With The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman, Federal Communications Commission.
Moderated by Karen Peltz Strauss, National Disability Advocate
OCTOBER 24, 2022
5:15 PM ET
M-ENABLING 10TH ANNIVERSARY, FIRESIDE CHAT, OPENING NIGHT
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Ladies and gentlemen at this time please welcome to the stage, CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, Debra Ruh.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you, everyone. I'm so excited to be able to introduce Karen Peltz Strauss. Talking about building a legacy, she has created an amazing legacy that impacts all of us.
No. No. Wait for the interpreters.
Okay. I wanted to take the time to introduce Karen Peltz Strauss. Many of you know her; but seriously, she has created a legacy that is impacting all of us so positively and we've just begun. Karen is the former Deputy Chief of Consumer and Government Affairs for FCC and now a disability advocate and making a huge difference in our lives. We appreciate her. Karen, do you want to join us?
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: You may be wondering why I brought my pocketbook up here. It's because it's very bizarre.
So, what I would like to do is introduce you to our Chair, Jessica Rosenworcel. This is the second time I've had the honor to introducing her and it's a delight I can now do it in her position as Chair of the FCC. Many of you know I have had the good fortune to work with the FCC, and prior rode side by side as she steered the CBA to enactment we're working on at the senate. It's for this reason that I can say that while she now holds the top leadership position at the Commission, and in many ways what she's doing now is not all that different than what she's been doing for the past several decades.
Now, as always, she's been outspoken in her efforts to ensure that people with disabilities, people who are diverse, underserved, and low income have an opportunity and equal access to our nation's communications networks. Now as always, she has shown her steady and powerful commitment to providing the same opportunities to people with disabilities that are available to everyone else. Her recent work to advance broadband availability, affordability, and accessibility through the Affordable Connectivity Program and as well as for the first time in our nation's history, to afford people with disabilities who are incarcerated with full communications access, exemplifies the efforts to close the digital divide and give all Americans the access they need to connected, independent, and productive.
Without further ado, I would like to now turn to our fireside chat so you can see for yourselves what an extraordinary champion of disability rights Chairwoman I knew I was going to do that, Rosenworcel is. I will tell you a funny story after we sit down about chair, chairman, and chairwoman.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Thank you for being here.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Thank you for having me.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Now you're curious about the story.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Myself included.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: And you're really going to like this one. We're working on the sequel to the CVAA, the sequel to the CVAA amendments we worked with Legislative Council as some of you worked with the Hill and Legislative Council reviews the draft that you put together. One of the drafts that we put together, the first one, they came back and we referred to the Chair of the FCC, and they said I actually referred to the Chairwoman. They said you can't say that. We said, why? They said, well, because in the statute, it's Chairman. And we said in the statute, it's Chairman and you're telling us that we have to keep the word Chairman? Let's change the statute.
So, in the version of the CVAAA that you will see in a few weeks, you will see the sections in the Communications Act that refer to Chairman changed to Chair. If there is no other reason why that act should be passed, that's why it should be passed.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: I do like that story.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Good. I'm glad!
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: It took 87 years for a woman to be confirmed as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission; and the way I see it, is we've got to make good use of that time, so thank you.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Absolutely. I just love that. Anyway, so let's talk business. So, your work on accessibility dates back decades, it spans the various roles you've had at the FCC since 2002, is that right? Off and on?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: 2012 off and on.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: All right. I gave you an extra 10 years.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Yeah.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: As well as position as senior communication, science and communication committee instrumental on the passage of the CVAA consistently been a champion. What motivates you, why are you doing this?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: First of all, I've learned from Karen Peltz Strauss, that's true, and she's been a teacher and champion for the disability community and my go to person when I have questions about the law and all the thorny policy issues that arise when we deal with these things. Praise is do, and I mean it sincerely.
I also think as someone who has worked on public policy and communications for a long time, you take note of what's written in the law, and the Communications Act of 1934, in the very first sentence, it talks about making communications available to all the people of the United States without discrimination.
