aware with the personalization in the fact that the tablet is a different device than a laptop. Maybe it knows that I have high contrast -- not high contrast, but larger fonts on my laptop. But because the screen size is smaller, maybe it does not use the same font size. Maybe a little bigger font size on the tablet because the screen is smaller. So, it automatically adjusts.
It is going to make assumptions about the device as well. I know about you and the device and I am going to personalize it.
A lot of this is not new. Personalization has been around, but it is an integral piece to peoplecentric This is a big one for me, situational awareness. If you haven't been to the London underground, there is a long escalator into the London underground. If you have ever gone on public transit most anywhere, of course the phone does not have a connection and the environment changes. This gets to the temporary situation that I've mentioned earlier. It is loud, crowded and maybe I don't want someone next to me to see my phone, so it changes the contrast and the angle. Maybe it knows that because it is loud, it will turn it to vibrate instead of ring. If you have been on a crowded subway and had your phone ring, you will know. That is if you have a signal.
So, situational awareness. What does the vice know about where you are -- that device know about where you are and the environment around you so that they can change its behavior accordingly?
Another example of this, have you ever heard of the [ Indiscernible ] thermostats? There is a new thermostat, if you are like me, I have a programmable thermostat and I turn it on to keep my house at 68 degrees. So, all of my references will be about heating. I have my thermostats set to turn off during the day down to 62 and then in the afternoon it will come back up to 68 or seven do's -- 70 degrees, whatever is comfortable.
This actually connects to the device and the Wi-Fi system in your house. First, it learns from your behavior and he gets to the personalization aspect of how the computer adapts to your personal style. As it learns as you adjust the firmness that over time, it will learn the behavior and adjust accordingly.
For example most of us get up at 7:00 and turn the heater on at 7:00. But it takes a half an hour to heat your house. So, when you get up and adjust your thermostat, it will start heating your house 20 minute earlier -- minutes earlier so that when you wake up, the house will be warm. That is one thing.
Number 2, how many of you have left it on on days when you have left it on at 70 degrees and it happens to be a day like yesterday when you do not need to run it? Context aware. It notes the forecast and that is why it is connected to that Internet. I don't need to heat today because it will be a nice day. It understands in the scope of everything else that is around you.
Contextual awareness. When I am talking to you, most likely you know that I am talking to you. I am looking at you and giving you eye contact. The computer is smart enough to know when I am looking at it. We will talk about the next piece of this with the way that we interact. But, with situational awareness, something to think about is what does the computer know about our behavior that it can adapt to?
Can the computer only respond to actions when I am looking at it? In theory, yes. In the same way, when I am looking at you and I am talking and I say, stand up. You will not stand up if I am not looking at you. So, how can a computer be smart enough to understand and be aware of the surroundings?
Lastly, that gets us to what I call multimodal interaction. This is a parlay off of what I was just talking about. So, I have a little speech when people come to Microsoft and I have a little show room where I talk about technology.
Today, I don't care what device, platform or technology you are talking about, when you think about all of the ways that you can interact with technology -- we have keyboard, voice input and voice output. We have gesture control, touch and all of these ways that we can physically manipulate the technology that we work with. The unfortunate thing is that today, with the way that those are designed, you will typically use one or the other and you don't use them very well together.
So, what is an example of what I am talking about with the future of this? I believe that the keyboard and the mouse will never go away. Why? The keyboard is an important way to input text into the computer. If you can use a computer keyboard -- I am not a touch typist and will not claim how to use a keyboard. But, the written language is different than the spoken language. That is why speechwriters are valuable commodities in the world of writing. The way that we speak, the vocabulary we use, the nomenclature that we use, is different than the way that we write with grammar. So, typing is important. If you have ever used speech recognition to write a letter, it is hard. Because the way that you talk is different than the way that we construct language in a written form.
So, that will not go away. So I am writing a document and I am typing and all of a sudden I realized that is a great sentence and I think that paragraph needs to go at the end. The natural thing to do, at least for me now because I have been using a touchscreen laptop, it is to reach up and now there is separation between emotion and what you are doing. It is hard to make that connection and some cases. Why cannot just reach up and touch the paragraph that I want and swipe it with my finger to highlight it. Today I have to do control C and then copy and paste. Why can I just highlight something with my finger by touching the screen and say cut? The computer says that you are looking at the screen and you just highlighted something and you say to cut. Then I put my finger on the screen and I say paste and it will paste it in.
These things do not work together very well and it creates an artificial barrier. If I do want to use speech recognition with a document, it is important. Let's take it a step further. Maybe I do not want to touch the screen. Maybe I don't have the ability to use my hands? What if I could just look at a word on the screen and say cut and then look where I wanted to go and say paste? The computer is aware of me and my surroundings and all -- and how all of these pieces come together.
