14 June 2011 – Brussels – In the week of the first EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, Vodafone Foundation launched the Smart Accessibility Awards. This is a new competition to promote the development of IT applications designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities and older people to help them become more actively involved in society.
The programme is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organisations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), the NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.
Launched in Brussels, the competition will award the best smartphone application across four different categories as follows:
- Social participation: This refers to applications which help users to participate actively in today’s society and benefit from the facilities that the new technologies can offer, whatever their age, disability and/or capacity (E.g. use the web and social media through mobile devices, contact people using mobile devices to the same extent as everyone, etc).
- Independent living: This refers to applications which help users to be more autonomous and perform daily tasks independently (E.g. using domestic appliances such as washing machine or refrigerator, opening doors safely, etc).
- Mobility: This refers to applications which enable users to move around more freely and safely using the whole range of transport modes. It can also refer to the use of mobile devices to be guided in unknown environment (e.g. using GPS option, etc).
- Wellbeing: This refers to applications which improve the users’ health and as well as overall feeling of wellbeing.
The competition is open from 14 June 2011 to 15 October 2011. All qualifying entries will be evaluated in November by a jury, consisting of representatives from AGE Platform Europe, European Disability Forum and Vodafone Foundation. Twelve finalists will be selected and requested to present their application before the final jury in Brussels in early December 2011 at a live final, where the four overall winners will be chosen. The total prize fund of the €200k will be split equally between the four winners.
Vodafone Foundation Director, Andrew Dunnett said “The Vodafone Foundation is keen to help as many people as possible benefit from new technologies. The Smart Accessibility Awards will help developers create apps that can really make a difference to people’s lives – we are thrilled to be able to support such an important initiative.”
Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Platform Europe Secretary General, said “We are pleased to be involved in a project that supports our efforts towards building a more inclusive society. Digital inclusion is key to ensuring as many people as possible remain actively involved in their communities and we should make sure every citizen is empowered to do so, whatever their age or capacities. We hope this competition will help reach that goal and also contribute to the ‘European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations’ where the objective is to increase older people’s active participation in society and promote independent living in old age. ”
Rodolfo Cattani, EDF Executive Member, said; “Being part of this competition is very important for us. Communication technologies are vital to making possible the inclusion of persons with disabilities. When the mobile applications are not accessible, it can create new obstacles and can lead to new forms of discrimination. We look forward to seeing accessible apps.”
For more information on the contest and submit your entry: http://developer.vodafone.com/smartaccess2011/+