What I've learned over time is that there are a lot of communities that can count on the market to deliver communications, but there are others that are going to need a stimulant or a kick to make it happen, and so when we look at low income communities, rural communities, and the disability community, I think we have to be mindful that setting up a stimulant, building a framework, and providing that kick is the way to get it done.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: I'm sure that everybody here agrees with you, and we want to again, thank you for being the person who has always stood up for that in so many ways and not only people with disabilities.
So, reflecting on all of that's been achieved over the years, are there any particular accomplishments you think are more memorable than the others, some of the biggest ones?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: As you mentioned, I work extensively on the 21st Century Communications and accessibility act and I have a signed copy of it on my wall. It is definitely one of my prouder professional achievements because I think it is one of the more profound civil rights pieces of legislation that we have passed in the last two decades, and it's worth pointing that out to everyone that comes into my office and visits.
On a more localized level, I think we've made incredible progress with audio description, closed captioning, closed captioning on services that don't just run through TV but sometimes show up on the Internet, on clips that wind up on the Internet. I think we've also made great progress with texting to 911 because I think that expands the availability of emergency services. And then at this point, I'm really proud that the Commission has made as much as 85% of the verbal phone handsets hearing aid compatible. I want to see that through so we can get to 100%.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: I think everybody would like to see that. I know the industry has made tremendous progress. Just a little bit more to go.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: There is, but it's really fundamentally a different world view about services for those with disabilities. Instead of saying here is the service for everyone, and then let's build some separate hardware over here. You know, the old universe that got us TTY devices. This is instead saying, mainstream products are going to have this design built in from the start.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: And then, of course, turns out that those mainstream products that are built with accessibility are usable by everybody.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: And they wind up creating markets that are bigger and more advantageous for everybody who uses those devices. So, I like that model because I want to see us replicate it in all the technologies that come next.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: In an earlier session today, it was mentioned that there are going to be, I think it was 2024 more people over 65 than are younger than 18 I think for the first time in the world, and as these people get older, more and more people are going to need.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Hearing loss.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: All kinds of assistive technology or at assistive devices.
Speaking of global trends, this is the 10th anniversary of M Enabling. Actually, it started at the would be FCC with the sponsorship of the FCC and we've made tremendous strides, right, and the UN Convention on People with Disabilities, Rights of Persons with Disabilities which is the 2 006 human rights treaty, ratified by 180 countries.
But what would you say, what would you consider to be the greatest challenges to efforts to expand accessibility globally? I know that you do a lot of international traveling. We were just talking a little while ago about a recent trip. You may not have done as much in the past couple of years, but there is a whole global entity global aspect to this conference, so we'd be interested to hear your views on that.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: So much about technology involves scale. Can you take a market that seems small and grow it. The truth is when you think about the United States, we're powerful. We're large. If we can actually grow some of these products at global scale, we're going to create opportunities that are vaster than what we know right now.
One of the things that I think you know I tried to do early as a Commissioner at the FCC is when I traveled internationally, and I went to international conferences, which might have been on spectrum policy or you know, broadband access in rural areas. We tried to see every time if we could find somebody to meet with to talk to about disability access. If only to share our stories and ask them to share theirs. I thought if we could start normalizing that we had this as part of all of our international gatherings, there would be opportunities for progress, and so like you mentioned the last two years, have not been so great for travel. I have not done a lot of international travel. I mentioned to you recently I was in Romania for a very quick trip for the International Telecommunications Union.
I would like to see the FCC start to normalize that again and to ask our international bureau that every time someone travels, let's just see if there is somebody that we can talk to and let's plant as many seeds as we can for cooperation for coordination and for creating that global scale.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: That's phenomenal because I know I used to also do a lot of international travel, and in fact I did it for M Enabling, and making other countries aware of these issues.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Right. We're not necessarily going to come in and say you need to do what we are doing. But if we create a culture of sharing, I think we're going to be able to have opportunities. We just don't fully understand them now, and we have to normalize that happening at every gathering.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Especially because some of the American laws on disability access affect other countries. I mean the CVAA requires accessible products and services, communications products and services and a whole lot of accessible programming, and that filters out to other places as well, and some countries don't even know that that exists.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: True. And if in the United States we lock arms with three other countries, that are a big partial of the world's GDP, that's going to be unstoppable when it comes to devices available and technologies and services out there.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Absolutely. Speaking of the CVAA, we were talking a little while ago about how successful this law was, but in many ways. The FCC used a lot of stakeholders, so you met with businesses, you met with consumers, you met with government agencies, and worked together collaboratively. Why do you think that that worked? How do you or what is your vision of how this all came together or whether the CVA may be different this some ways than some of the other laws you've had to implement.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: I think from the very moment that law was passed the Federal Communications Commission and the advocacy community and those who had services that were impacted by the law, got together and hammered out some agreements. I won't say everyone got what they wanted but I think the proof is in what we were just talking about a minute ago. I see a lot of laws that come through the FCC. We issue a lot of decisions, and on the regular they go straight to court. We keep lawyers very busy at the Federal Communications Commission. (Laughing).
