AXSChat Podcast

AXSChat Podcast with Hector Minto Microsoft Tech Evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

November 08, 2021 Antonio Santos, Debra Ruh, Neil Milliken talk with Hector Minto from Microsoft
AXSChat Podcast
AXSChat Podcast with Hector Minto Microsoft Tech Evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Show Notes Transcript

 Hector is a Subject Matter Expert in accessibility, assistive technology and disability issues.


Microsoft Tech Evangelist for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Subject Matter Expert in accessibility, assistive technology and disability issues.

Previously, co-creator of the learning curve for eye gaze technology, a pedagogy for children (and often adults) to embrace technology despite complex physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.

Specialties: Corporate Responsibility, Linking People, Sales, Sales Management, Product Launches, Public Speaking, Product Management, Market Analysis. 

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Neil Milliken: hello, and welcome to axschat it may be taken us a few years to finally get hector on the show but we're really pleased to have you here so welcome take them into.

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Neil Milliken: Accessibility evangelists for rest of world, I think it is now isn't it for Microsoft so i'm really pleased to have you.

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Hector Minto: Thanks bill could see you can see Deborah Antonio I have not been avoiding you, I just want to make that super clear from the start.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): money to have you on hector you play such an interesting role and.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): And you play a global role, so we were very excited because it knew would say I asked hector again, but he said he's got these others speaking engagements I asked him again so anyway, we have been a bit stopping you, so I think.

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Hector Minto: I always wanted to give my see up to some people who had really something interesting to talk about you know, a product or you know.

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Hector Minto: I was thinking myself as a generalist so like i'm not sure i've always deliver your specialist.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): need your work to that well.

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Neil Milliken: Amongst other generalists it so welcome so um yeah so just for the audience, obviously we know each other well but tell our audience who you are, how you came into the profession, a bit of history would be great.

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Hector Minto: The problem so hi everyone i'm active into i'm the lead accessible evangelist at Microsoft and my role is essentially to scale.

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Hector Minto: Confidence on disability inclusion and accessibility at Microsoft around the globe, with all of our teams in our offices and do a ton of customer engagement government engagement essentially.

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Hector Minto: subject matter expert on disability inclusion and accessibility, I i've done nothing else my entire career, I spent 25 years working in technology and disability.

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Hector Minto: Working all the way up from the very earliest page turners for people with physical disabilities.

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Hector Minto: Through to like writers I don't know if you remember those will come across those still around at typing keyboards for people who are non verbal.

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Hector Minto: AC and then I moved to possum to do home automation for people with physical disabilities working essentially for a spin off from the NHS in the UK.

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Hector Minto: Using you know home control before everybody wanted home control right, and then I went to work for toby doing I gaze for 10 years.

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Hector Minto: toby toby done in Sweden and my background, the reason I got into it was essentially because I was fixated on the topic pretty early on in life.

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Hector Minto: My mom hated when she listens to these, by the way, because she she she brings me up and says, I see you notice me, you know you mentioned me again on there and.

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Hector Minto: Then, but, honestly, she dragged me to a special ED classes, you would call it in the UK as a teenage boy, and I, and I made a ton of new friends in the in the world.

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Hector Minto: In my village where I lived in Bristol in the UK, and from that day forward, I was kind of obsessed with this concept of like, how do we.

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Hector Minto: How do we just empower people right, and so I came up my degree got bored for i'm going to just go and do this and that and i've had an amazing career honestly it took me 20 years to get to Microsoft.

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Hector Minto: But honestly I really, the reason I joined Microsoft and came out of the assistive technology space was.

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Hector Minto: This is a seriously important moment in human history we're sitting in right now we're think of think of digital tech is essentially the buildings have today right it's the it's the.

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Hector Minto: You know, we used to think about the accessibility of buildings, you have to think about the structural inclusion of people with disabilities and technology now and.

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Hector Minto: To all of my friends from my career in assistive technology, you have so much to offer the world in terms of your knowledge and experience, about how to build that so.

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Hector Minto: This is a rambling intro recognize that deal but yeah I mean this is my history my journey is honestly pure assistive tech.

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Neil Milliken: Which is quite unusual for someone of our generation to be fed so.

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Hector Minto: What was your what you did something similar there neal.

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Neil Milliken: i've been in it for similar length of time, but I came about it, I did have some other jobs first so.

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Neil Milliken: So it's usually a second career yeah I had a a very unprofitable record label worked in the music and video business did.