So, this is a big part of peoplecentric . How can the computer think differently about the way that we interact with it and create a broader spectrum? Depending on my abilities, I can slide anywhere on that scale. Today, if you have a mobility impairment and you have to use speech recognition for everything, it can become cumbersome. You might just rely on it for certain things. It also becomes natural because it is built into the computer and it is not something that is added on.
The important thing for many people with disabilities is [ Indiscernible ]. The more that we include all of these things into the natural way that we and the technology works with us rather than us working with it, the more seamless it becomes of and experience with a person with a disability. It does not call them out as being different.
So, in conclusion as I look at the clock here, I will just say, what is the task at hand for us? We have the opportunity to see the innovation in this space. We ask for those of you that work in the profession with patients and people that need to rely on this technology, what can we do? The advocates with technology companies and paint these scenarios. Think more broadly.
In this case, I am trying to inspire everybody to imagine and build and think about what are the pieces that exist today that you can bring together into the work that you do to build something new. Think differently about what needs to be built and then [ Indiscernible ] people. That is the key. With that, thank you very much.
[ Applause ]. >>
Absolutely. We have some time for questions and there are a couple of microphone -- microphones here. If anybody wants to ask questions of me or anybody, really?
Dan, thank you so much. I would like to interject an example of [ Indiscernible ] technology. Will Microsoft be doing something in the future?
We are investing in that area. All I am clear to say is that the technologies exist. Certainly one of the things that I advocate for is that Microsoft we enable a platform that enables these technologies to exist and to co-mingle. Part of our job as a company is to create the platform that allows all of these technologies to work together. That is not to say that we are getting involved in actually creating.
You can look at what we have done with connect as far as the controls and migrating into the Windows space a little more. It exists, that is not to say that there are not people and companies looking at that. That is certainly not anything that we are --
[ Indiscernible - low volume ].
I would tell you if I had anything. I don't. There are great companies that are out there working on those.
When you're looking at becoming comfortable by making things usable by many people. What about cross platforms? For example, right now [ Indiscernible ] does not have support and does not work with voiceover
I am looking again at a competitor, but are your designers thinking about designing the software to not only work in multiple ways with the Microsoft platform, but also if you are using an android the voice -- device or IOS?
Great question. I would say that in an effort to educate our engineers that they do the right work when it needs to be done, that does -- does not always happen. I do not have a lot to say about the new office release with IOS and they are working on it. There are a lot of technical reasons behind the issue at hand.
I will say that this is not a challenge that is unique to Microsoft. One of the main issues that we had as an industry, think that Microsoft employs tens of thousands of engineers and accessibility is important for them to understand at some level.
Today there is no infrastructure for these engineers , even within the infrastructure that we have created as a company, there is no infrastructure to help these professionals know the skills -- to gain the skills that they need in order to be successful. We have talked with universities about this and they are not teaching accessibility. For the most part, in computer science curriculums today, that is a problem. Why are you not teaching more about accessibility? It is a University.
I don't want to over generalize, but for the most part there is no way to sell it. I can sell an accounting degree because there is a career in accounting. With accessibility, there is really no solid recognized profession around. So, the question of the gentleman, how do we get engineers to do it and when do we get them to do that work? Particularly when it comes to cross issues and a companies like Microsoft where there are thousands of engineers and hundreds if not thousands of different products that span across the company. There is an initiative that is sort of underway today, that some of you may have heard of, to create an organization for professionals in the accessibility business to be a centralized point for knowledge sharing. So that developers can come together and say, I have a place where I can share information about best as is and be successful in my job -- practices and be successful in my job. There are similar issues with privacy and [ Indiscernible ] and all of that kind of stuff. Microsoft has 300 privacy certified developers in the company and we have 04 accessibility. -- Zero for accessibility.
I think we are seeing more cross-platform technologies. I think as we move [ Indiscernible ] and some other broad types of technologies that make it easier to do, we will see more success. But today, we do not have the engineering skills broad enough and the companies are not working well enough together [ Indiscernible - low volume ].
Okay over here and then this lady. Yes sir?
Has Microsoft thought about the emotional state of the user? Have they thought about the input of emotional state, the tracking of emotional state and the modification of emotional state?
That is interesting. I will answer -- answer the question and say yes, there are researchers working on this. With Microsoft, our research team has what they call [ Indiscernible ]. If you remember science fairs from high school where everybody gets together in the gym with their dioramas, they do this. These guys come out with these cardboard things to the conference center from the research team and their pitching these things that they are thinking about and working on. Interestingly enough, emotional states is something that has come up. How can -- based on -- is this purely hypothetical, so I do not want to insinuate this is anywhere close to reality. I remember having a conversation talking about that I am in my office -- again, this is all in the connected world -- I am sending a bunch of e-mails that are pretty quick. I calendar knows that I have an appointment to be at my boys baseball game. I worker -- I work in Redmond and I live on Mercer Island. The commute is 40 minutes. It knows that I have just forwarded an e-mail. So, when I get into the car, there are some things that technology knows about me from circumstance.
