Emerging technologies: navigating the rise of innovation

Emerging technologies: navigating the rise of innovation



If you’re running a business, chances are you’ve encountered a flood of buzz around numerous exciting emerging technologies. They’re frequently hailed as transformative, with the potential to radically improve our business practices for years to come.

Emerging technologies usually carry the promise of extraordinary revenue opportunities, satisfying growing customer needs, and strengthening your bottom line. Yet, navigating the extensive selection of new tech on the market can be overwhelming.

In this blog, we’ll explore different factors around emerging technologies and take a look at the solutions that are breaking new ground for businesses, promoting inclusion and building a more equitable society as a whole. Let’s get started.

What is meant by emerging technology?

Emerging technology refers to innovations and advancements that are in the early stages of development or adoption and have the potential to significantly impact various aspects of society, industry, or everyday life. 

These technologies often represent breakthroughs in areas such as computing, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and renewable energy, among others. They may not yet be widely available or fully understood but show promise for transforming existing systems, creating new opportunities, and addressing societal challenges. 

Some examples of emerging technologies include AI, virtual reality, blockchain, 5G wireless technology, quantum computing, and gene editing. 

Let’s now take a closer look at the main characteristics of emerging technologies.

What are the 5 characteristics of emerging technologies?

The characteristics of emerging technologies can vary, but generally, they possess the following attributes:

1. Novelty: Emerging technologies bring fresh ideas and innovations to the table, introducing new concepts, approaches, or solutions that differ significantly from existing ones.

2. Potential for disruption: Technological advancements have the power to shake things up – big time. They may challenge and disrupt established industries, business models, and societal norms, transforming how we do things, from the way we work to how we live our lives.

3. Rapid development: Emerging technologies move fast, typically undergoing rapid development and evolution. They may progress quickly from conceptualization to prototyping and going to market.

4. Uncertainty: There is often a degree of uncertainty surrounding emerging technologies, including their potential applications, implications, and long-term impacts. Predicting their future can be challenging due to their early stage of development.

5. Interdisciplinary nature: Emerging technologies use ideas from different areas like science, engineering, and computing. They mix these ideas together to solve tricky problems.

These qualities have sparked a huge gear change in digital accessibility, with AI leading the way to make internet access user-friendly for all, including people with disabilities. 

Let’s explore how these technological advancements have significantly improved accessibility, ensuring that digital spaces are welcoming and usable for everyone.

How have technological advancements improved accessibility?

With an estimated 1.3 billion people (1 in 6) who have a significant disability and over 97% of all websites lacking accessibility measures, people with disabilities face many barriers when online. This has made digital accessibility a huge concern for every business across every sector. technological advancements however have made a positive impact in making the web more accessible. 

Here are a few examples of technologies that have broken down barriers and bridged the gap between the digital world and users with disabilities:

1. Automated web accessibility

AI technology can automatically detect and address accessibility issues on websites and digital platforms. Using machine learning algorithms, AI analyzes website elements, identifies potential accessibility barriers, and offers recommendations for improvement. This helps web developers ensure their websites comply with internationally recognized accessibility standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), making them more inclusive and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.

2. Screen reader innovation

AI-powered screen readers provide blind and low-vision users with a smoother and more seamless browsing experience. By leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and advanced machine learning algorithms, these screen readers understand context and intent better, resulting in improved accuracy and usability.

3. AI-powered captioning

AI-driven captioning technology has significantly improved accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, combined with AI algorithms, enables real-time transcription of spoken content, ensuring effective communication and information access for caption-dependent users.

4. Image recognition for visual accessibility

AI-based image recognition technology provides detailed descriptions of images and visual content, enhancing visual accessibility for individuals with visual impairments. Deep learning algorithms analyze images and generate accurate descriptions, which can be converted into audio format, expanding access to visual content across various platforms.

5. Predictive text and voice recognition

AI-driven predictive text and voice recognition technologies assist users with motor or cognitive disabilities in communication. By observing and analyzing speech patterns and typing behaviors, AI algorithms anticipate and suggest suitable words, phrases, and complete sentences, making digital communication more seamless and efficient.

While emerging technologies vary in maturity, we believe AI is crucial for advancing accessibility and inclusion. It’s essential that the AI technologies you choose not only fulfill their potential but also mitigate associated risks, meet accessibility compliance standards, and resonate with your company’s core values. This approach ensures that your investment in AI is both strategic and effective in promoting inclusivity.