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: I can attest to that.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: But the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was not one of the laws that kept lawyers busy.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Except when we were writing them.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: But we don't have the nonstop parade to the courts to overturn the FCC. When the rules we want into place, they went into place. Everyone worked to make them viable, and when I look back, I think that's got to be a model not just for disability access but frankly for a lot of other laws that come to the FCC because it was straight up so successful.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: So, I couldn't agree more. It was phenomenal and a great experience for me.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Tiring.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Exhausting, yes, but very rewarding to be able to work with the teams of people and industry and have such collaboration. Do you think that the relationships between industry and consumers on these issues has improved over time because of that?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Well, I think we've tried to contain like continue to use that model. I know our disability rights office is over here. Hi, Susie. They do, amazing, amazing work, and one of the things that we started to put in place is as we asked for more comments on things in the official bureaucratic process, we actually started setting up some fora. And in this post pandemic environment, how does audio description come in, let's have discussion. In the post production environment, how does captioning come in? We're starting to ask some questions also about emergency access and issues with that, and I think that we have had the stakeholder sessions, and they've been productive. Every time we're trying to understand the limitations of the law, how do we fit this world we're in right now into this law from 2010. We're modeling it off the kind of stakeholder discussions we had when the law was first passed. Because I think they were so successful.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: So, one of the other challenging parts about working in this field is having the law keep up with technology. Technology keeps marching ahead, and people with disabilities are often playing catch up with closed captioning, with audio description.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Everything.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: With everything. Everything. Now a lot of discussion today was about the metaverse and AI and all of these incredible virtual reality, all kinds of new technologies that are coming down the pike. What do you see as the FCC's role in making sure that accessibility is not lost as these new technologies come about in.
Well, lots of new technologies are coming our way. Many more connected things and we're going to evolve to a world that's not just about our phones but connections around us that are going to power our daily lives and make us more efficient and effective. What we have to do is make sure that we all think about accessibility from the ground up. I don't want it to be something that we nail on and append at the end. We want to ask everyone that comes in and talks to us about a new technology to think about it as a level of design.
Again, I want to point back to what we're doing with mobile phones because it is such a powerful demonstration that this is possible, and I want us to start thinking like that and not this world where we like jerry rig everything at the end and get a nail and smack something on it and call it disability. I think design from the ground up.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Right. I was going to say, can we have an Amen, and you already did it. (Laughing).
The Commission recently released the Biennial Report on CVAA and cited a survey identifying 54 accessibility features on 153 mobile phones, just as you say. And the industry is to be congratulated for making this happen. What's your message to industry going forward?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Oh, just that. I mean let's think about it from the ground up. Let's make it an issue of design, and not let's make it a community that's an afterthought. I think that we're demonstrating with mobile phones that there is economic power in doing that, and we just got to keep that message going because I think that is essential for the future. It's not just the CVAA that's going to matter in your potential CVAAA I'm going to get used to that. (Laughing).
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: So, as I mentioned before, you have been very involved in disability access for many years. Has there been anything that surprised you and do you have any memorable stories you would like to share.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: I have lots. But they're not all appropriate for a public setting. (Laughing).