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Neil Milliken: The arts degree at uni em and some pretty random jobs before working in sort of dot COMs and and fat dropped into assistive tech and immediately found my my vocation so.

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Neil Milliken: But yeah it's been it's been a really long and interesting career and you get to play with loads of stuff right and.

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Neil Milliken: yeah work with some great people as they were put in the chat you know try find your tribe so, so I think that that that Community that is built that you're part of the were part of the we We consciously try and grow.

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Hector Minto: Everyone checks their phones.

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Neil Milliken: So, yes couldn't couldn't happen i'm doing well on video interviews this week.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Technology problems at all.

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Neil Milliken: whatsoever so so that that tribe that that Community and you're right the focus on how we can make tech and the ecosystem because tech is the ecosystem that we all live in now work for everyone is is super important and, I think.

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Neil Milliken: Talking of ecosystems.

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Neil Milliken: That there's big talk of new ecosystems coming up, though Facebook rebranded to matter stole the logo of several other large.

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Neil Milliken: virgin media and large organizations with the sort of infinite loop, but the point being is that the metaverse is is the whole thing right now we were talking.

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Neil Milliken: About second life, while we're offline, which was a photo of the metaverse and then recently this week Microsoft announced and stuff about.

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Neil Milliken: The metaverse in teams and maybe you know you can tell us a little bit about the plans and also, then we can talk about the opportunities there are for sure.

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Hector Minto: i'm not qualified to talk about the pod specialists, but but fundamentally it's been predicted as one of the next big things for technology essentially a.

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Hector Minto: A remote existence in a physical space it's been a lot of work done over the last number of years with hololens and hololens to in terms of.

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Hector Minto: Taking people into a space physically through Avatar so for training functionality for.

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Hector Minto: walking around buildings are walking around new car designs and things like this there's this idea that you can you can do this.

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Hector Minto: Using a hollow lens or increasingly now going to be built into mainstream technology through through through Meta right let's read metaverse.

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Hector Minto: It is nothing we've not seen before in terms of stay with it really is the second life but it's like this is this moment, probably when the mainstream starts go Oh, this is interesting and perhaps covert.

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Neil Milliken: and remote access.

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Hector Minto: And, and perhaps the sustainability movement is pushing a lot of this and saying actually we don't need to fly up to that factory when we can do things remotely so there's a lot of that that's gaining momentum.

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Hector Minto: From an accessibility perspective on the face of it, you know again great opportunity, if we take away the need to travel and do some of that some of those you know.

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Hector Minto: barriers that exist for many people with disabilities and of course this this comes a great opportunity, but of course it also comes a great risk that we don't design, people with disabilities into the experience.

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Hector Minto: it's always.

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Hector Minto: yeah again right, I mean.

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Hector Minto: This is genuinely there i've always said that's why assistive technology exists because it's essentially somebody designing something for the bit that wasn't that didn't work in the first place right and but you know as Microsoft and as the you know we put a huge focus on.

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Hector Minto: That increasingly.

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Hector Minto: And you know.

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Hector Minto: we've been a long journey on accessibility at Microsoft for over 20 years you know we've got to make sure that we're in the room.

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Hector Minto: i'm not going to start saying listen that I think it was Dr Neil about this is like you know, going to be in the room where it happens, otherwise.

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Hector Minto: As accessibility people we've got to be in the room where it happens, because otherwise you know it's not gonna happen by accident accessibility is always deliberate.

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Hector Minto: And, but I watched the keynote and there was this amazing moment where the avatars had individual and.

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Hector Minto: subtitles or transcription essentially what was actually being used as a translation.

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Hector Minto: DEMO yeah you could have somebody Japanese somebody English and the and the automatic translation would just be showing in captions underneath them which, in the face of it, wow that really augments the human experience.

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Hector Minto: What that means for somebody who's desk that's kind of hard of hearing somebody uses captions.

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Hector Minto: It means that actually in a in a in a in a virtual meeting room where three people are talking over one another you're going to be able to see what somebody is saying right so there's there's big benefits potential in that world but.

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Hector Minto: As always, technology is is may become more accessible for somebody and less accessible somebody else, and you know, the more that we work in a world where.

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Hector Minto: Things are not not personal personalized let's use that word.

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Hector Minto: You know we've got to make sure that this emerging tech has the same personalization available to it that we've got used to in an email or a web page or whatever that might be so.