Let’s take a closer look at how AI-powered accessibility technologies are making a difference in the lives of users.

What are accessibility technologies?

Accessibility technologies include tools and solutions designed to bring equal access and usability for individuals with disabilities. From AI-powered chatbots like GPT to screen readers and alternative input devices, these technologies aim to enhance digital accessibility and drive inclusivity. 

Here are 3 recent innovative technologies in accessibility technology:

1. GPT-4: OpenAI’s latest chatbot, GPT-4, takes a leap forward in accessibility, offering advanced capabilities to third-party companies. Its collaboration with Be My Eyes introduces an AI-powered Virtual Volunteer, enhancing visual assistance for users with visual impairments.

2. Apple’s accessibility features: Apple continues to lead in accessibility with a range of new tools introduced on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Updates include improvements to Voice Control, customization options for Siri, and a unique Assistive Access mode designed to simplify device usage for individuals with cognitive disabilities.

Google’s navigation tools: Google made significant improvements to its navigation tools in October, furthering accessibility for Google Maps users and business pages. Updates include wheelchair-accessible walking routes, enhanced Live View experiences for users with visual impairments, and a new identity attribute label to locate disabled-owned businesses more easily. 

Navigating your accessibility journey: 3 key questions 

Many businesses ask three common questions as they start on their accessibility journey. We’ll break these down for you, offering guidance and actionable steps to make sure your journey starts strong:

1. Where do I begin with building accessibility with AI?

Begin your journey by placing accessibility at the forefront of your digital endeavors. By prioritizing accessibility, you lay the foundation for creating an inclusive online environment that caters to the needs of all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Consider giving UserWay’s Accessibility Widget a try to cover your for compliance and inclusion while making customer conversions a reality.

2. Which investments will yield the greatest returns?

When considering which technological advancements to invest in, remember that prioritizing accessibility is more than just technology – it’s about investing in people. By embracing inclusivity, you’re opening doors to a broader market but also encouraging a culture of empathy and understanding. Investing in inclusion is a wise strategic move that can drive business success and create lasting value for both your customers and your company.

3. Why should accessibility be a priority?

Accessibility makes sure that everyone, regardless of ability, can access and benefit from your products and services online. While investing in emerging tech is exciting, if your products and services aren’t accessible to everyone, it defeats the purpose. After all, what’s the use of cutting-edge technology if it isn’t inclusive?

Let’s wrap up with some reminders and tips to guide you on your digital journey into accessibility:

Technology trends: investing wisely for a smarter future

Website and app accessibility technologies are advancing all the time so when navigating technology, seek expert advice and prioritize solutions that match your long-term objectives. 

Instead of following trends, opt for technologies that add to your business’ efficiency, values and that integrate with your current systems. The tech you choose should help you embed accessibility easily, enabling you to work smarter, not harder.

Remember, amidst the hype surrounding emerging technologies, prioritize those that will truly cement your business goals. Seek out technologies that align with both compliance needs and broader corporate, social, responsibility (CSR) goals.

The future of technology is here and, by investing wisely and staying focused on your commitment to accessibility, you can navigate technology trends with confidence, for greater business success.

UserWay: weave innovation into your business 

By weaving accessibility into your AI plans from the get-go, UserWay helps you stay ahead in tech while also making sure your innovations are open and welcoming to everyone.

At UserWay, we offer a unique blend of AI-powered solutions and human expertise to drive accessibility forward. Our innovative approach combines the efficiency of AI technology with the human touch to ensure accessibility and compliance for all users. 

We provide a holistic solution that delivers superior support and inclusion for the disability community, winning at making meaningful changes in users’ lives – and to your business. Get started on your accessibility journey today

FAQs

Which technology will boom in 2024?

In 2024, technologies such as AI, 5G, and blockchain are set to continue their explosive growth, with AI leading the way. This pivotal technology is moving from the drawing board into real-world use, ready to make a big impact in how we work and live.

How can innovative technologies be inclusive?

Innovative technologies become inclusive when they are designed with everyone in mind, from the outset. This involves integrating accessibility features that cater to various needs, such as text-to-speech for those with visual impairments, captioning for the hearing impaired, or simple, intuitive interfaces for individuals with cognitive disabilities. 

Is accessibility a barrier to innovation?

In reality, it’s often the opposite; prioritizing accessibility in design can spark innovation. When we design with accessibility at the forefront, it challenges us to think outside the box and develop solutions that benefit everyone.



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