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IBM introduces accessibility initiatives for Business Partners at PartnerWorld 2006 conference

Business Partners attending the PartnerWorld 2006 Conference are invited to learn about the business opportunities available to them when they work with IBM to build accessible information solutions. The session, titled "Leveraging Accessibility to Create Business Advantage," is scheduled for Monday, March 13, 4- 5:30 p.m. in the Reef E meeting room of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Accessible information solutions are those built so they are easily used by people with traditional disabilities as well as those with disabilities caused by the aging process. IBM is offering three kinds of accessibility partnerships; all help Business Partners expand their customer base and increase their revenue:

  • Licensing of IBM-invented accessibility technology. IBM licenses accessible technology invented by the IBM Research Division to companies to use in their own products. For example, the French firm Ninsight, has licensed IBM speech-recognition technology to provide real-time captioning of live broadcast television for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. And Montrose Secam, Ltd., a British company, is selling the IBM-invented Assistive Mouse Adapter, which helps people with hand tremors use a computer mouse. The invention was recently named a winner in the Wall Street Journal's annual innovative technology contest.

  • Accessing IBM software. IBM previews its software products with assisstive technology vendors, the makers of devices that help people with disabilities successfully use a computer. For example, IBM is sharing its Workplace product with both Freedom Scientific and GW Micro, the world's leading vendors of screen readers, software that reads the information on a computer screen aloud to benefit people who are blind or have low vision. The partnerships help the vendors prepare their screen readers to work well with new IBM products, helping the vendors serve more customers.

  • Building accessible applications. IBM partners with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), companies that manufacture and sell computer applications, to help them build accessible applications that run on IBM middleware and hardware. For example, the Texas-based firm, Hamer Enterprises, is working on a pilot with IBM to make its online tax registration and voting applications accessible. The applications will be piloted with Travis County, Texas.

Jason Mangum, director of information technology for Hamer Enterprises, will participate in the "Leveraging Accessibility to Create Business Advantage" session and talk about how his company is profiting from accessible applications. He will also discuss how accessible applications that meet government requirements for accessibility are helping his firm close more government deals.

Also speaking at the session will be Frances West, director of the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center, who will discuss the sizeable - and growing - worldwide market for accessible solutions. Some 500 million people in the world have some sort of disability according to a recent WorldBank report and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 420 million of the world's people are 65 or older.

IBM will demonstrate its accessible technologies - and tools to help software developers build accessible applications - at Booth 512 on the show floor. Visitors to the booth will also learn about the accessibility tools, education, technical enablement and support IBM provides Business Partners.

IBM Business Partners and any application providers interested in these opportunities should contact Michelle Talluto, Channels and Partner Programs Manager for the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center, at: michellt@us.ibm.com or at 1-914-441-8966.

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