I think one of my favorites is the day that the CVAA was signed. I'm sure you were there, too. I was staff on Capitol Hill and I got invited to the White House, which is not something that normally happens. And I have my seat all the way in the last row on the end, right, but I'm there in the room where it happens. And I think it was the East Room that's got these golden drapes by the windows and big crystal chandeliers and feels important, it feels like you're in the White House and something big is happening. I looked for Senator Jay Rockefeller who led the Commerce Committee when this passed. If you are staff on Capitol Hill before an event like this you write your boss a memo, and this is the communications video on accessibility and these are the things that you did and here is chronology of what happens in the committee and what happens when it went to the floor and here are the people that are going to be there with you, other champions of this law. Senator Mark Pryor and Ed Markey described that and Henry Waxman was going to be there and describe that, and Stevie Wonder is going to be there because he was also a really good advocate.
If you're a really good staffer, you have all of this in the memo. I'm writing this on the computer. There is this point I realize that Senator Rockefeller is a big fan Bach and whenever I talk about music, it's limited Bach knowledge and Bach is divine and will calm you down and the only music worth listening to, Jessica, I hear that. He was a fanatic and very well studied on it, and it occurs to me that I can't just write down Stevie Wonder will be there without an explanation so I include in the memo references to, Sir Do you Care, Sign Sealed Delivered, including links if he actually looked electronically because in my mind, he would watch the YouTube versions of it. But in any event, that was probably the favorite memo I ever wrote for any kind of piece of legislation. It was followed up by me sitting there in the corner watching Senator Markey, very tall and Congressman Waxman, shorter, and Rockefeller and President Obama, all lined up.
And, anyway, I'm relaying this story on a video meeting last week and he quite literally goes and makes his staff get up, take their camera or whatever iPad they're using and go show a picture that he has on the wall of just that odd collection of characters who was responsible for the passage of the CVAA. And in any event, it was an interesting day and I went home and listened to Stevie Wonder music all night. I'm sure Senator Rockefeller went home and listened to Bach, or I'm not sure, but I tried.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: We are almost out of time, but I was there as well as you may remember and I have a lot of memorable stories but I don't have time to share with you, so if anybody wants to get any in the hall, it was an incredible day. Including after everybody left, Stevie Wonder sitting down at the piano and playing songs about climate change of all things, it was pretty extraordinary. One of the most memorable days of my life as well.
I think we only have time for one more question, although I would love to stay here forever because this is so much fun. So, I mentioned that we have the amendments to the CVAA, and have you thought about any of the gaps that are that need to be filled?
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Absolutely. This pandemic proves that we need a broader range of services for everyone, and the limits of our imagination in 2010 in the CVAA don't fully apply to the moment we're in. I think when it comes to video conferencing services, we need an update. The universe of Zoom and Teams has become a permanent part of our commercial life and we need to make sure that those with disabilities can fully participate. I think the privacy much television views were essential to the CVAA. There are so many views of content.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: I didn't tell her to say this. (Laughing). This is from her.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: This is complex.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: This is what she's about.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Let's have a dialogue about it because the idea was equivalent access, and as content migrates from television as a native platform. We need to understand what that means and looks like. Separately, I think there were constraints on audio description at something like 87 hours per quarter with an only subset of the Nielsen Markets in the United States, and I think that is retrograde and people with disabilities live throughout the country and that limitation to me feels like it should be updated.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Thank you so much. I think that also deserves an Amen.
I know you have something that you have to go to after this, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming here today, for spending some time with us, and for all that you do to make an incredible difference in the lives of everybody here and the disability community as a whole.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: Thank you, Karen. Thank you for being a champion, too.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Thank you. I thank all of you.
JESSICA ROSENWORCEL: I got your back.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: You got my back.
DEBRA RUH: Okay. Are you ready to party? We get to party now? I'm going to come get you if you don't come back.
Okay. So now we're going to celebrate the 10th Anniversary. Are you all so excited? I'm so excited I can't stand it! Yay! Look at everything we've achieved! This is about legacy.
So, I'm just going to tell you a couple of things of how it's going to work. First of all, go into your bag and get the party things. If you haven't seen them, get them out because we're going to use them. I have some people coming up here in a little while, and I want them to go ahead and start making their way, you know who you are and welcome get you if you don't come up.
But let's celebrate! Let's talk a little bit about what's happening here and this amazing conference that we have here. So, one thing that you'll see is we're going to put some slides up and the slides are going to talk about the slides are pictures of the 10 years, and so what we're going to do with that, after the conference, we're going to go and make it fully accessible, add everybody's names, and put it out on the M Enabling site so we can all see it.