It would be interesting if my car new what station to turn on based on my mood and circumstance. So instead of firing up then hailing when I get in the car -- Van Halen when I get in the car, it puts on Frank Sinatra so I will chill. You are going to be stressed out when you get in the car, so they put on a little Sinatra. -- It puts on a little Sinatra.
When you think about peoplecentric, the emotional state is just another part. How can we [ Indiscernible ] the emotional state based on circumstance? [ Indiscernible - low volume ].
I want to follow-up on training and accessibility for programmers. I am wondering if that is something that Microsoft would support N/A college -- in a college? If Microsoft says they prefer to see something on a transcript, the courses would be developed.
Absolutely and that is a great question. One of the first thing when I talked to a group of businesses, and ask what universities are not doing this? There is a point there. The first question that I go back to is [ Indiscernible ] rate, where have you written the requirements of the job description?
I talked to the HR directors a lot. They talk about diversity and all of this stuff, you know what, put some requirements. This is the excuse I get, we have done that and none of the candidates have those skills. So, we put it in -- we stopped putting it in.
All right, if you put it in for two months, the people will not have skills because you have not been asking long enough. But if I am out of a job and I am out searching for employment, I am going to pay thinking about how I can get myself into the market place. If it is a skill that not a lot of people have, maybe I will brush up on it and then I will walk in and show somebody that I have the skill.
So, businesses have a responsibility to ask for the things that they need and want. Universities have a responsibility to help prepare people for the marketplace. They cannot be faulted if people are not asking for it. In the industry, we need to provide the structure that can help sustain that group of professionals well and create [ Indiscernible ]. Today if I walk in and say I am and accessibility professional to any employer, they have no what -- no way of being able to evaluate whether I am or am not a professional. We need an industry to come together to define what that means.
You were talking about the interaction of technology and how it works with people and facilities. I do have a disability. [ Indiscernible - low volume ]. When you have Dragon and you have reading together, you go back and forth -- they go back and forth and talk to each other. [ Indiscernible ] being able to differentiate is important and it does not do that very well. That is important.
Our people need jobs, and without being able to [ Indiscernible - low volume ]. [ Indiscernible ] percent of people with disabilities are not working or are underemployed.
There is also an argument for not only does it impact your scheduling and whether you will make it to a game on time, there is an opportunity to help with self-monitoring as it relates to people who have things like schizophrenia. The technology it that exists today should be more modifiable.
I think what we are saying is that not only should it be modifiable, but it should be smart enough to know enough about me to modify itself. That is big. There are a lot of people that have the types of disabilities -- where the technology is so complex they do not know what they need to change or what they can change. So, the more that the system -- any system like the kiosk at the airport or the ATM, any system that we interface with should be able to have a level of information about us with the context that we are in and our personal preferences to adapt itself in a way that will allow somebody do all of the things that you said to have a more successful opportunity to use it.
[ Indiscernible - low volume ]. We had to configure the printer -- the computers when we are in school and now they do not. Now when they have to configure, they are sometimes confused. So [ Indiscernible ].
We have one here and one there, do we have time for these two? [ Indiscernible - low volume ].
I am surprised you say there is no group called accessibility professionals. I am an occupational therapist and we consider ourselves accessibility professionals. Through our whole training, we are interested in the individual and their characteristics. In addition the environment and all the things that go into that.
One of the groups that have been involved in RESNA is [ Indiscernible ] occupational therapists who bring those skills together. Maybe Microsoft needs to hire some occupational therapists.
[ Applause ].
I don't disagree, well said. Do not misconstrue my comments. Obviously you are all professionals and I go to many conferences like this. Mike, and goes to people in the computers -- my comment goes to people in computer science.
I would love to have all of you working for Microsoft because we would be a better company, I can tell you that today. The chain of how companies -- and Microsoft is learning this, with how and where we recruit people and how they are educated, that system is broken today. This is why I come and pitch to groups like this. Because we as a collective knowledge base -- it is imperative that we have more people be successful with the knowledge that we have. Today there is no systematic way to help you train a new generation of people that are coming up through the ranks . We all have our ways of interacting with things. How can we get a consortium to come together and say, how can we scale this? That is a very good point.
I want to get to this lady because she has been patient.
