Amazon Academy on Accessibility

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On March 27 2018, we hosted our first Amazon Academy on Accessibility in our Brussels offices.

“5 years ago it wasn’t possible to do any of the things that we can do today using Amazon Echo and, utilizing voice and voice driven interfaces like Amazon Echo, is one way to remove barriers for a whole range of individuals in society”, said Robin Spinks from the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Stakeholders who attended the event included representatives of organizations for persons with disabilities, the Commission representative who drafted the current European accessibility legislation, the Bulgarian Council Presidency, and the assistant for the center-right Shadow Rapporteur in the Parliament.

“About 15% of the world population has a significant disability, this is over a billion people”, declared Peter Korn, Amazon’s Director for accessibility.

Both shared thoughts on the advancements to make our services and devices more inclusive for persons with disabilities.

For Peter Korn, it is crucial that the devices, services and content Amazon develop are adapted to people with disabilities.

Peter’s demo session included showcasing our Kindles, Fire Tablets, Echos (Alexa), Fire TV, as well as a preview of our new accessibility Amazon lockers.

With Alexa, people can build natural voice experiences that allow blind people to interact with technology in a more intuitive way. They able to hear some useful information, access goods and services.

Amazon gives these people the possibility to do their daily activities and tasks in a very simple way, without having to interact with a screen and a keyboard. This is a massive transformation in the way to live, which means increased independence and increased convenience.

After the presentations, the attendees could enjoy a networking reception. Our Echos stole the show as the representatives of the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Disability Forum and AnySurfer stayed behind to test Alexa themselves.