I want to real quick say though, please, please, please go out on social media and use #mEnabling22 because let's celebrate who we are and what we're doing here. Speaking of celebrating, we want to have Nadret with Madpal, Robin with RIB and Antonelo, hold your hands up because you won one of my books because you're out there, so please go out there, and we're going to get more, but we need to talk about what's happening, so please, please join us on M Enabling 22.
10 years ago, whenever and it's really 11 years, you know, because we had that pandemic thing. But you know, Axel and G3ict and Francesca had an idea to bring us all together to talk about mobile. Not just web. We are talking so much about web and the web is important global stakeholders.
Today we have 21 countries because also we forgot to mention India. Yeah, so India is here too. Woo hoo! I'm sorry about that!
But it's also bringing together community advocacy. We have lots here. IAAP, Zero Project, and also our corporate allies, the Valuable 500 here. We want to point out a couple of amazing corporations that have gotten behind our community, so we have AT&T, Susan is going to come on the stage, and do you know that AT&T has been sponsoring this event every single year since 2011. They don't even have to ask, they're just right there.
That's AT&T. Thank you, Susan, for your leadership.
Also, we want to celebrate Amazon because Amazon has been doing it since 2015, and they're really, really stepping up, so Peter Korn, I don't know where you are but you have to come on the stage. Thank you, Amazon. Thank you to all the brands that are supporting it. Oh, he's up there. Oh, hey Peter. I was wasn't looking. Okay.
Another thing that the event did that was at least very important to me and I think some of you all, this was the first time we started bringing together Aging in Place and seniors into these conversations. These are the same things. We really need to celebrate that.
We also sought as one of the first conferences that starting bringing up government leaders like we just saw with the FCC. For six years, the FCC did their AAA Awards here. That's amazing that this government agency is being so, you know, really, really committed to our community. It's very exciting.
And also, I want to make one more comment before I start going after these poor people that had to come up to the stage and they don't even know why, but I'm going to go round them up, but this is also the one that I've seen, the first global conference that actually includes our community. For example, we have had deaf/blind speakers, deaf speakers, and well that's ridiculous, but actually when we first started doing this, we were trying to figure out how to accommodate our deaf and deaf/blind speakers and I reached out to many conferences, and they said off the record, we're just not including them because we don't know how to do it. But G3ict did it with M Enabling, so that is commitment to our community. So, thank you. Thank you.
All right, so now what I'm going to do to our victims up here oh, I mean our wonderful people up here is I'm going to tell you who they are. We have Frances West.
And by the way, Frances West, working as CAO of IBM was one of the first sponsors of the G3ict. Talk about legacy. This is legacy.
We have Susan Mazrui from AT&T.
Teresa Corbin so helpful with the Australian conference.
Jutta up here, and Jutta I forgot to write down the last name so I'm not going to butcher it anyway.
Shilpi Kapoor from India.
Karen Peltz Strauss.
And certainly, least but not least, Howard Rosenblum.
What I want to do is ask each of them to give very brief, brief one minute I can't even say it right. So, about what is the M Enabling yeah, Susan is saying you cannot start with me. So, we're going to start with Susan. So just kidding. But I want you to answer this question. What has M Enabling meant to you, the past of it, or also what the future. What are we going to do with the future? What are we going to do with the future. You just saw this amazing woman up here from the FCC telling us what we could do. We have to do it together, all of us, I'm not starting with Susan. I'm not going to start with you. I'm going to start with you with your beautiful curly hair. I hand you the microphone.
Well, thanks to Karen Peltz Strauss for coming to Australia in 2013 and Axel, we have an ICT procurement standard which we were told was impossible by all the officials and you convinced them otherwise, and then we worked and we got it, so thank you. We would love to have a CVAA and A as well would be great, but we're still trying for that one. So that's what our future hopefully will be.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you so much. I forgot to mention Pina, so I'm going to go to her now. And you wanted Sue to speak to?
