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Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access

By Zach Thompson
Fri 13 May 2022

Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.

The announcement comes as part of its 12th annual Microsoft Ability Summit, which highlighted how the company is approaching accessibility and committing to inclusive design.

The new Inclusive Tech Lab will see Microsoft working with disabled communities to develop and evaluate product design and direction, which the company says will demonstrate what is possible when building products that intentionally and proactively include people with disabilities.

Designed with the disabled community, Microsoft's new adaptive accessories will provide a highly adaptable, straightforward system, creating an ideal setup and increasing productivity for those that struggle to use a traditional mouse and keyboard.

Additional product offerings announced at the event include:

  • New inclusive experiences on Windows 11 including a more immersive Focus experience, system-wide Live Captions, improved Voice Access tools, and more natural voices for Narrator.
     
  • Creation of a new Gaming Developer Accessibility Resource Hub, providing a single place for developers to start their accessibility journey.
     
  • Launch of BuildAbility in Minecraft: Education Edition, a new accessibility themed world made in collaboration with the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada.
     

This announcement comes after the company recently expanded its global partnership with Avaya, enabling its OneCloud platform to be delivered on Microsoft Azure.

Building on the success of Avaya OneCloud Contact Center as a Service delivered on Azure, Avaya is now expanding its partnership to include the Avaya OneCloud portfolio on Azure for customers that want maximum flexibility to deploy in a hybrid, public or private cloud environment.

"Our strategic partnership with Microsoft is an important milestone in our continued transformation to a cloud business model," Avaya strategy and alliances senior vice president David Austin says.

"The global scale of Microsoft helps ensure that our joint customers rapidly deploy Avaya OneCloud solutions in any cloud environment of their choice with speed, agility and cost competitiveness.

"This represents a tremendous opportunity for customers to accelerate their journey to the cloud, and a tremendous opportunity for Avaya to expand our go-to-market reach through the co-selling efforts we have identified with our trusted partner," Austin adds.

"Many of our largest customers have standardised on Avaya communications solutions, and offering Avaya OneCloud on Microsoft Azure gives them an additional opportunity to benefit from their investments while accelerating their cloud migration," Microsoft global ISV partner sales vice president Casey McGee says.

"Together, we are working to help customers around the world transform their businesses, and drive digital transformation and implement workload migration initiatives more rapidly.

"This is a significant opportunity, particularly for Microsoft customers as they move more workloads to Azure."

Avaya OneCloud is an experience platform dedicated to empowering organisations to compose unique, modernised and personal experiences that meet the ever-changing needs of their customers and employees.

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