The 7 most useful accessibility features of iOS 8

Many of iOS 8’s most unique features are hidden within the Accessibility section of settings. With the ability to alter the way you use your device, some accessibility features may surprise you.

The organizational challenge of disruptive technologies

As firms grapple with implementing the mobile, cloud, and big data technologies that are transforming their businesses, getting the organizational process and procedures right for managing those implementations is often the greatest challenge.

Computerworld this week covers an IBM survey on the mobile strategies of 600 enterprises, finding in effect that only half of the companies surveyed currently have an effective mobile strategy. No more than 50% of the participants reported that their mobile strategy is aligned with the overall business strategy, that the organization has a clear funding mechanism for mobile initiatives, that there is executive-level oversight for mobile initiatives, or that there is an established governance structure for mobile initiatives. Although only 20% of the firms believe they have a superior or leading mobile strategy today, 44% anticipate pulling ahead of their peers in the next three years.

Among the other tidbits: The subset of those firms reporting the best and most pervasive use and management of mobile technology reports both greater plans to increase mobile funding next year and a greater mobile strategy role for the chief marketing executive. Overall, the CIO is seen to have the most influence, as would be expected, with the CFO number two when it comes to funding, the line of business number two for generating ideas and setting or managing priorities, and the chief technology officer number two in providing governance.

The role of governance is critical in a firm’s ability to manage rapid innovation. One banking industry participant is quoted as stating, “Our governance structure—which includes representatives from finance, risk, operations, customer service, product and application development, project management, technology, marketing and strategy—has been immensely effective in terms of increasing the precision and speed with which we deploy mobile solutions.”

And banks shall lead them

Banking has always been an early adopter of new technology. Bank of America offered a glimpse of how it is juggling the innovation of technology with the requirements of the bank, as reported by American Banker. Hari Gopalkrishnan, the bank’s eCommerce, architecture and segments technology executive described an application process whereby the bank’s best programmers are first brought together to create functional code. The bank’s compliance officers follow immediately thereafter, to assure that requisite encryption, opt in/out, geo caching and other standards are incorporated into the application.

Bank of America took first place honors for user experience, accessibility, and alerting platforms in Javelin Strategy & Research’s annual mobile banking survey, as also reported this week by American Banker. As evidence of the rapid adoption of mobile bankers, the survey found 45% of consumers had used mobile banking in the past 90 days, up from 26% in 2012.

As seen in the IBM survey, executives in other industries are expecting mobile’s importance to grow as rapidly—but they don’t believe their companies are organizationally ready to handle it.

The Apple Roundup: Apple marketing’s war on language

Here’s our daily pick of stories about Apple from around the web that you shouldn’t miss. Today’s installment: Apple’s copywriters are freaking out linguists; Samsung, Google meet to talk Apple; guilt over buying iPhones made by exploited workers; accessibility features in iOS 6, and more.

Google+ Hangouts get live captions

Google’s Hangouts group video chat service just got more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people, thanks to a new app called Hangout Captions. The app allows users to caption conversations in real time or use professional transcription services. Machine-powered transcription could be next.

Google+ Hangouts become accessible to the blind

Google+ Hangouts are a great way to communicate with a small group of people — except when you’re blind, and don’t know who is part of a Hangout. A new Chrome extension wants to solve this by making Hangouts accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

Next up for Google Plus Hangouts: Sign language support

Deaf and hard of hearing users may soon get more use out of Google’s much-hyped new group video chat service Hangouts, thanks to a field test that looks at ways to add support for American Sign Language. Initial feedback from hearing-impaired users is enthusiastic.