Thank you, Debra. So for me, all of this has been in my experience, it has paved the way to my career, my passion, and I have learned so much about accessibility inclusion, but I think when I think about what the future holds, the future holds even more inclusiveness. And when we think about the next generation of youth and or children and how we're going to bring them on board and really get them to innovate and break barriers that we may have left behind unintentional. I look forward to more creation, more activity, and certainly more excitement for them. I'm getting old. Thanks.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you. I refuse to get old, by the way. I'm not getting old. I don't think we should get old. Okay. No old. We've got plenty of room. How about you, young lady.
You're coming to me. My future involves being with this community as long as I can be. When I stepped away a little after my retirement from the FCC I, realized there was no way I could exist without it. You're an extraordinary community. My future also holds another trip to Australia to help you with the CVAA.
DEBRA RUH: Yay!
I think we need a guy. Howard or Michael?
MICHAEL FEMBEK: Talk about accessibility, right. Okay, so I'll be brief. I grew up and we had no phone access growing up. We had no TV access when I was growing up. There were no apps, no computers apps, of course. And representation, to be able to get to a place where we have equal access is what the representation here is about, and the technology and being able to make that happen and with the networking available here and to understand where we are and how to get to where we need to get. That's the point of this. Thank you.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you, Michael. Okay. Don't you think Susan should talk now? Susan?
SUSAN MA ZRUI: When I say hard work, I'm talking about all of you, too. It was really getting together to make a difference, to give hope for tomorrow, and to take charge of our future, collaboratively, intentionally, and with a lot of sweat.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you. How about you next?
I'll be brief. I grew up no. (Laughing). I love Howard. That's awesome. I love that. M Enabling to me means hope. Years ago, I remember coming to a conference and one of those radical youth, Chansey, a mentor to me believe it or not, came into a meeting room, no Braille, no accessible format or anything, and she got up and walked out.
But that didn't go unanswered. And fast forward to this meeting, I saw information going out to presenters on how to make your presentation accessible, the decorum that you need to follow to make sure it's inclusive, more access to information in a more dynamic fashion. If we can get the rest of the world to be like M Enabling, then we really do have hope. That's what I have.
DEBRA RUH: I'm really glad that we invited him to the stage, but I thought we would be able to see him instead of the Matt, no, you don't get to do this. Matt, you have a different job. I'm so sorry. But if we have time, Matt, oh, when you're doing your job. Yeah. That's right, I'm moving out of your way.
PAUL: American Printing for the Blind, Axel who made this a family affair, and so many of the Leblois family, and I remember this before M Enabling occurred, him walking and meeting with all of us and spelling out the concept of bringing government, private sector, and everybody together about accessibility, and I thought this is just a crazy French guy and I don't know what he has in mind. I might not have understood everything he said. I didn't know that it was going to be a 10 year thing that we were going to be stuck to. This has grown and it's wonderful and brought all of these folks together. For many years people in industry would tell me, you know, just tell us what you want or where you want us to get to. Don't tell us how to do it and we'll get there. I said I don't believe you. We have to tell you how to do it or you won't do it. I think we've done a little bit of both. I think we've been somewhat prescriptive to say these need to get done and also allowed flexibility and I think we've gone in many ways well beyond what has been spelled out in the policies that some of us walked on and put lives into and thank goodness for that. We still have policy work to do, Karen and Jessica laid it out well, but I'm excited to know that we have a group together that will work together on it and make true what the Chair said, which is a whole group of stakeholders that are actually working together on solutions. Axel, thanks.
DEBRA RUH: That was great, Paul.
JUTTA TREVIRANUS: Thank you. Nobody needs to know how to pronounce my last name. For me, M Enabling is this amazing community of kindred spirits working on the absolutely most difficult and wicked problem, but to provide hope, not just to people here, but I think if we crack this nut, we're going to solve a whole array of other problems that are out there because the things that are creating these barriers are also causing a ripple effect of issues everywhere. So here within this room, I think we have answers to more than the questions that we're asking, but to some of the questions that the world is asking. So, I have a lot of hope for this.
DEBRA RUH: Beautiful. Beautiful. Shilpi from India. Now we're going to say India a bunch of times. Yeah.
Okay. All right. So, M Enabling for me is Axel and me both thinking about how do we take this global, and I think this was that melting pot. It was not that accessibility was about Section 508 in the U.S., but it was about how to get people from around the world to stand up and look for it. But I think more than that, I think it was family. When it came to the G3ict team and Axel, Christine and Francesca, hats off to you because you truly are family when it comes to accessibility as a community for a lot of us.
