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Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI)

Logo of GARI, the online database for accessible mobile phones, tablets and apps
Belgium
Accessible Service

Global Elevate Awards Acknowledgment 2016

Category: Assistive Technology,

Nomination Details

Organization name: Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF)

Launched Date: 2014-10-31

Who has created it: Sabine Lobnig

Problem statement and how the Accessible Innovation solves the problem.

Over the recent years, mobile telecommunication devices have become a popular means of accessing ICT services and the trend goes clearly towards a majority of Internet traffic being generated from mobile devices. The proliferation of mobile phone use and the panoply of features that modern devices can offer, make it possible for mobile telecommunication devices to become the gateway to a more accessible society for everyone.

Furthermore, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) urges signatory states to “promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost”. The best way to do so is to encourage the design for all approach and the inclusion of accessibility features in mainstream devices. In this vein, the GARI database focuses on informing consumers about accessible mobile phones and tablets in the market place today.

GARI was created by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) to provide information on accessibility features in mobile phones and to help consumers identify devices that support these features. The GARI site (www.gari.info) features an evolving searchable database that currently has information on more than 110 accessibility features and over 1,100 mobile phone models around the world in many languages.

The database has furthermore been expanded to also include information on accessible tablets and accessibility related mobile applications, and re-launched in 2014 with a more user-friendly interface. GARI is further being expanded to list accessible Smart TVs and accessible Cordless & IP Phones in 2016.

Tell us who is the target audience and how the accessible innovation will benefit them. Please specify the different target audiences groups and provide numbers and statistics of your current clients as well as what is the potential number of people that the innovation can impact and empower:

Since the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) was first established by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), it has become widely used by consumers and stakeholders around the world.

Consumers use the comprehensive searchable database to find accessible devices and get informed about existing accessibility features. GARI is currently available in 16 languages.

Organisations of persons with disabilities link to GARI to provide their members with information in existing mobile accessibility solutions. Network operators / wireless carriers use GARI to get an overview of accessible features supported in the devices currently available, and to enable retail and help desk operators to be able to easily assist customers seeking accessible solutions.

Government and regulators around the world use GARI to provide information about mobile accessibility to their citizens. For an overview of organisations and governments around the world using GARI, have a look at http://gari.info/examples-of-gari-in-use.cfm

How is the accessible innovative solution different from current practices or ways of solving the problem?

Although technology has evolved to offer many solutions to overcome barriers in everyday life caused by cognitive, physical or sensory disabilities, disabling environments or loss of certain capabilities trough ageing – consumers still have a hard time finding and understanding available solutions. GARI intends to fill this by providing information on mobile accessibility features in mobile phones and tablets consumers with disabilities, their families and caregivers, seniors and everyone who is looking for an accessible device.

GARI pools information from the major mobile phone and tablet manufacturers and through the comprehensive information provided is a central source of information for mobile accessibility. Furthermore, as part of the GARI project, the MMF has committed to regular reviews of the features that GARI reports on in light of changes in the technology and customer needs. Around every 18 months, all stakeholders with an interest in mobile accessibility are invited to provide any comments or suggestions on the features that they would like to see reported on by manufacturers.

How is the accessible innovative solution new, different or unique in terms of the technology or implementation?

GARI provides information on the accessibility features of mainstream devices and supports equal access to mobile telecommunications.

How do you get the innovative solution to reach the target audience? Please elaborate on the your go to market strategy and which geographies do you currently work in and what are your future plans for marketing your innovation.

The main objective of GARI is to provide information about accessibility solutions that already exist in today’s mobile phones and tablets to consumers that will benefit most from these features. These consumers include seniors, persons with disabilities, their family members and care givers.

To achieve this goal, organisations and stakeholders around the world use GARI in different ways:

  • mobile network operators link to GARI via the dedicated accessibility pages on their websites and invite their store personal to use GARI to search for appropriate devices when confronted with consumers that have individual needs (e.g. https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/find-accessible-devices)
  • organisations of persons with disabilities provide the link to GARI via their website as service to their members and publish regular updates about GARI’s progress in their newsletters (e.g. http://www.hearingloss.org/content/telephones)
  • consumer organisations provide information and a link to GARI as service for their members and to improve consumer information (e.g. http://www.consumerinfo.my/Mobile-Phones/Mobile-Accessibility.aspx)
  • national regulators integrate GARI into their websites to provide their visitors with information on accessible mobile devices and encourage mobile network operators to actively use the GARI database as service to their customers (e.g. http://www.ancom.org.ro/en/baza-de-date-telefoane-persoane-dizabilitati_5252)
  • mobile network operators use GARI for the selection of accessible devices for their product portfolio

What is the potential impact of the innovative solution on the lives of the target audience? Please elaborate by providing statistics of the current impact and the potential impact.

Many of today's mainstream devices have great accessibility features included but most users do not know about them. GARI wants to help people get informed about existing mobile accessibility solutions so that they can fully benefit from them.

Furthermore, in the past 12 months, we have also increased the number of listed accessibility related apps listed to almost 300. This ensures that people can also check whether their favourite accessibility related app will work with the new device – or what accessibility apps are available for their new device.

Stories of how the Innovation has touched lives.

The GARI database is used by organisations around the world. National regulators are using GARI to inform their citizens about existing mobile accessibility solutions. Network operators use GARI as customer information tool and to help clients with accessibility needs find appropriate devices. Consumer organisations and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities use GARI to inform their members. Families and caregivers are using to find devices for elderly persons. And some occupational therapists use GARI to identify devices that can be used by their patients.

GARI also has become a platform for exchange between the disability community and industry. In regular feature reviews, the MMF invites all stakeholders to review the GARI list of accessibility features and to submit comments on the relevance of the feature and its description, or suggestions on new features that they would like to see reported on by manufacturers.

Links to a few videos about the innovation: