With 80 million disabled people currently in the EU, and this number only being expected to grow, it is no wonder that the assistive tech industry is currently booming – expected to reach a value of $26 billion by 2024. But what exactly is assistive tech? and how is this area of tech changing the industry as a whole?
As technology develops at its current impressive rate, consumers are being offered more and more assistance to help both manage and navigate their everyday lives. Consumers with disabilities are no exception to this, with the assistive tech industry developing some of the latest, most cutting-edge products to help these consumers in their everyday lives.
With this market becoming increasingly more lucrative, the products developed in assistive tech are significantly changing the landscape of the tech industry altogether. Some of the main ways in which this is happening include:
- Increased inclusivity.
- Making the industry more expensive.
- Expanding technological advancements.
- Furthering useful applications.
Through this list there are significant pros and cons, each one contributing to the ever-changing landscape of the tech industry.
As with the increase of diversity throughout any sector, with the growing amount of technological advancements in assistive tech, the industry as a whole becomes more inclusive, catering better to a wider range of consumers. This not only increases the consumer base, but also helps to create an industry that provides and accommodates for all types of people.
This can not only go to make the tech industry more inclusive, but further make the everyday society we live in more inclusive and accommodating to those with disabilities. For example, Swiss-based startup Scewo is currently working on a wheelchair that would be able to climb stairs, making many more public, and private, environments accessible, and thereby inclusive for disabled people.
Making the industry more expensive
Whilst this is in some ways beneficial, and has certainly led to the assistive tech market potentially reaching an impressive $26 billion in the next 5 years, there is a considerable downside to making this industry more expensive, particularly when considering that there are only 47% of the disabled population throughout the EU that are employed (and therefore have the regular income to afford these tech products). This can ironically lead to a reduced accessibility within the industry.
Expanding technological advancements
By expanding the applications of products within the tech industry, the sector therefore expand its overall advancements and developments. This can not only lead to increased business and income into the industry, but can also expand the reputation of the sector as one of the most cutting edge industries throughout Europe and indeed, across the globe.
Furthering useful applications
Similar to creating an expansion of technological products, by expanding the applications of the products within the tech industry, this thereby furthers the sector’s number of useful applications, helping it to grow. Furthering its useful applications not only helps to increase the amount of consumers, but also helps to, as previously touched on, make the industry more inclusive.