DEBRA RUH: Peter?
PETER KORN: Peter Korn, Amazon. In addition to the larger pictures that everyone else on stage talked about, whether it's from growing up or global, I have a more personal connection for me with M Enabling, and that goes back several years ago to when Alexa was new and I found out from Carolyn Phillips that her daughter loved Alexa but was using a speech generating device to talk with it.
And we sat down and we met her daughter and she became the inspiration for tap to Alexa and having a direct connection without using speech to talk with her. So to me, this is this is a personal connection and inspiring us to do better for more people with disabilities. Thank you M Enabling for that.
DEBRA RUH: That is beautiful.
Then, Frances West, certainly least but not last. I don't know why I do those things. But, Peter also, what's really exciting what we've done, the corporations, the multi national corporations they're coming to the M Enabling event to unfold what they're doing. Their innovations. This is what M Enabling has become. That is incredible. Just I know every time I see Peter, he's like okay let me show you, let me show you what we've done. You should be proud. Frances in.
FRANCES WEST: Frances West. 10 years ago what M Enabling means to me is growth. 10 years ago, we were talking about remember Mobile First? And today we're talking about metaverse and everything.
So, from a technology standpoint, the growth has been phenomenal. But as the people. I remember 10 years ago or the first couple of M Enabling, we went there and it was small, and we keep seeing each other. But now actually, I don't know many of the people here, which is great.
And then I will also say that it's great to see now we have some money to have cake and balloon, because I can tell you. Can I tell this?
DEBRA RUH: Absolutely.
The first M Enabling conference, and Axel always tells me I'm very, very careful about money, and then for those of you who were at the first conference, there was no carpet. It was, I think he saved some money by not having the carpet. (Laughing).
So, for those of us, and I was 10 years younger and I had pretty good hearing, but I was walking around the echoing was like and I'm thinking, how is this going to work? You know, because the noise and just but anyway we have come a long way thanks to the leadership of the G3ict Team and I think we have all grown bigger, older, but with this family and wiser. Okay. Yeah. But anyway, thank you.
DEBRA RUH: Karen wants to make one more comment.
KAREN PELTZ STRAUSS: Yeah. I just want to also thank Axel and the team because it's because of you that I have to buy new clothing every year, because I am watching the screen, and I'm noticing all of the clothing that I still in the closet that I can't wear because you have kept these pictures. Every woman here I think can understand how long it takes what you're going to wear to each M Enabling conference because did you wear it in 2012? I mean I didn't last year, but like in 2012, oh, my God, so now I'm taking a mental image and remembering all of the things that I cannot wear and I have to tell you that one of them is going to be worn tomorrow. (Laughing).
DEBRA RUH: It is about fashion. Fashion for all. Axel and Francesca, could you all come up to the stage?
Woo hoo! Yes! I want you both to come up. And then Matt gets to do some really fun stuff for us. Okay. Okay. Axel and Francesca both come up. They're being all polite. (Laughing).
Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to turn the mic over to Axel first who wants to say a couple of words.
AXEL LEBLOIS: I want to say Happy Anniversary to the community and thank you to everyone for being with us through too much work over the years, and just a wonderful event that we can see so many friends at one time. Like Karen said, for us the community is our extended family, and it's a big part of our life. Thank you all.
Now, I would like to recognize who is really responsible for that whole thing, which is Francesca Cesa Bianchi.
So, if you could be anything for 10 years of achievement for M Enabling Summit, this crystal will hopefully stay with us for a lifetime to remember all the fantastic achievements with M Enabling Summit. Francesca, this is yours.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you, Axel.
FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you. Thank you so much. I think, well we had reciprocal, in fact.
DEBRA RUH: How about I take that from you and give you this one.
FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Not planned. Not planned. This was actually something that I sought from all of our G3ict and IAAP team but also from all of our community that you have served so well and this is for Axel Leblois for leadership and vision of M Enabling Summit 2022.
It's a art glass piece, it's a handblown, and it's round for global and inclusion as well, a symbol of inclusion, and has the colors of our conference as well, blue, green, and white. Axel? Thank you.