Microsoft is obviously a leader in making certain accessibility's available. And one of the overview courses, [ Indiscernible ] walked us through how you can tweak the operating system to handle a keyboard and how sticky keys can help with accessibility. You have all sorts of courses to certify people with networking capability and other credentials, any bandwidth to put together a accessibility credential with how to use Microsoft products most effectively to take advantage of this technology that is out there? That would [ Indiscernible ] the knowledge of not just the operating system and how that can work, but also how it ties with other devices that are out there and might build a body of knowledge.
Great question, the answer is that we have looked at this. To the gentleman's question earlier about cross platforms, Microsoft things we could do a Microsoft X I'm certification to [ Indiscernible ] and all of that stuff which we do with Microsoft agrees. We could do that and it would be very Microsoft centric. While that would be good for us to some extent, we don't think it is big enough. That is why we have been investing in trying to advocate for what I have been talking about which is a broader industry consortium that could be that place and that industry knowledge to provide certification of the various strands and web accessibility and what not.
Working in partnership with organizations like RESNA that have a huge wealth of knowledge that we can tie in -- tie into and figure out how to distraught you that not -- -- how to distribute that knowledge more broadly.
There are bigger problems that we need to address.
Yes ma'am, did you get the microphone?
I will try to make this quick. I have a question about how a end-user with disabilities [ Indiscernible ] Microsoft? There is a lot of push with Microsoft eight -- Windows 8 and we have individuals with data-driven Internet. They will not always be able to access the Internet, and honestly it is expensive. People with disabilities don't usually have a lot of money. With the addition of prescriptions and even some other disability [ Indiscernible ] has gone to prescription. It is difficult to recommend the software knowing they will only be able to use it for a year.
I do not have a good answer for that. You raise a good point. I am going to make a plug for something I did last year. Many of you are familiar with [ Indiscernible ], I am sure. Last year a colleague of mine -- instead of flying to San Diego, we decided we would do a 10 Day Rd. trip down to San Diego.
Every day we stopped along the way at various places that had some relationship to people with disabilities or accessibility. We did a little video podcast that we put online which is also known as [ Indiscernible ].
We talked and it would -- we stopped in a town in northern California which was called Eureka. It is a fantastic town if you have not been there. In Eureka, the entire city has one fiber-optic line coming into the entire major metropolis. It is a metropolitan area with 30,000-50,000 people and there is one fiber line coming in from San Francisco. They have a landslide one year and it shut off all of the communications to the city. Knowing to process credit cards. It shut the city down because everything was reliant on the connection to the network in some way.
It really opened my eyes as to how rural communities are affected by this issue of connectivity. I think most of us take it for granted because we live in metropolitan areas. 88 percent of the population lives within 50 miles of a metropolis and so on. But that does not address the other 10 percent. There is no good answer. The infrastructure is so expensive that until some companies -- somehow companies -- really, what is ultimately going to be the answer in some way -- again it is expensive, we have [ Indiscernible ] circuit in Seattle where my cell phone and my laptop [ Indiscernible ] connected online with any connection. That does not exist in rural communities.
All of the sudden, there is so much space and there is -- and it is really a cost issue. There is not enough demand and people are not willing to pay for it. It is going to be hard to address that. I don't know if Microsoft, or any company, has found the balance between connected and not connected. But, we are aware.
It is still not an easy problem
Okay, thank you very much.
[ Applause ].
Dan, we have a gift for you.
Thank you very much.
It was hard to give him that book.
[ Laughter ].
We sold out I the way of the book.
[ Applause ].
Is [ Indiscernible ] still here to sign it?
Graham is here.
Thank you for being patient. You guys cannot see this, but I put this on his computer.
That's all right, it happens all the time.
I want to bring up Jim Lassiter from the awards committee to speak to you for a moment please.
Thank you very much Lisa. In the interest of time, I will make some brief announcement and the knowledge -- acknowledge some outgoing committee chairs. I will make statements about these folks at the awards luncheon today at lunch. I would like to announce the outgoing committee chairs for the [ Indiscernible ] committee and the standards board. Alan [ Indiscernible ] has been a capable steward of the [ Indiscernible ] committee. He just completed his third term as the [ Indiscernible ] committee chair. They were not served consecutively. Allen has been a tremendous influence on the [ Indiscernible ].
[ Indiscernible ] is outgoing chair of the standards board. In terms of the outgoing individual committee chairs, we would like to recognize Denis Schuller and [ Indiscernible ] more from the professional specialty groups. NPT, we would like to acknowledge Larry Rachlin and Mary O'Connell. And [ Indiscernible ] when get low.
Last but not -- land get low -- Lynn Gitlow.
Thank you very much for your contributions. With that, you can have the final word.
I also want to remind everybody that today is the last day for the exhibit hall . It closes today at 5:00. Here is the number for this morning, it is 605. That is 605. Thank you guys and we will see you at the awards luncheon. Have a great, educational day.
[ Event Concluded ]. >>