The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and its affiliated charitable CEA Foundation, are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has promoted equal opportunity for people with disabilities since being signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
“The consumer electronics industry joins in celebrating the anniversary of the ADA, which helped bring equal access to all of our nation’s citizens, irrespective of accessibility needs,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “CEA members are proud to provide the products, services, and apps that allow the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities to live more independently and enjoy the many benefits of technology. Through the CEA Foundation, we are working to further increase access to this technology for Americans with disabilities.”
There have been many technological changes since the ADA was signed 25 years ago, with the wide adoption of the internet and the explosion of mobile and connected devices. These trends, and continued innovation across consumer technologies, have revolutionized the way consumers work, live, and play regardless of accessibility needs. For example, smartphones now have built-in features enabling access regardless of vision, hearing, or mobility needs. Interfaces also continue to evolve to allow more options whether through touchscreen, gestures, voice, or other sources of interaction with devices.
CEA has helped the CE industry drive the increased development of accessible technology, including creating standards such as closed captioning and working with disability advocacy organizations to ensure that the industry continues to innovate and build new solutions to meet evolving demands. As the anniversary of the 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibly Act of 2010 approaches, CEA actively works with its members on accessible solutions. As a key member of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Disability Advisory Committee and Consumer Advisory Committee, CEA provides input to the Commission, increasing access within the fast-changing consumer electronics landscape.
“Helping seniors and people with disabilities by promoting innovations in accessibility tech—from doors that lock and unlock remotely, thermostats and appliances that you can control from your smartphone, or devices that provide alerts or enable seniors to stay connected—is a crowning accomplishment of the CE industry,” said Larry Richenstein, chair, CEA Foundation and CEO, Peak Ventures. “And as we shift to the Internet of Things, more and more everyday things will be connected, giving those most at need greater control and access.”