New tech is a beautiful thing that continues to help people stay connected, both in and out of work. It helps streamline projects and even creates new jobs. But there are plenty of other benefits that new tech in the workplace helps us do our jobs efficiently and as easily as possible.
For instance, in 2017, 18.7 percent of Americans with a disability were employed. Interestingly enough, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report also shares that an employed person with a disability is more likely to be self-employed than those without a disability. That means that, thanks to new tech, the playing field for professionals living in disabilities has leveled the playing field a bit.
Computer screen readers, smartphone apps for the hearing impaired and speech recognition software all make it possible to promote inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Here are some types of new tech that are making work easier for everyone.
For those that are hearing impaired, it can be difficult to get involved in group conversations, meetings, one-on-one conversations and other verbal interactions. That’s where Ava comes in handy, as it’s a program that can be used on smartphones or tablets. It uses the microphone on your device to transcribe what is being said in real-time, displaying the text on the screen. Ava also has a feature that allows users to type out what they want to say and have it projected through the device’s speakers.
For those who are unable to read the print in front of them — whether due to visual impairment or reading difficulties — OrCam is a promising piece of new tech. Using a small camera mounted on glasses, this device converts visual information into audio. The program can read printed text on virtually any surface, including computer screens, documents, books and newspapers. It then relays this information to the user via a built-in mini speaker. Another standout feature is MyEye, which recognizes the faces of coworkers and other individuals.
Dragon Naturally Speaking
Voice recognition software is crucial for workers who have conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, limb loss or limited use of their muscles or hands. Dragon Naturally Speaking grants workers complete control over their computers using just their voice. Whether the worker needs to print a document, create a spreadsheet, search the web or send an email, Dragon offers a suite of products that give users independence while at the office.
There are several different ways that companies can make their processes more accessible for workers with disabilities. For example, companies can implement a standard to have real-time captioning incorporated onto all audio/video content and training materials provided to employees. By having this become standard for all forms of media and documentation, it will be easy to bring disabled employees on continuously, instead of needing to rush to make changes after a single new hire.
Lead image via Getty