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Hector Minto: New tech we yeah we're very we actually Neil just Personally, I was like it when we create a little bit of noise or bit friction with new technology, because that gives me and our team, you know we get permission to knock on the door of that team and say right.

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Hector Minto: Here we go and so please don't ever feel that we you're never going to get me to kind of legal my way out of a conversation about accessibility and technology right, you know we want, we embrace that friction sometimes to make sure that we can move the world forward.

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Yes.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Which is such an important point, I just want to comment on a couple of things.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): In the first place and i've said this before and I haven't traveled in a couple of years, obviously, because of the pandemic, but before that, when I was traveling heavily and I was going to develop countries all Microsoft would always be at the table.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I remember one time in Egypt in Cairo.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Microsoft was the only vendor it was the only corporation there.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): And the audience was just going after.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Microsoft because.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): This wasn't accessible this.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): One, and I remember, at one point just saying okay these gentlemen came from Microsoft to listen to us and.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Your words like ripping them apart, so it was just, I just wanted to acknowledge that, but a lot of times when you're in the room, and I know that they face us at a toast as well, not always appreciated that you're in the room, so I just.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): made that comment another comment you said was when we were teasing you about not being on the show before and you said, I want to make sure.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): That others could talk about what they were doing and I think that is just such an important and leader ship comment to make, so I want to say that to you hector because.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I know that you're located in the UK, the UK, but we know about your work in the US, and we all appreciate you just want to let you know, but at the same time.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): The second life comment that came up I know my daughter with down syndrome really love second life and sims and.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): But at the same time, I have a sister that I didn't grow up with that also loved second life.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): But what she did was she actually started using it as her first life and she really stopped.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): engaging with the family, because she didn't like who she was in real life, she still doesn't and I love her so much, but she doesn't see what I see when I look at her so.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I i'm curious about, because I know we've been working on stuff like this, as society for years and years, you can see you're putting all the pieces together and is, and I agree with you hector.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): We can't build anything anymore that's not accessible it's I was talking yesterday to the ieee and they said, give us one word and I said accessibility.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): What the heck accessibility improves it for all of us, but so, but there is a mental pretty significant mental.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): aspect associated with everything going online, and I know you can't solve all these problems, but I was just wondering if we could explore that a little bit.

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Hector Minto: yeah and so every technology can be used for oh can can lead to negative impact, you know, one of my one of my lines.

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Hector Minto: Is when somebody says to me what's assistive technology, and I will say well what's non assistive technology like.

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Hector Minto: isn't the whole point of technology is that it assists us as humans, I was thinking of excessive assistive technology in our world is just diverse assistive technology yeah it's like that should really be how we describe it yeah so.

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Hector Minto: Technology will always do harm and do good and how do we focus it on on doing good yeah and and actually how do we ensure that we're.

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Hector Minto: Tackling the harm any technology does in the world right so so I totally agree with you and.

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Hector Minto: I have personal disability my family, and so my brothers or sisters he spends I would argue, too much time at home on a computer compared to.

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Hector Minto: You know what I want him to do now that's not my decision that's his decision right, but the whole point here is.

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Hector Minto: You know if there are, if there are remote worlds, where people can just lose themselves and, of course, that that we've got to actually say.

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Hector Minto: As a society, what do we want as people.

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Hector Minto: Now, and we're going to we're going to make sure that digital doesn't it doesn't become the only option one of the things that I always think about is the closing of post offices and banks.

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Hector Minto: And everyone goes Oh, this is progress and you're like well actually go to a bank on a Monday morning and tell me who's there.

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Hector Minto: And it's everybody who wants that human engagement wants that personal contact and we as humans have to decide, do we want all of this actually on the face of it, we absolutely want everything to be easy right or assistive.

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Hector Minto: That but but but actually society we benefit from human interaction i'm in the office today, for the first time in a long time yeah and i've been first team meeting with 2030 people in the room, so nice to see people, but then.

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Hector Minto: The casual progress, I made with people is probably more important than some of the teams calls that i've been having diarrhea meetings.

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Hector Minto: It look everyone says all good we can just do everything remotely but what do we miss out on when we do it society, frankly, is dealing with exactly that challenge, right now, but you're you know I get where you're coming from Deborah we've got to.

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Hector Minto: we've got to give people options we shouldn't, we should never remove options without careful thought would be would be the thing is a bit, you know that film Bali.