DEBRA RUH: That's right. We tricked them both and didn't know either one was happening. It was really tricky. Didn't you love it?
AXEL LEBLOIS: This was not planned. Thank you so much.
DEBRA RUH: Thank you. Now I want to introduce Matt. What is Matt going to do? Matt Ater is our cake cutter. Matt? Do it right now. This is an important job. Here.
MATT ATER: Give a blind guy
DEBRA RUH: Right. What could go wrong?
MATT ATER: Is this a knife? Oh, that's the mic. I don't think I need a mic, right?
DEBRA RUH: I was giving you the mic in case you did want to say something.
MATT ATER: I'm miced up. I'm dangerous.
DEBRA RUH: Should I feel confident.
MATT ATER: First of all, 10 years. There is a balloon here, so if I miss the cake, I'm sorry for the noise if I pop the balloon. I have no clue how you know, I didn't even cut the cake at my own wedding.
DEBRA RUH: Oh, cool. Thank you.
MATT ATER: First of all, congratulations to everybody here. Did everybody have a good time today? Yeah? Yay!
I'll say very little now because I'll say something after I cut this. Right. Do I say it after? The other stuff? Yeah? Okay. I'm in charge? I have the mic now. Okay.
You got the mic. You paid for that.
MATT ATER: Yeah. I'll say a few quick things and then cut the cake. I'm from Vispero, and for some of you that don't know what that is because I don't know what we were but most of you know Freedom Scientific or Passive Group or PTCI thanks to Mike in the room. Where is Mike? Thank you.
And so if you don't know the products, combined, you know, a couple of things. When we think about accessibility, you know, we spent a lot of time talking about compliance, and that's good. We want to make things accessible. If we do make things usable, they're probably going to be accessible. So, let's think about that from a user perspective. We spent a lot of time, and I mean you know listening to Peter talk about things that Amazon has done and everybody else has done on stage or in the community, and they're thinking about the user. That's what we need to think about. A lot of times we focus so much on the compliance side rather than the user, and so let's get back to talking about the user which is going to make a big deal for everybody else.
The couple of question things that I just want to share. Tomorrow, we do launch the next version of JAWS, Zoom Text and Fusion and a couple of really big features for people. One is I'm going to call a noise reduction feature for those people that say they have to focus on and get ready of the noise. There are some great ways to customize the noise getting fed to the user. We have a new way to present things to low vision people. One of the challenges with low vision people, myself, is you only see one thing at a time when you're looking at the computer scene. So, when you're typing in the start menu, you only see what you're typing and you don't see what's highlighted above. Everybody with vision can see that. We brought that down into the view port for people with low vision so they can see what they're looking at with Zoom Text and Fusion.
The last thing we added, and there are other things, fixes, and other things, but one of the cool ones is we're now going to announce when there is things on the page that should have been made accessible through proper tagging, so if we see something that may stand out to JAWS but may not be tagged as a heading, as an example, we are going to let the user know that there are some things on the page that they can go to can a key stroke. We just want to make it easier for the user. This isn't about accessibility. This is about the user, again. So, make sure you check those things out. And thanks for having us up here today and feel free to stop by and see our team.
Karen, where is Karen? Is she over there? So, Karen, later if you want to see a video of Stevie singing, I have one of him singing to my girls at 3:00 in the morning. Come on by.
DEBRA RUH: Let's use noise makers! Come on, let's celebrate?
MATT ATER: I don't know what I'm doing. Is this a small piece or big piece? Just any piece, right?
(noise makers sounding).
DEBRA RUH: All right. Now it is time for the cocktail party.
MATT ATER: Oh, I think we have drink tickets, right? Oh, so out there in the reception area where the booths are, come by and see the different vendors, don't forget you have drink tickets on the back of your badge, and I heard Axel is carrying some extras, so just so you know. (Laughing).
DEBRA RUH: Be sure to use the passports. Go and visit the vendors. They work so hard to be here. Please, please go visit them. They're so important to what we're doing. Thank you, everyone.
This text, document, or file is based on live transcription. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. This text, document, or file is not to be distributed or used in any way that may violate copyright law.