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EN 301549 - European Standard on accessibility
Feb 5 2019
Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe - EN 301 549. The European Standardization Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) have published a new European Standard on accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products and services.
Definition of Information and Communication Technology (ICT): technology, equipment, or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment for which the principal function is the creation, conversion, duplication, automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data or information.
The aim of the Standard is to make ICT Products and services accessible for all.
With 80 million people in the EU currently living with disabilities, it is mission critical that the public sector promote the use of accessible technology.
When organizations such as governments and schools buy and use accessible technology, digital inclusion can thrive and doors are opened for people to expand their education, get jobs and access public services.
This implementation might be useful for other purposes such as procurement in the private sector.
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The standard is based on WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and is complemented by a series of three Technical Reports (TR 101 550, TR 101 551 and TR 101 552). Together, these documents set out accessibility requirements that can be applied to a wide range of products and services related to ICT, including computers, smartphones and other digital devices, ticketing machines, websites and emails. The aim is to ensure that ICT products and services are accessible either directly or through compatibility with assistive technologies such as text-to-speech, so that everyone can access information and use services that are being delivered electronically.
The European Standard EN 301 549 is available (in English) on the ETSI website. During the next six months it will be published (in various languages) by the members of CEN (National Standards Bodies) and CENELEC (National Electrotechnical Committees) in 33 European countries (including all Member States of the EU and EFTA).
Nowadays, not only the access to digital content has become a part of our daily lives, it has been also stated as a fundamental right. Not being able to access the Internet for disability reasons is simply a factor of discrimination, even a social and professional exclusion! In that matter, the worldwide-known Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (or WCAG), ensure that all companies follow its strict Standards that meet the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
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People with disabilities (PWD), estimated at 1.3 billion, form a market the size of China. Together with their friends and family, acting on their emotional connection, PWD hold over $8 Trillion in annual disposable income. With the elderly population, a group with the biggest share of the national wealth, adding to this number, this is a market that can’t be ignored.