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Hector Minto: When all the humans have evolved and everyone's going around on the kind of little pants.

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Hector Minto: You know they don't move anymore, because they're essentially just plugged into their screen, the whole time it, you know jokingly isn't it that's kind of like where we're heading right in many regards.

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Hector Minto: I think what's actually I think i'm starting to see already is people really benefit from human touch right human interaction.

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Hector Minto: So you're gonna you're going to continue to do that and we talk a lot about hybrid now in the workplace, maybe the say we take the conversation but.

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Hector Minto: Remote work for many people with disabilities is enormous, I mean it's a huge opportunity that the impossible that many organizations felt pre pandemic.

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Hector Minto: In terms of something can possibly not work, nine to five and the Office right is a massive boon for people with disabilities in many regards, that.

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Hector Minto: But, but what we've got to be careful with is that we don't turn it into the default, you know we got a we got a hybrid we gotta we gotta we gotta find to find options.

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Antonio Santos: So we often have an awareness we're excited about technology, many people around the world that aren't excited about the new technologies.

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Antonio Santos: And are developing them, but how can we make sure that we're able to keep that balance, you know I just give you a.

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Antonio Santos: sample that was I was listening today where the person is health services they were complaining, oh no people that are older than at they are not doing their certain way vaccine bookings online.

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Antonio Santos: And once they're not you know.

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Antonio Santos: nope some of them, they might depend from other people to do those things out, we make sure that we keep a balance, and we are aware of the others and we don't expect everyone to do things online because some of them, they might not want to do it and others didn't have access.

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Hector Minto: So it's all boils down to representation Okay, I feel, like, I have to say the same thing again and again and again.

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Hector Minto: The fact is that the 80 year olds are not represented in the people building that project out right and not in the workplace, more often than not right.

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Hector Minto: And this is exactly honestly people think accessibility so complicated it's not what we've proven at Microsoft over the last number of years and we're still on a journey.

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Hector Minto: i'm always wary that we come across a little bit as a trend say everything's perfect at Microsoft it's not right, we are all businesses are on it on a journey.

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Hector Minto: But whenever anybody says to me how what's the quickest way to make progress it's obvious representation yeah and it's not just the representation of.

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Hector Minto: New hires although, please do new hires you know inclusive hiring absolutely practice this and there's also.

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Hector Minto: Having conversations with people who are not talking about their disability in the workplace already.

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Hector Minto: yeah so one of my favorite honestly fight if you asked me what what is my biggest achievement in last five years at Microsoft honestly, the thing i'm most proud of.

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Hector Minto: Is the number of colleagues who share their disabilities with me on a daily basis, who were never talking about that, before.

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Hector Minto: And not only are they talking about it now and saying this doesn't work for me and I need this to work for me things like my training.

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Hector Minto: And i've got one of my colleagues Kelly, so if you don't mind me name dropping her.

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Hector Minto: we'll talk about kelly's dyslexia and she's like every year Microsoft drops this enormous amount of training on me and it absolutely stresses me out.

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Hector Minto: Now she just clicked read aloud or in edge and she just listened to the whole training and gets it all, whereas before she had to literally put aside.

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Hector Minto: weeks of time to go and do that training we've because she disclosed to me, this is the point she discloses a disability somebody then transact with okay let's let's personalized let's personalize this experience.

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Hector Minto: And suddenly you feel inclusion, you know that is that's how we're moving forward.

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Hector Minto: Now what's happened now is obviously she's much more confident and i'm not picking on Kelly, as an example, but she's she's okay she's her own evangelists know she tells everybody about these experiences and that's how we scale.

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Hector Minto: representation is how we will tackle life's challenges, what about this thing that happened a cup this weekend, we should.

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Hector Minto: not make a political statement about it, I tweeted about it, so I should maybe mentioned and but there was this moment where everyone was saying wasn't it disgusting that the COP event wasn't accessible to the Israeli delegate the Israeli elected politician in a wheelchair.

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Hector Minto: And everyone says well that isn't disgusting and i'm kind of sit there thinking no it's great because because you know we wouldn't have known that had she not been elected, well done applause yeah.

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Hector Minto: And, and the fact that she was the attached to the event to expose what worked what didn't work is how we make progress.

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Hector Minto: yeah like these, these moments, and always be moments, where we, and it goes back to what you're saying about your agents trip Deborah.

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Hector Minto: let's give people permission to learn and move forward like like don't.

