Biz / Tech

New alliance to push for more accessible online services

Shanghai will establish an alliance to make Internet services more accessible to aged and disabled people, the first of its kind nationwide.

Shanghai will establish an alliance to make Internet services more accessible to aged and disabled people, the first of its kind nationwide, Shanghai Daily learned during the ongoing annual plenary session of the city’s political advisory body.

The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, together with top dot-com firms, will establish an "Accessibility Alliance" probably in the first half. 

It will solve problems raised by several Shanghai CPPCC  (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) members, who mentioned aged people don’t know how to use online services like online reservation, taxi-hailing and food delivery.

The commission will join hands with "several dozen" firms including Huawei, Didi Chuxing, Ctrip and Dianping to offer specialized accessibility design for aged people and those with vision impairment. 

Meanwhile, the commission has cooperated with local community officials to train aged people to install and use related applications, covering hospitals, food, transportation and banking. 

In 2018, the commission held over 100 training sessions to help about 3,000 people over 60 years of age, said Qiu Wei, big data development division director of the commission.

"The alliance will debut in the first half — it should be the first nationwide," Qiu told Shanghai Daily in an on-site session of the CPPCC.

The coming alliance echoed proposals from CPPCC members, including Tao Yinyan.

Though Shanghai is developing rapidly on information structure and services, aged people often face “embarrassing moments.” They don’t know how to use new devices and new services, such as online reservation for hospitals and government bureaus, calling a taxi using apps, and even picking up delivery items using code-scanning machines, Tao said in a proposal CPPCC meeting.

Online services should be designed for accessibility, such as big characters and simplified processes, Tao said.

On Metro lines, accessible devices including elevators and paths for blind people have covered all 415 stations, the Shanghai Shentong Metro Group said on the CPPCC site. 

Robots are also a trend to better serve aged people in an aging society, CPPCC member Li Gang said during a discussion session Sunday. 

ABB has just announced they will invest 1 billion yuan (US$144 million) to build an industrial robot plant in Shanghai, said Li, who is ABB China’s president. 

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