Accessibility is an important human right which, however, has not been ensured everywhere and for everyone. According to the most recent WHO reports, over 1.3 people worldwide have a disability of some sort, due to which a fifth of us is now unable to participate in the society or economy in full. Innovative software companies are here to help, including Net Group, which provides novel digital solutions mostly in Europe.

With regard for the importance of overcoming challenges faced by disabled people, Microsoft hosted an online event titled Innovation for Accessibility Forum on 22 March. The aim of the event was to bring together the representatives of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian governments, the public and private sectors, and to discuss initiatives for creating accessible digital solutions while ensuring compliance with the European accessibility act which enters into force in 2025. This means that only products and services in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the directive may be supplied to the European market.

One of the partners who took part at this event was the Estonian software development company Net Group which has been in operation for over 25 years. Net Group provides profitable and scalable digital solutions in the entire EMEA region. In terms of accessibility, Net Group focuses on speech processing and speech synthesis. For example, they developed a reading application for the National Library of Estonia, allowing persons with impaired vision to also enjoy books.

A more complicated solution was commissioned from Net Group by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for the Estonian AI project Bürokratt, declared one of the 100 best projects of the world by UNESCO, to simplify communication with the state. This is a virtual assistant solution which has already been successfully implemented as a smart system that can handle both various applications and technical as well as politics-related questions. This is an excellent example of the cooperation of the public and private sectors. The idea was to make life easier for citizens and to create a single pathway to contact the state and resolve issues quickly. Using the Bürokratt solution saves hours of standing in line or waiting for a public servant to return your email. In the future, the plan is to implement solutions to transcribe speech into text and synthesis text into speech and also to adopt sign language in order to increase the accessibility of the system for everyone.

Siim Lepis PR Concept
Author: PR Concept

Additionally, Net Group is involved in even more complex and specific niche areas such as processing medical texts. “Our system is able to categorize medical topics with extreme specificity necessary in medicine and in machine-readable manner, and these data can be further used by computers to make health improvement related proposals,” said Head of Innovation of Net Group Siim Lepisk.

There are two angles to artificial intelligence: the first a solution accessible for the user, the second the fact that it must be machine readable, not just for text but also for text categorized with a label so that the machine can draw specific conclusions and personal recommendations accordingly. The systems must be planned and built in such a way that they can recognize and contextualize text so that they are able to correctly categorize information contained in databases. “These databases are the most valuable if we want data to be processed with certainty and avoid situations where the wrong answer is presented to users,” Lepisk added.

Net Group is committed to innovation and accessibility, particularly in the sectors of the government and telecommunications. Lepisk also stressed the importance of structuring data and systems to be machine-readable in order to cross language barriers and provide globally scalable solutions. “In order to reach our goal and provide cross-border scalable solutions, we need the support of local governments and Microsoft services,” he stated. Net Group is aiming to provide profitable and scalable digital solutions that are accessible to all, being at the forefront of the field with its innovative products and commitment to accessibility.

Similar insights