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Hector Minto: Like we can castigate and we can critique and we can criticize and absolutely we've got to do it yeah But then what we got to do a stage two is say Okay, can we make progress together yeah you know and actually you know what I one of my other lines.

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Hector Minto: Like one in six people have a disability, I mean people are saying, one in four and I right Deborah and but but one in two people love somebody with a disability or care about this topic deeply.

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Hector Minto: And we've got to embrace that as a as an accessibility community and say, this is not about only everyone knowing exactly how everything works, this is about winning hearts and minds and taking the social justice of.

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Hector Minto: In accessibility to task yeah I love your line me on I still feel like I always steel mills lines.

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Hector Minto: I love noodles line about in accessibility is digital pollution, what a line I mean like you're a poet named it's it's like it's like in accessibility is digital pollution is it's the Blocker that stops me participating.

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Hector Minto: And once people understand that and understand there are things they can do knowledge build knowledge makes micro commitments in year one progressing year to.

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Hector Minto: Once people start once you get somebody to start doing that kind of stuff that's how we're going to start making progress, but it, but it starts with.

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Hector Minto: That recognition and that that I have another hashtag that I use internally at Microsoft like this is us, so we talk so much about accessibility, as if it's a deliverable only but it's not it's.

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Hector Minto: Our lived experience to.

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Hector Minto: see exactly we have exactly that same representation as anybody else any of our customers yet and actually when we start having this conversation internally and recognize our own representation and empower it and create a platform for it, we will all start to make progress on the topic.

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Neil Milliken: So there's a few things you said that I want to pick up on right so, so I think that absolutely we want to create those cultures within our own organizations and for our clients, where people feel empowered to talk about.

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Neil Milliken: Their their disabilities their needs a ride from you know all sorts of things in life right so lots of people that would classify as being disabled don't consider themselves as disabled so.

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Neil Milliken: Talking about their needs and their wants and what makes life better for them that needs to be part of a virtuous circle where when people do that they're met with a positive response in action, because otherwise you you, you know you don't make it worthwhile to to identify.

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Hector Minto: what's in it for me.

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Neil Milliken: yeah exactly so so you know if you know if they don't see a positive response to those those requests and that openness and quite often, it does take courage right, especially at the beginning of that that cycle of growth within an.

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Neil Milliken: organization it really does take some courage for people to to come out about their disabilities if there isn't a positive response, then it it kills, the whole thing off so so the willingness of management to respond is is really, really important.

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Hector Minto: But I didn't honestly know in my career, I worked for smaller organizations and I I genuinely didn't know what executive sponsorship meant when I came into Microsoft word term everyone was using I was like what is this.

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Hector Minto: money.

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Hector Minto: What it was was it was it was leader leader support right leader leader sponsorship and and it took me a little while to work out, but I have, I mean, I have some amazing relationships with leaders at Microsoft.

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Hector Minto: And they are the onlookers for the progress we make yeah massively yeah people in the business, you know we're still hierarchy every bit as.

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Hector Minto: Much as we all aim for flat management yeah there is a hierarchy in the sponsorship.

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Hector Minto: In our world and and so when somebody and I would even argue, we could take us into public life as well right, I think I don't think this is just a business thing.

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Hector Minto: But when somebody says i'm committed to this and I give you permission to be committed to this same journey and you tell me what it is you want to do, and I will back to you if you're trying to be want to make progress on this that's how we'll move forward as as kind of.

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Hector Minto: Thought leaders it's it's as teams is how I generally feel about this, some of my most favorite color.

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Hector Minto: there's another story from COP i'm going to say this, one I just thought of this week, but there was a comment that COP this week that Microsoft standard was the only one that had the booth at wheelchair hi yeah.

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Hector Minto: i've got no.

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Hector Minto: And he got noticed okay right now here's the beautiful thing about this, I don't remember any memo on this I didn't get an email about it right.

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Hector Minto: it's in the it's in our principles it's in our build standards for events.

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Hector Minto: And i'm not an expert in building DEMO booths or anything like this okay that's not my job.

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Hector Minto: yeah but because we've grown a culture of inclusion at Microsoft somebody in that team decided to make a micro commitment yeah to build to create a standard that this became what we did by default yeah.

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Hector Minto: And that's the journey, I think, whether you're an HR professional whether you're an IT person with your.

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Hector Minto: Learning management system person that's a big topic in the workplace moments of accessibility right, you have permission you, you have to you have to be.

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Hector Minto: You have to seek permission to drive accessibility and inclusion forward yeah because it does cost money, sometimes right now I mean it's like this, you know.

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Hector Minto: Change costs money yeah and but but but it drives massive wins, and so, when I when I have a very senior exec brought this up with me earlier today that the roof was accessible.

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Hector Minto: And it's like when they see that this is winning hearts and minds and people are noticing that you know and it's becoming widespread I love that that's my favorite moments when people when people do what they're good at in an accessible way not just us building just accessible product.

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Neil Milliken: can't be just us right because there's too few of us, so we need everybody to to buy into this, and so, yes, I, like you said I like i'm going to steal micro commitments I like that so.

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Neil Milliken: quid pro quo.

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Hector Minto: My favorite my favorite micro commitment there, and you know you do this like religiously is make all your tweets accessible whenever I meet a team and they say.

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Hector Minto: Like what do I, what do you need to do first I was like right first things first micro commit now.

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Hector Minto: Every tweet accessible and once you do that, you start building muscle memory that is like okay get there's a disability inclusion for there okay do it yeah.

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Hector Minto: And the number of people I know who just do it religiously though they just they just make sure their social medias accessible right and they know that i'm occasionally i'm going to get them with pat and crack if they see that they missed one.

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Hector Minto: yeah okay so there's always stick of accessibility as well right, but actually.

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Hector Minto: What they're doing is they're whether they whether they realize it or not, is they're just building up as I call it muscle memory, to do something deliberately inclusive.

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Hector Minto: And then that probably weaves in something else that they do the other one I always tell people is your email for to go now don't check your email, for now, if you're watching this.

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Hector Minto: and run it through the accessibility checker and then make your template accessible like because just that one thing means that you're putting less pollution, Neil.

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Hector Minto: ecosystem.

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Neil Milliken: We had that micro commitment, so we have a thing that helps you create an email footer a corporate you know compliant with our branding email footer.

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Neil Milliken: And you can choose the various different corporate logos and the linkedin and when they designed it they designed it with our text in the images and all that stuff so that if you use our corporate footer Creator, it should be accessible by default.

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Hector Minto: There you go okay.

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Neil Milliken: And again, that was.

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Neil Milliken: That wasn't me that determined to do that that was someone else that you know drunk the Kool aid.

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Hector Minto: yeah but there's a people analogy here now i'm going to give it to you okay what you're doing is you're putting the accessibility further up the supply chain yeah like earlier earlier in the supply chain.

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Hector Minto: That when we think about organizations, the more we put commitment to disability inclusion further up the supply chain as.

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Hector Minto: Leaders saying Okay, this is my take them moving forward the rest of it just becomes more routinely accessible so so you know I joined Microsoft because of Daniel a flurry I mean that's.

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Hector Minto: Like the worst kept secret, I was like are finally you know you could see like we're going in the right direction as a tech industry.

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Hector Minto: But because Danny has a position of leadership in Microsoft and everyone knows her that you know whether you're in real estate marketing sales like.

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Hector Minto: there's no escape yet and a position of authority that says at this is a value okay it's a sustainability is a value.

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Hector Minto: And we're committed to this, it puts it further up the supply chain, or they might call it, and then it leads to just better behavior more inclusion better product than nothing.

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Hector Minto: Without any claim of perfection right, you know, like we dropped the ball, you know every business drops the ball occasionally new teams get formed the training mandated training that Microsoft right everybody has to train on accessibility, you know.

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Hector Minto: So so so look i'm not trying to be you know I don't want to claim perfection never claimed perfection accessibility it's going to get broken.

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Hector Minto: At some point, but increasingly what we have to do is just raise this conversation up a level in the organization and I think that's where you start to see progress.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): yeah well said, and I just want to say one more thing that I appreciate a couple things about Microsoft, is that I like that you have a chief accessibility officer I wish a toast would have a chief accessible the officer just saying.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I would like to see more corporation step up and show our Community sorry can do.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): That I just think it's such an important statement to make and I thought that when princess master West was made CEO chairman and Jenny Lee flory from Microsoft, I thought that we were seeing a trend to something really powerful and then i've seen nothing so.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I just like to see more corporations.

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Hector Minto: I agree.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): matters.

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Hector Minto: I think, Canada just put one in as well, they didn't do.

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Hector Minto: That to me is is neil's future job here and but but.

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Hector Minto: I think every government should have a chief accessible.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I agree with you, if we truly believe this is a digital society that we are building.

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Hector Minto: yeah and and I, and I think you've got disability Minister you've got digital Minister yeah you have all these different roles, but but actually the Cross section between digital and disability is accessibility and you know.

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Hector Minto: The cost of building an inaccessible UK or inaccessible us is enormous yeah yeah extra costs that you get by just not routinely building in exclusion is huge yeah, so I think corporates have shown the way I.

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Hector Minto: Love francis's work and she's really made you know that that real change and continues to in the what she's doing now, but but.

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Hector Minto: To me, the next stage is what Canada doing Actually, I think, I think that might be the next stage let's let's let's say we don't just want this many ministers and we need more.

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Hector Minto: frank, frankly, we need more disability ministers they're not enough disability ministers around the world, but actually if we're going to have digital Ministers, which are increasingly say you're seeing yeah let's have accessibility Ministers as well.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I agree, I agree it's it's.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): A lot to our Community our Community is this.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): A lot to the commitment so yeah.

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Neil Milliken: So so i'm.

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Neil Milliken: Definitely aware of what the candidate doing they basically appointed to senior roles chief accessibility officer and another role responsible for the legal side of it so so so it, you know it's it's progressive.

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Neil Milliken: really like to see similar things happen for other countries, and when we had June from the European Commission on that was one of the questions we asked was whether or not you know.

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Neil Milliken: Europe needs chief accessibility officer miss your Brett on should you be listening, as the as the responsible Commissioner for the Internal Market with your hundred and 30 million.

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Neil Milliken: Citizens or whatever it is, then, you know.

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Neil Milliken: Put it out there, so I think that there's there's definitely you know significant need for growth still all organizations still.

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Neil Milliken: A massively in perfect when it comes to accessibility, by the way my social media is imperfect too thanks for putting me on a pedestal I had a load of legacy stuff on a platform that didn't support it i've turned that platform off.

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Neil Milliken: And we.

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Neil Milliken: made a conscious decision to move to a platform that costs a lot more money and takes quite a bit more work that.

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Neil Milliken: It does support accessibility, though, you know we were will work on that journey and we're walking that path.

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Neil Milliken: I think I wanted to just circle back a little bit to the metaverse quickly before we finish.

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Neil Milliken: We were talking about personalization and the potential and all of this stuff so we second life and people living in it.

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Neil Milliken: Now some people really benefit from the the freedom that they get from living a different life and alternative life and, by the way, second life still has a million monthly active users and $500 million spent in transactions yearly.

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Hector Minto: Also.

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Neil Milliken: So if we think about the potential of the metaverse if it goes to the kind of scale that mark Zuckerberg or setting a downer.

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Neil Milliken: out, then you know the the worth of this thing is enormous, but at the same time, you know i'm.

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Neil Milliken: Bringing it back to the day to day sort of working environment, you talked about the need for proximity because it's so much nicer seeing people in the flesh.

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Neil Milliken: And Tony and I were playing around with some of this tech a little while back and Antonio had one of these avatars that connects into your camera that captures your reactions and tries to.

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Neil Milliken: be quite realistic and after about two minutes my brain shut down.

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Hector Minto: No.

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Neil Milliken: I mean i'm ADHD and I process things slightly differently, but there would be quite a large number of people like me where the cognitive load of some of this stuff is is tremendous and.

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Neil Milliken: Some of that can be solved as we remove latency because what it is, is there is a delay going on and also take will improve so that it gets better understand the reactions.

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Neil Milliken: But in the meantime, we need to find ways to enable people not to be overwhelmed by it so again it's coming back to that whole sort of conscious design of allowing people.

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Neil Milliken: preferences within systems.

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Hector Minto: There are there are websites that do the same thing to you there right now yeah and there are some there are some so.

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Hector Minto: Absolutely, I think what.

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Neil Milliken: To use them, but.

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Neil Milliken: exactly when you're when you're.

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Neil Milliken: In a working environment for.

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Hector Minto: example.

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Neil Milliken: If you're using whatever the Facebook.

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Neil Milliken: virtual world working environment is or or if you weren't using immersive meetings.

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Neil Milliken: With avatars in in a you know, say, for example, teams.

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Neil Milliken: It becomes a bit more difficult to avoid it because it's a working environment so, then the importance of being able to configure stuff to make it non hostile and accommodating if your needs is you know elevated I would say.

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Hector Minto: just keep going back to this thing of representation.

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You know.

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Hector Minto: there's no prediction is that on how what the rate of adoption is going to be on this, no, no, my eldest loves his oculus, by the way.

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Hector Minto: And you know he still loves xbox right, so you know he's got he's got his experience and his oculus and there are times when.

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Hector Minto: It comes down with a face mask you know might Kingsland his face you next is far too long in it, and I was like I like what is it you get out of being in there and it is different, you know, is a completely different experience so it's going to be fascinating to.

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Hector Minto: You, I think, maybe a call to action meal that there's like remember.

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Hector Minto: you're the expert in accessibility, we are the experts in the traditional accessibility space, but none of us are getting any younger.

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Hector Minto: So we've got as accessible to people, maybe we should all jump in there very quickly yeah and start to.

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Hector Minto: start to give our experience to the emerging tech people I remember, I remember when certain other platforms came out that were born in accessible yeah.

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Hector Minto: that's right and actually people always ask me like why Microsoft so invest in this space, I was like Oh, because i'm doing an office since like the you know the whatever it is.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): If you're having a maid accessibility i'm a priority, so early I know you were accessible.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): Your operating system was successful at three dot one i'm definitely age I couldn't have created tech access, where the all of the technologists with disabilities worked from home nursing homes, you know.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): know we couldn't I couldn't have created a company and then on top of it and i've said this on air before is long time ago, but we learned to do accessibility from Microsoft and IBM because Microsoft has so much good training resources.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): And IBM did too I don't know if they still do so, we actually.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): potter team.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): But we couldn't even have had a tech access if Microsoft had not committed and i'm not saying Microsoft is accessible across the board you're not because, like you said.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): it's an ongoing thing technology is changing so fast, nobody can be accessible all the time yeah I don't we can't it's moving too fast, but I want to applaud what Microsoft has done from the beginning, because our Community benefited from it.

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Hector Minto: And we've got to take the you know the muscle memory from those organize those teams that are responsible for that legacy know the history of accessibility and technology and make sure they're in there, talking to the emerging technologists yet because because I mean it's.

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Hector Minto: it's it's never surprising when something is born in accessible it's never you know but, but we have our responsibility as the people.

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Hector Minto: Who do this and have the legal record, you know, responsibility and all these other things we've got to be the ones that actually kind of you know, break the door down and say hey let's say we need to, we need a, we need to chat.

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Hector Minto: to let me just say one other thing I think, the more this world gets digital around us we're not going to be talking just about windows or ios or you know you know chrome you know, whatever Internet explorer edge safari.

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Hector Minto: In terms of the environments we're going to be talking about you know car operating systems banking operating systems they're going to have to learn about accessibility, you know, in terms of their system as being.

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Hector Minto: The platforms that they're built on having all of this accessibility built into them one of my favorite things that I see right now I just I just had one of those moments because we're back in the office.

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Hector Minto: To college and he was telling me about the power Apps that they've built for three government customers over here, and he was like Oh, we made them on accessible, because the accessibility checker that was in office migrated to the accessibility checker in the power platform.

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Hector Minto: Which, then you something it's like.

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Hector Minto: It was the view is heritage right it's like well, we have an excessively checker in that platform so let's take it to this platform well we're going to need it in.

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Hector Minto: You know vehicle operating systems right, you know, I was talking about, you know blind folk are going to be driving cars, you know.

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Debra Ruh (she/her/hers): I know.

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Hector Minto: I know so i'll get to drive.

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Hector Minto: Right there's there's going to need to be a screen reader functionality built into that right, you know, and all this kind of stuff so so.

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Hector Minto: Going back to kind of us as a system technologists and accessibility professionals.

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Hector Minto: we're going to be really important moving forward right and it's not just going to be in tech companies we're going to be in clothing companies we're going to be in car companies are going to be everywhere that's the hope.

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Neil Milliken: yeah I see it, too, it's.

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Neil Milliken: always an interesting engaging conversation, and we can go on for hours unfortunately we've gone over our time.

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Neil Milliken: Very.

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surprising oh.

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Neil Milliken: Absolutely, but we need to thank our friends Barclays Access, Microlink and My Clear Text for keeping us on air and caption and accessible hector will join you on Twitter on Tuesday really look forward to it so.

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Hector Minto: Thanks all.